Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring vacation survival plan (not nearly as grim as that sounds)

Sitting in an airport, getting ready to do one last work trip (to DC for a childhood obesity conference) before I go on vacation for a week.  As I was getting ready this morning, I did my pre-vacation physical self-check:

  • Can still comfortably button the upper button of my shirt collar:  check
  • Can use the normal number of holes on my belt:  check
  • Withering full body scan to determine suitability of self for warm weather gear:  check (I think)

It seems I’m still at goal weight (also confirmed on scale last weekend), so that’s good.

Yet my healthy life work is never done.  It’s time to get a plan for the upcoming week.  It’s time to write out my vacation action plan:

  1. Recognize that there is probably not much I could do over the week to destroy my physical condition.  Although, I keep hearing the statistic about gaining 7 lbs on a cruise ship, so clearly there is a theoretical level of damage that could be done.
  2. Recognize that I’m not going on a cruise ship, so I don’t have to worry about being mummified in a casket of all-you-can-eat buffets.  That’s a good thing.  
  3. Appreciate and be thankful for the fact that I have the good fortune of being able to spend the week with my family running around Costa Rica, a place known for physical activity.  That’s a very good thing.
  4. Have an exercise plan.  Having finally seen my itinerary for the week, it seems that every day I have some reason to move.  Hikes, volcanoes (hopefully not swimming in them), zip lines, ocean, etc.  The first four days are definitely active vacation days.  On the last three, I’m at a place with a good fitness center, which I will definitely use.  
  5. Recognize the limits of my exercise plan.  This trip is not like skiing where you can easily burn 1,000+ calories in a day.  Therefore, there are limits on activity points.
  6. Given the limits on activity points, have a plan to not go off the deep end on food.  Keep in sane for breakfast.  Keep it pretty sane for lunch.  Keep it kind of sane at dinner.  Look for lots of fruit, fish, and vegetables.  Drink tons of water.  
  7. Don’t count POINTS.  Maybe this one is heresy, but vacations should not feel like a healthy lifestyle siege.  Rather, I will seek to apply common sense, and I will seek to not engage in risky food behavior.  That seems easy enough (?!).  
  8. Have fun and try to keep up with my girls.  Not an easy task.  

This seems like a risky and inefficient way to earn Activity POINTS...

I think the point for me in keeping it together in vacation is not one of fearing an impending disaster on the scale.  Rather, I view it as proving to myself that I can live a full and food-rewarding life in a healthy way, even when on vacation.  My lifestyle does not feel like one of deprivation during normal work weeks, so should it change when I’m on vacation?

And no, don’t expect any vacation pictures of me wearing a man-thong to show up on Facebook during my week off.  I’m sure that is a source of massive disappointment to all.




  1. I went on vacation similar and stayed at my goal weight. Worked out a few days and stayed active so I was successful. I didnt go over board with food but I sampled a lot, but also tried also to make smart decisions (for the most part).

    You can do it!

  2. Oh you'll have lots of opportunities for fresh, delicious fruits and fish in Costa Rica. We went there last year and fell in love with the land, food and people.

  3. Vacations are hard for me. I think it's good to use common sense. Try to get in some physical activity where you can and don't deprive yourself of some food you might want. You have to live your life. That's what WW is about. So yes, common sense + some good food + physical activity = great vacation!


  4. No thong? Aww. Looks like a delightful tip. Happy ziplining!

  5. The zip line was the highlight of my trip to Costa Rica. ENJOY!!!

  6. Glad to see at least one CEO is saving money by keeping the private jet in the garage.

    Ps. Where is this facebook everyone is talking about?


  7. I love cruising! I only gained 2.4 lbs after our Mediterranean cruise! We skipped the midnight buffets, we used the gym, we did fun & active day trips, and still had a blast!

  8. Have a great vacation! I don't care what anyone says, I thought the man-thong photo was hilarious. Great job on being so prepared for your vacation. That's what its all about. "High-Five" (said Borat style) LOL.

  9. Doing the zip line is a must! I am so glad my daughter talked me into doing a route on our latest cruise together. Be aware they photograph/videotape you! et

  10. It sounds like you have a good plan of action for your vacation. I've gone away and not counted my POINTS and was able to stay within goal and occasionally have lost while on vacation. I find that I don't "snack" or "mindless" eat when I'm away and tend to weigh out what I really want.

    I love reading your blog! Have a great vacation!

  11. I'm going on vacation next week and have been a little panicked about putting on a good 7-8 lbs, wouldn't be the first time. I've always had a hard time staying on track during vacations, which actually takes away from the enjoyment of vacation in the long run. I'm going to print this out and keep it with me so I stay focused.

  12. Love this blog. Very inspiring!


  13. Good luck. Glad to see you are an active memeber as well as the CEO. Nice to know that you care and are not in this position for just the $. All the best. Hope you and your family have a wonderful trip! I too went away and managed to stay the same weight. No gain. Made smart choices. I did not count points, just applied the healthy lessons I have learned at the meeting.

  14. I've been on 4 cruises and never gained weight on any of them! Those ships have plenty of food, but also plenty of opportunity for physical activity. There is nothing like an early morning walk on the uppermost deck with a sea breeze and nothing but water as far as you can see!

    Enjoy your trip!

  15. Costa Rica is a great place to get your fresh fruits and fish. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy every minute. Weight Watchers teachings prepares everyone to know how to watch and do well even with out countiong points while on vacation!Good Luck!!

  16. I went on an 8 day cruise, my first ever cruise. I ate what I wanted in moderation and hit the gym every morning. I did not gain any weight on that vacation!! It can be done.

  17. I went on a cruise when I was on my weight loss journey, I lost 3.4 pounds and enjoy a little of everything ate in moderation and measured portions. Exercised in the gym and went on walks on excursion.
    There is always filling foods! There is no destination to this journey....

  18. I'm from the UK and just came back from a very self indulgent 2 weeks in the US. To my delight I only put on a pound despite a much more relaxed eating plan than usual!!Def a controlled breakfast helped, lots of walking and lots of water. Great encouragement from the blog. Thanks.

  19. Hey David,
    If Weight Watchers wants more male members, they need to have a male spokesperson IN ADDITION to Jennifer Hudson.
    Also, the Weight Watcher magazine cover is very "girlie". What about a more gender neutral cover so men don't feel so self-concious reading it?
    Thanks for your consideration.
    I hope the world gets to see a male spokesperson soon.

  20. I just made lifetime, or so my leader and I thought. Unfortunately I was 3 pounds under goal. WHAT A CRIME, the manager of the center said I hadn't gained enough. This defies logic, I'm UNDER goal, but not acceptable. I guess this week I'll have to go on a short cruise or maybe that beer and pizza diet so I can gain that extra pound. I was helping my wife lose weight, but she's so put off by this that she won't be going back to that meeting either, even though she's lost more than 25 pounds since new years. Next week will be the first meeting we will miss this year.