Vacations often seem synonymous with weight gain. Folks taking time off from work, chores and appointments seem to chronically decide that it’s important to take time off from wise eating habits and physical activity as well. I have friends who actually fear vacations, because they know they’ll be miserable with the consequences as soon as they return home. Sad, but true. Fortunately for you, there is more than one way to skin this cat. Of course you could head out to an all-inclusive resort and try to get your “money’s worth” in food and beverages, but then you’d have to spend tons of extra money when you return home on new pants. That’s just counterproductive!

Instead, why not plan a trip with physical activity in mind? You heard me! The fact of the matter is that vacations are meant for fun, relaxation and making memories. Rice pilaf and cake rarely make a worthy addition to your photo albums. You’ll never get your money’s worth by dipping in to that trough anyway. Instead, figure out what kind of things will spike your adrenaline and make you laugh; then  do them! Plan vacations around fun activities like water sports, snow sports, hiking or dancing. If you choose an all-inclusive resort or cruise, then do everything. Make that booking price a steal by taking advantage of every class, game and active opportunity available. Try something new and do so without counting calories. When your mission is to see something new and have some fun, you don’t have to!

The one place calories should be considered is when dining or drinking. If you plan to be gluttonous, plan to look and feel like you did. Vacation destinations around the globe are now working hard to provide dining options for the healthy traveler. Reach for those items. As well, drinking recklessly just makes no sense past the age of 22. If you’d like to have a cocktail, go for it. Just choose wisely. Daiquiris, margaritas and other frosty beverages are wild with calories. Ask for suggestions on a skinny cocktail. The bartender will know what you’re looking for and likely serve up something low-cal and delicious. And don’t overdo it.

Lastly, squeeze in time for legitimate exercise like a fitness class or a jog. When you’re at home, you might miss workouts because of work, sports and appointments. On vacation – you’ve got NOTHING BUT TIME! Set 20-60 minutes aside each day to get sweaty. You’ll be amazed how fantastic it is to return home from vacation with zero regret, zero weight gain a ton of fun stories to tell. Heck, you may just lose a few pounds next time!