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Take a 'No Gain, No Returning Pain' Vacation

Enjoy your travels without sabotaging your fitness plan with these four tips.

I work hard, so I want to enjoy my vacations. At the same time, I don't want to give up everything I've invested in losing weight and getting fit.

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I could give in and indulge myself, knowing I'll shape up later, but if I decide to indulge, I may need to brace myself when I see the number on the scale when I return home.

I could go on an austere vacation, spending precious time feeling sorry for myself, frustrated that I never get a vacation from eating carefully.

Is there a middle ground? Yes. Here are four ideas that I use:

  • Drink plenty of water. By staying hydrated, you'll be more aware of whether your body is hungry or thirsty. You won't be eating when all you really wanted was a glass of water.
  • Seek fresh food. Buy lunch at the local grocery store. Pick out a salad and some fresh fruit, or purchase a carton of yogurt and order a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. If you want to eat out, find places that offer healthy options.
  • Keep a cooler packed with healthy drinks and snacks. Include some fruit and other healthy items, such as a jar of peanut butter, a carton of low-fat cottage cheese, or hard-boiled eggs. But be cautious about storing perishables. Don't leave them in the cooler too long. Summer temperatures increase the chances of food-borne illness.
  • Bring your fitness gear. Look for parks where you can take walks, hotels that have exercise options, and fitness centers that have day passes.

You can borrow my tips and add your own. That way, both you and I can have wonderful vacations and come back feeling fit, rested, and relaxed.

Carole Carson, author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction, serves as the coach for the AARP Fat to Fit online community.

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