To celebrate 15 years of marriage, my husband and I decided to take a trip....without the kids. We deliberated on the vacation for weeks trying to decide if we wanted adventure or rest and beaches or mountains, Since we had visited Florida 5 years prior we decided to venture out west to Colorado since I have never been there. I was so happy we didn't pick North Carolina since Florence was touching down the day we were scheduled to leave. My goal was to be active with hiking, bike rides and maybe even stand up paddle boarding. Jim's goal was to rest, rejuvenate and find some fun local attractions. After speaking to several people who lived in Colorado and using their suggestions we settled on splitting our time between Breckenridge and Colorado Springs.
Now if you have ever visited either of these cities you will know there is a beauty that a camera simply cannot capture. The depth of the mountains and vivid colors is just something you have to experience first hand. We just so happened to be visiting when the aspens were changing colors and it was absolutely gorgeous.
Regardless of destination it's easy to get caught up in vacation mode which, let's be honest, means eat whatever you want and relax as much as possible. This can be a quick recipe for weight gain if not careful. Eating a majority of meals at restaurants means bigger portions and higher intakes of sugar, fat and sodium. Sleeping in and sitting around means less energy expended. All can be enjoyed in moderation but a week's worth can have long term affects on your waist line. Here are 3 healthy tips for the next time you plan a getaway.
1. Earn your meal - we must have exchanged this line multiple times a day to each other. Every day we chose to do something active whether it was hiking, walking around the towns or sightseeing. Because so much of our trip was spent in a car travelling to different destinations, we had to make it a point to get in as many steps as possible. A step tracker can be helpful because it gives you a more accurate reflection of your activity. So often we overestimate our activity and underestimate our intake. A tracker improves accuracy and let's you know exactly what you accomplished. I remember meeting with a client once who walked 20,000 steps daily in Disney and still managed to gain 5 pounds. Remember, it takes 5 minutes to eat 500 calories and almost an hour to burn that much. If you want to offset those extra calories from all the ice cream you are eating at night, you have to consciously make it a point to move. Below are pictures from two different hikes
2. Don't forget the salads - Vacationing to new areas are fun because you get to try local foods and fare native to the area. One of our favorite spots was when we first landed in Denver at a restaurant called Snooze. We shared a lemon pancake and an order of avocado toast loaded with fresh avocado, onion jam, roasted tomatoes, and egg and basil. Every meal after that we would share one entree and one main salad dish. The salads gave us lots of vitamins and minerals for energy and was lower in calories meaning we could share a more indulgent dish. Because we had plans to stay active, sharing meals didn't leave us feeling heavy and sluggish. Remember, food is only part of the fun of vacation and should not be the sole focus. Just because you are away, it doesn't give you the right to order whatever you want at every meal. Instead, focus on the fact that you are getting a break from cooking and the dishes.
3. Try new things and challenge yourself - I had heard from a friend about a demanding hike called the Manitou incline. The incline covers 2,000 feet in just a mile over a trail of 2,700+ steps. If that wasn't enough of a challenge, you begin your ascent at 6,530 feet which means breathing is a challenge. The average grade is 41% and at the steepest part you are at a 68% grade. Let me correct my last sentence. Breathing at this point is a luxury. Of course we took many breaks on our climb but when we finished the last step in 53 minutes we felt like we could conquer the world. This was honestly one of the highlights of the trip for me because there is nothing like the feeling of setting a physical goal and conquering it. The views at the top were amazing but the feeling of accomplishment was even sweeter. In no way am I taking away from the restorative act of much needed rest on vacation but think about adding at least one physical adventure on your next trip.
The next time you are on vacation, look for an opportunity to challenge yourself in new ways or try something new. Don't forget to choose your veggies and earn those meals by staying active. And if you get the chance to go to Colorado, be sure to stop and enjoy the beauty of the landscape along the way.