In the near future, my husband and I will take a vacation to celebrate a special event, but just recently, I started a serious weight loss effort. I still have weeks to go before our trip, but the topic of dieting while on vacation has already popped up in my head.
I have dieted while on vacation in the past, including during a trip to Bermuda. I was serious about continuing weight loss on that trip. I went so far as to pre-plan many of our meals, counting “points” (I was on Weight Watchers at the time), leaving some in reserve for meals out. However, during that trip we had booked a suite that included a kitchenette. I planned to do most of the cooking during our stay. Yes, I know that sounds sad for me, but I didn’t mind. Bermuda is actually an expensive place to eat, and we needed to keep the costs down. I actually brought some foods with us, and had a shopping list ready for others we would need. Though I don’t recall how much I lost when I weighed myself upon returning home, I did lose, and the cooking and dieting did not affect our fun on the island.
Our upcoming vacation will be in Europe, in Portugal. We have pre-booked a number of hotels, but none have kitchenettes, so me cooking is not on the agenda. I have an idea what to expect in terms of meals there. My husband and I visited Portugal years ago. During the last couple of days I’ve been fretting about my weight loss efforts while there. Should I try to lose weight? Make an effort to just maintain? Or put the diet aside and enjoy myself fully? I posed these questions on a favorite weight loss forum, and received some helpful feedback. Everyone said to enjoy myself, but just stay conscious of my eating and drinking choices. I need not track them fully, but should reflect on them each evening to help affect my choices the next day.
Come to think of it, internet access may be unreliable during parts of my trip, but I can easily bring a little journal and a pen to take notes. When I return, I want to post my reflections of my eating in my blog’s Friday Fitness & Weight-Loss Update. And heck, wouldn’t it be nice to have a record of some of the meals and drinks I had? I might even want to post a travel piece about eating in northern Portugal, or at least northern Portugal, in general. The journaling is a sure “to do”. Also, one weight loss forum member emphasized that such reflection may help ensure the continuation of my weight loss efforts after the trip. Really, if I just gorge in Portugal without any reflection, who’s to say that I won’t just let the weight loss efforts fall to the wayside completely?
From my recollection, Portuguese sweets weren’t a major focus of my eating the first time I visited Portugal, even though I love sweets. I rather recall loving their seafood dishes, olives, and delicious crusty breads. I should try not to overeat the latter, but the former are usually not extremely indulgent food choices. Even meat dishes were often reasonable choices. The wines, however, were a major draw. My husband and I love Portuguese wines, and Port wines are unique to Portugal. The first time we went I did not hesitate to drink a lot, but nowadays I drink much less. One glass for lunch (maybe), definitely a glass for dinner, and at least some days a Port wine after dinner (or as an aperitif, in the case of white Port wine). I can try to limit drinks to two per day and not feel “deprived”, or just sip one of my husband’s at a third.
So I’ve figured out a strategy for my eating in Portugal. That, along with the inevitable increase in physical exercise, will probably prevent a lot of weight gain, if any. I must also remember that the sight-seeing itself will surely be so satisfying and enriching that eating need only be a small part of the experience. Portugal is a beautiful and interesting country, with friendly people. May I soak up and savor it all!
Obviously, every destination has its own challenges and advantages for watching food and drink consumption, but one can choose wisely and negotiate splurges with some refrainment. I know from past issues with minor overeating/splurges, that the key is to remain mindful of the experience. All facets of it.
What have your eating experiences been like during vacations in the past? Did you find some way(s) to minimize or prevent weight gain? If so, how?