VACATION!!!!! Who doesn't love a good vacation?!? Vacation means getting away, both physically and mentally. It means a slice of freedom. A bit of time away from the norm. A time to recharge and relax. To try something new and exciting. A rebirth of the soul!
But vacation can be difficult for those of us who follow a (strict) ketogenic way of eating. This is because we may not have as much control over our food AND because of the mental "I deserve it" game.
I have literally ruined a day or 2 of my precious vacation time because of my *the hell with it* attitude. I ate ALL the carbs and alcohol and woke up the next day in some serious pain. Don't do that! Seriously, don't! It was horrible. There's nothing worse than lying in bed while in a magical tropical destination. When your body is used to eating mostly fats and protein, you've lost most of the sugar loving gut bacteria. When you reintroduce large amounts of carbs, grains and sugar, your stomach will revolt. You will suffer from insulin spikes which will throw off your metabolic balance. Not to mention the after effects of drinking too much alcohol. Eating foods that you have intolerances to is going to leave a mark!
So, I have learned that I need to make some adjustments in order to truly enjoy my vacation.
Here are 4 ways to have a RADICAL VACATION without the pain!
1) PREPARE! As much as possible, mentally prepare. If you are staying at a location where you will be cooking, fantastic. You have a lot of control over your food choices. You can continue to cook delicious steaks, fab fresh salads and eat in your usual manner most of the time. If this is not the case, you can still prepare. You KNOW which foods are generally low carb and support this lifetyle. You are a pro at selecting food from a menu. Even if eating out 100% of your vacation, you can make the best choices from the food available. If you are staying with family or friends and they ask what you would like to eat, be honest! Most people are willing to accomodate and want you to feel your best while visiting. There may be times that you are visiting family or friends who are completely entrenched in the SAD way of eating. This would be the most challenging of all vacation situations. Take some time to problem solve and decide how to handle this situation.
2) Decide ahead of time how much food "fun" you want to have. If you want to try to stay strict KETO, that is a viable option! But, most of don't want that, and that is OK! I like to follow the 80/20 rule. I try to stay keto 80% of what I eat. I allow some foods/drinks that I LOVE, but in small amounts. I may take a few bites of the local fare. I may enjoy my precious beer. But by and large, I try to KIK and will continue to fast at least 16 hours per day. If I stray too far off course, I end up with a massive stomach ache and flu like symptoms. And who wants that?
3) Focus on the people and place. Vacation is about more than just food. It is about new experiences. It is about exploring a new place. It is about connecting with family and friends. Take time to truly be present in the moment and CONNECT. Make your vacation about connection and the experience, not about what you eat. You can have an amazing vacation without constant food indulgences!
4) Know that this time is limited. So even if you get completely off track and gain 8 lbs, it will end. You will go back home to your normal life. And then you get right back on! My final suggestion is to have a solid RE-ENTRY plan. Vacations are wonderful, but by dipping our toes into carbs and sugar again, we risk spiraling back into carb addiction. By eating even a small bit of sugar and carbs, it triggers blood sugar and insulin spikes, which then triggers the release of the hunger hormone. And......we set the scene for relapse. We get home and just want an easy dinner. We are exhausted and think "well, I'll just order pizza this last time." Then the next day comes and we are feeling like crap, ravenously hungry, craving carbs and depressed because of the vacation hangover. This puts us at risk of falling off the lifestyle completly. Don't let that happen. Mentally prepare for feeling this way. Have a plan. Don't let your vacation be the start of your slow descent back into a CARBAGE SAD way of eating. Have a re-entry plan!
Good luck! I sincerely hope you have a STELLAR vacation full of wonder, excitement and complete relaxation.
~The Carb Recovery Coach™