School’s out for summer and some of the best weather of the year is upon us. Many people work tirelessly to diet, exercise and get bathing suit-ready and then, once they hit the road or simply relax in the neighborhood for the summer break, somehow all progress is lost. Think about it… how many people do you know that lose weight and keep it off all summer long? Perhaps too many lazy days at the beach or poolside, delicious cook-outs and trips to the ice cream parlor get the best of you. Perhaps it's just a matter of being away from home that disturbs a normal eating/exercising routine. Let’s face it, road stops along the interstate highways are not generally known for their healthy food options.

Here are some pointers for keeping yourself healthy this summer – on vacation (away) OR staycation (at home).

  • Better-for-you most of the time: Tell yourself that it's ok to enjoy splurging – just not all of the time. Aim to select better-for-you choices two to three meals per day because in reality, there will be plenty of times when available options may not be the best and you’ll want to enjoy a treat.
  • Meal choices matter: While Belgian waffles with whipped cream and a side of bacon sound delicious, you simply shouldn’t indulge in this kind of treat all the time if you’d like to manage your weight and your health while you’re out of your normal routine. And no, the sliced strawberries on top don’t make it a healthier choice. Instead, choose this once in a weeks’ time, opting instead for leaner options like protein-packed eggs with fruit and whole grain breads, or a satisfying bowl of oatmeal with dried nuts and fruit, on other days. Lunches that minimize white breads (think: less  subs and more salads) will reserve calories for indulgent dinners and snacks that you won’t want to pass up. Dinners that include two servings of vegetables (think: one cooked and one raw) and limit heavy pastas or breads will help you manage calories, again, saving for the real splurges. 
  • Pack snacks: Be cautious not to fall victim to a huge appetite and a road-side pitstop or beach-side snack stand serving only high sugar, high saturated fat foods and drinks. Instead, pack healthful snacks and beverages that can tide you over when you’re on the road. When possible, carry a cooler and some small ice packs to keep fruit and vegetables fresh, grainy and fibrous crackers, nuts and seeds or trail mixes, from going stale. Plain or flavored waters and decaf herbal teas are excellent choices to stay hydrated while on the go.
  • Commit to a bit of exercise every day: Within your travel schedule, you may include things like a bike ride or a hike, which is terrific! On non-workout days, prepare a list of simple exercises you can do to keep up some calorie burning, and stick to it. In fact, do it together with those you’re traveling with, whether friends or family. Make it a challenge for yourself and/or the group. Set reminders in your calendar if need be, but get it done. A sample set is below.

 

Day

Exercise

How many

Monday

5 push-ups

10 squats

15 side-kicks (alt right and left)

Repeat three times

Tuesday

5 jumping jacks

10 front lunges (alt right and left)

15 second plank hold

Repeat three times

Wednesday

5 burpees (push up, stand, jump, repeat)

10 side lunges (alt right and left)

15 ab crunches

Repeat three times

Thursday

5 twisting sit ups

10 mountain climbers

15 sit ups

Repeat three times

Friday

5 push-ups

10 front leg lifts (alt right and left)

15 step-ups (alt right and left)

Repeat three times

Saturday

5 tricep dips (lean on edge of the bed)

10 globe jumps

15 second low plank hold

Repeat three times

Sunday

Focus on stretching:

Standing toe touch

Standing straddle (reach right and left)

Lunge stretch

Standing full body stretch 

Hold each for 10 seconds; repeat 3 times

 

Recognize the effort you’ve already put in to get ready for summer, and how much work it would take to recoup those gains if you lose that control. Promise yourself you’ll try to stick with it and don’t let excuses stand in your way. Respect yourself enough to stay healthy -- even when you’re on the go.