Staying Healthy on Vacation: Getting Your Family’s Support
I’ve written about this before, but family support is so, so important when it comes to creating and maintaining healthy lifestyle changes. If you lose your motivation it’s so helpful to have someone say, “Hey, I know it’s rough right now, but let’s do something together to make it easier.”
Never is this more important than on vacation.
You know how you start to make healthy changes, everything is going great, and then you hit a stumbling block and everything falls to pieces? Vacation can TOTALLY be a stumbling block. A big, sandy, alcohol-and-all-you-can-eat-pancakes filled stumbling block.
Picture this: You’re doing well on the diet you and your dietitian worked out. You feel pretty confident you’ll be able to (mostly) stick to it when you’re on your upcoming family beach trip. On the second day of vacation, though, you start to feel like you’re missing out on the fun, and you’re also not sleeping as well as you do at home, so your appetite is in overdrive. That all-you-can-eat buffet is starting to look pretty good, and you’re this close to throwing all your hard work away.
How can family help sustain healthy habits while on vacation?
What might help in this situation? A supportive spouse or friend. Instead of letting you slide down a deep fried hole, they might be able to gently support you by reminding you of your goals and suggesting another way to make sure you feel like you’re not missing out on all the fun. Maybe a snorkeling trip? Maybe a massage? A supportive family member can help steer you in the right direction.
Here are some more ways to make sure your family knows how to help you sustain your healthy habits during your summer travels:
- Talk to them ahead of time! You can’t spring it on them after you’re already on the trip, they may feel unprepared and uncertain. Tell them ahead of time that you will be doing things differently than you have in the past, and you’d like their (kind and gentle) support during this trip.
- Set clear expectations for yourself. If you know you want to stay low carb or stay alcohol-free or forgo all desserts, you need to make that really clear to yourself (ahead of time!). You must know what your goal for the trip is, or there’s no way to stick to it!
- Set clear expectations for your family, too. Same goes for what you’re hoping to get from your family. If you want them to steer you away from the make your own ice cream sundae bar, you need to tell them and let them know you expect they’ll have your back.
- Don’t get mad when they actually help. This is important. You may really, really want a hot fudge sundae once you’re in relaxation mode, but if you’ve set expectations for yourself and your family, you need to be okay with them reminding you of your goals. When they gently remind you, you need to say thank you and move on, notget frustrated or annoyed at the loving spouse doing exactly what you asked. You may feel annoyed in the moment, but you’ll be super psyched you stuck to your goals when you look back on your trip.
- Make compromises. Don’t set yourself up for abject failure by limiting yourself in ways you know will be impossible and stressful for you. If you always have a margarita on the sunset cruise on your last night of vacation, and you’re sure you’ll feel like you’re missing out without it, find a way to make it work for you.
Bottom line: Have fun on vacation, and make sure to make choices that support your health and happiness!