When my recent vacation approached, I must admit I didn't have a firm game plan. I tend to do active adventure vacations these days so I knew I wouldn't be sedentary. But I also knew I would not be counting every calorie I put in my mouth like I have been for the past two months.
The night before I left on my trip, I went into vacation mode right when I finished up work that night. One of my travel mates and I enjoyed a nice bottle of bubbly and pasta and pesto with fresh shrimp. Not a major departure from my eating habits, but mentally I was indulging and already slipping into “I'm on vacation and I am going to do whatever I want” mode.
Now that I am back and reflecting how I did, I think I managed to go on vacation for a week and not derail my weight-loss efforts.
While my friends and I ate very well at some lovely restaurants, we mostly ate seafood. We didn't snack much through the day. But some of my meal portions were bigger than I would normally have allowed these days.
Of course, I am perfectly aware that I ate and drank more than I would have normally in a week's time. In fact, I had pretty much removed alcohol from my life as I embarked on this weight-loss journey.
But on our tropical island paradise, we enjoyed beer and frozen drinks on hot days and of course wine with dinner. And since it was the week of my 48th birthday, there was certainly some Champagne thrown in for good measure. While it was all enjoyable, I realize that every drink was a glass of empty calories. When you are sitting on the beach under a thatched umbrella looking our at a beautiful turquoise sea, you really aren't prone to tallying calories. I certainly didn't.
However, I think I did make up for the extra calories. While I consumed more calories, I actually exercised more on vacation than I normally do too.
The very first night, we went on a crazy bus tour of Aruba that included dinner and several stops at local night spots. We danced almost nonstop at two the three clubs … for hours and hours.
Even on our first chill-out beach day, I took an hour-plus walk on the beach. (Next time I'll remember to add an extra coat of sunblock to my shoulders!)
We did a lot of scuba diving throughout the week – 8 dives, most of which were 40-60 minutes. In checking on what kind of calories you burn diving, I found it can range from 450-650 calories an hour. Plus we did mostly shore diving so we swam in and out several hundred yards before descending to begin our dives.
The resort had fitness opportunities too and we took advantage of using the on-site gym some and all of us even did a pool aerobics class on our non-diving day. I also swam in the pool and the Caribbean Sea a bit.
So in calculating my exercise, I did at least 10-12 hours of cardio on vacation! Plus some work on weights – not to mention all the weight-lifting of hauling scuba tanks and gear around. No wonder I was exhausted and in bed early almost every night!
So does that counterbalance all the extra calories of food and drink? I guess the truth will tell when I step on the scale at this week's weigh-in.
But I will say that I came home feeling mentally relaxed and physically stronger (and a bit tanner). And to me that's a good vacation ….
P.S. Update after April 21 weigh-in: I lost 4 pounds on vacation, bringing my seven-week total to just shy of 21 pounds! So that was a REALLY GOOD vacation.
Charlotte Atkins is editor of the Rome News-Tribune and Magnolia magazine. This blog is sponsored by Georgia Power, which is also a Health Quest sponsor and supporter, for which Charlotte is very grateful.