Ever since she was a little girl, my wife’s family has taken summer vacations at Panama City Beach, FL. Now I’m part of the family and I take summer vacations at Panama City Beach, FL! While I’m not really a beach guy (have you seen my Casper-esque skin?), it’s still a super fun, relaxing trip full of sun, sand, food, and family. I like to find some helpful truths from every experience, so here’s what I learned from my summer vacation. Read on and you’ll learn how to NOT gain weight on your next vacation.
Warning – there were fat people on the beach . . . and I wrote about it!
1) Vacation isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.
The more I talk with folks, train clients, and coach people on nutrition, the more I am convinced – everyone is overloaded. People are way too busy. In his series “Take it to the Limit,” Andy Stanley says that we lack margin. The margin is the amount available beyond what’s actually needed, the space between our current performance and our limits. For example, if you’re running, could you run faster? If not, you’re running at your limit, and you have no “margin.” Sadly, most people are at their limit emotionally, with their schedules, with finances, work, parenting . . . you name it and most people are juggling it with no margin for error. Andy goes on to share some other sad facts about margin.
- Living without margins forces you to be self-centered because you are constantly thinking about what’s next and how close you are to the edge.
- Lack of margin increases our stress and shortens our tempers.
- Relationships and friendships suffer when there is no margin – Our culture says more, more, more, pushing us to the limit, destroying margin. – As the margin narrows, so does our relationship with God.
One good vacation won’t solve all your margin problems. However, getting away, getting out of your day-to-day world is a good start, providing a little piece of margin. It might even nudge your heart, forcing you to realize how little margin you typically have.
2) Vacation shouldn’t wreck your body.
For the fitness-conscious or someone who’s been trying to lose weight and really change their body, vacation is often a scary proposition. OH NO! I’m gonna gain so much weight. It’ll take me three weeks to lose my vacation weight!
It doesn’t have to and should not be this way. There are a few simple ways to combat vacation weight gain body wreckage.
Workout. Why is it that most people think it’s illegal to workout while on vacation? You can do it. You probably won’t be miserable. You just might enjoy it! Hit a 45-60 minute workout 3 or 4 days while you’re gone. You just might be amazed how this affects your energy levels, food cravings, and post-vacation body.
Be a little active. If working out is illegal, then anything beyond sitting, sleeping, or napping all day is frowned upon! You can still sit, sleep, and nap, but why not hop up and actually do something every now and then? Toss a frisbee or football, bump a volleyball, take a walk down the beach, build a sandcastle, ride some waves on a boogie board, swim a lap or two in the pool, or our favorite – play some cornhole.
Eat vegetables. See my next point . . .
3) Vegetables are your bodyguard against overeating.
Brace for a bold statement – if you eat a substantial amount of vegetables (1 cup or more) at each meal, you can eat whatever you want with the veggies without worrying about overeating and gaining a ton of weight. I’m not quite ready to put a guarantee on this, but I will guarantee that consistent, substantial veggie intake will drastically reduce overeating and weight gain while still allowing you to eat all of your favorite foods.
Think about it – if you sit down, borderline starving, to a delicious pizza, you can easily suck down 3 or 4 pieces before feeling full at all. Scenario two – you sit down, borderline starving, to a delicious pizza AND salad or steamed veggies or veggie medley, I guarantee you’ll feel satisfied after one and a half or two pieces. Disaster averted. Victory!
4) I love people who are happy and confident in their skin.
Most people probably think trainers, nutritionists, and the ‘superfit’ look down their noses at all the disgusting, unfit, fat people of the world. I can’t speak for everyone, but there’s nothing this nutritionist, trainer, and former bodybuilder loves more than someone who’s comfortable in their own skin – regardless of size or shape!
It’s not an exaggeration to say that three-quarters of people on the beach were overweight to some degree. Some of them wore conservative swimsuits, while others flaunted their stuff with smaller 2 pieces. It’s impossible to know their mindset. They could’ve been wearing a more revealing swimsuit as a cry for attention, just as much as a statement of “I’m happy with me and love myself.” I prefer to believe the latter.
Not only do I love seeing people who are happy and confident in their own skin, I believe the confident “I love me” mindset and attitude are vital for success when someone decides to lose weight. Professor, author and renowned speaker Brene Brown says it like this –
“Shame corrodes the part of us that believes we can change and do better.”
Shame leads people to low self-esteem, zero confidence, and feelings of unworthiness. Shame is not a great launching pad for improving your body. Regardless of your size or shape, don’t be ashamed . . . even if that means flaunting a two-piece on the beach!
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