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Make your vacation fun, healthy and happy this year

With summer in full swing, I thought this would be a good time to deal with how to stay healthy while on vacation. Well, there is that, and then there is also the fact that I kind of blew it on my own mini-vacation to the beach this past weekend!

After feasting on double cheeseburgers, fries, insane amounts of pizza and quesadillas last weekend, I can say from experience that these foods did not help me enjoy my vacation any more than I would have without them. Now don't get me wrong, they sure tasted good going down, but sometimes the instant gratification is not worth the guilt or the work that it takes to make up for it.

Looking back on the weekend, I realize that it would have been really easy to make healthy choices in place of these foods, and still enjoy what I was eating. Grilled chicken for the burgers, salad or a sweet potato in place of fries, even cheese pizza in moderation would have saved hundreds of calories and prevented dozens of grams of fat from attaching themselves to my gut.

Nutrition aside, the one thing I did succeed with in terms of health while at the beach was being active. Perhaps partially out of guilt, I dragged myself out of bed to do a quick workout first thing Saturday morning. Also, even though the weather was spotty, I still managed to get some swimming in and probably walked a good seven or eight miles sightseeing.

I found that getting up early and making it a priority to exercise and be active while on vacation really did help me get more out of the weekend. Even though I took a little time to work out, since I was up early, I actually had more time to do other things than if I had allowed myself to sleep in. Also, I really don't recommend this, but since I was so active on vacation, all of the crap that I ate did not add a single pound to my weight or inch to my waistline. If you are of the mindset, then, to let your diet slide while on vacation, being active is a good way to do that.

For me, one final takeaway from this weekend in terms of overall health was to simply make the most out of the time I had. In years past I would have easily let the stormy weather that we were experiencing annoy me to no end. Thankfully, this time I was able to keep a healthy perspective. So what if we couldn't swim in the ocean…we had heated indoor and outdoor pools. Too wet to walk on the beach? No problem. Let's go take advantage of the free bowling that our hotel provided. Keeping the proper mindset on these issues really helped me to enjoy our trip even though conditions were not ideal. This way I prevented unnecessary stress and anxiety and instead experienced some relaxation and enjoyment.

Enjoy your time off this year, folks, and live happy!

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