Vacation is a great way to escape from real life and your regular schedule for a while. When you return, though, transitioning back to a healthy lifestyle can be rough. If you’re like most people, you indulged a little (or a lot) on vacation, and while all that R&R may have been good for your soul, it probably wasn’t so good for your waistline. But don’t panic – with a few smart choices, you can get back on track and beat the post-vacation blues. Here are nine tips that will help you bounce back right away.
1. Get your mind in the right place.
Returning from vacation isn’t much fun, but if you try to fight reality, you’ll have a harder time regaining your self-discipline. Commit to building up your good habits again, even if you don’t really feel like it. Remind yourself how much healthier you’ll feel when you get back on track.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Vacations often mean consuming lots of salty food and alcohol. Combine that with forgetting to drink water as you travel home, and you could be dehydrated by the time you walk in your front door. Don’t let this happen – drink plenty of water, starting on your trip home (if you can). Continue to hydrate yourself throughout your first week back. This will help flush out any water weight you may have gained from a high-sodium vacation diet.
3. Stock your fridge with fresh foods.
Go grocery shopping as soon as possible after you get back home. Buy lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy foods you enjoy eating. Make it easy to make good choices, so you’re not tempted to order takeout.
4. Cook nutrient-dense meals.
Your body needs nutrition right now, so don’t skimp on the veggies. Focus on eating balanced, fresh meals, even if that’s not quite what you’re craving. Try to incorporate complex carbs, protein, a little bit of healthy fat, and some fruit or vegetables into every meal.
5. Steer clear of junk food.
When you’ve been eating rich, sweet, or salty fare, it’s all too easy to keep craving that kind of food. Break the craving sooner rather than later by avoiding junk food completely for a week or two. Remember, the first several days are the hardest, so don’t give in!
6. Say no to alcohol.
Alcohol dehydrates you, and it can cause you to make questionable food choices. Besides that, who wants to wake up hungover during their first week back at work? Skip the nightcap for now, and stick to herbal tea instead.
7. Exercise as much as you can.
Unless you took a hiking vacation, you probably didn’t get much physical activity while you were away. The sooner you get moving again, the better you’ll feel, and the more quickly you’ll recover your pre-vacation body. Even small amounts of exercise, like climbing stairs and walking, are beneficial.
8. Eat lots of high-fiber foods.
One of the less pleasant realities of traveling is that it can cause constipation. Staying hydrated will help combat this, but it’s also important to eat plenty of dietary fiber to keep everything moving along. Vegetables and whole grains are good sources of fiber, but if you want an easier option, a fiber supplement will also do the trick.
9. Don’t skip breakfast.
Breakfast sets the tone for the rest of your eating throughout the day, and this is especially true after you come back from vacation. Eat something healthy and filling every morning – think oatmeal, a green smoothie, or a veggie omelet. A good breakfast will give you the energy to get through the day, and it’ll help prevent any midmorning cravings that could derail your diet.