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How to Enjoy a Holiday and Not Feel Crap After – A Trial and Error Experience

I believe you need 3 key elements to stay healthy, feel good and not worry about your weight. It’s been working for me for over 10 years so I stand by it.

In order of importance.

1) Eat fresh wholefoods and limit sugar (especially if you’re enjoying more booze than usual)

If the majority of your diet comes from processed foods, it will take its toll eventually. You don’t need to give up your treats, but remember that they are a treat and that means you limit them. Remember food is fuel and if you put crap in all that time, that’s how you’ll feel.

2) Incidental Exercise - Aim for 10,000 steps per day

It’s great if you go to the gym a few times a week, but if you’re sitting for the rest of the time, it’ll catch up with you. And if it’s not with weight gain, it’ll be with posture or even mood. Muscles will get weak and tight if you’re in the same position for long periods. Your mood can flat line, especially if you’re drinking more.

3) Strength & Cardio Training

Get your heart rate up a few times a week and lift weights. You don’t have to do it every day, 2-3 times a week is great. Anything above that is a bonus. This does wonders for your mental health and confidence too. When you go on holidays it’s harder to hit those 3 elements because you’re out of your routine so try for at least the top 2. This means you will feel good when you get home and won’t regret having a holiday.

In 2018 Nicky and I went to Hawaii for a holiday. We joined a gym so we could start the day feeling great, after a sleep in and coffee of course. The weather was perfect so we got our 10,000 steps exploring every day, we also hired bikes which was a great way to get around.

Eating well was hard. We really struggled to eat fresh wholefoods and limit sugar due to limited options. We would have loved to eat well with the occasional indulgence but found it really hard to find decent quality food. Most restaurants had beige coloured processed food loaded with calories, high fructose corn syrup and little fibre, leaving us feeling bloated and heavy. Vegetables and salad were almost non-existent. We learnt our lesson and resolved to always book a self-contained apartment with kitchen facilities so we could cook/prepare some of our own food.

In Christmas 2019 we booked a trip to Broome. With fresh wholefoods being a priority, we booked our apartment and made delicious healthy food while eating out some of the time, enjoying indulgence without overdoing it. The season was hot and humid so we got in our activity with a daily morning workout followed by coffee by the pool (and later in the day some Aperol spritz).

We came back feeling fitter and stronger than ever. Sure, we may have gained half a kilo but who cares. We felt fit and relaxed. We’d indulged without compromising our goals or feeling flat and are now back to our normal routine so that half kilo or so will drop off easily.

The moral of the story… avoid ‘all or nothing’ thinking on your holidays.

Learn to enjoy some indulgence without overdoing it and regretting your choices or feeling the urge to diet or flog yourself in a gym on return. Plan ahead and learn from my mistakes so you can find the balance between indulgence and deep recovery from physical and emotional stress and avoid making healthy living your enemy.

Coach Ange Gawthorne

  • BBus (Accounting)
  • Fitness Australia Level 2 Exercise Professional
  • Nutrition Coach: Precision Nutrition Level One Certified
  • CrossFit® Level 1 Trainer
  • Australian Weightlifting Federation Level 1 Coach