Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ye olde healthy vacation check list

This has not been a pretty summer.  I have been working like a crazy person from the first thaw of Winter's snow.  Tons of travel and lots of work has clearly made Dave a dull boy.  At minimum, it has made staying on program something of a challenge, particularly the travel bit.  This course of events has not been desirable.  I normally count on building up a big reservoir of healthy living chits before I head off toward vacation.  Right now, my healthy bank account is pretty much empty -- though at least I'm not in a debtor position.

I'm REALLY hoping my beach isn't this crowded.
Not a good frolicking scene..
As of Friday morning, I'm on vacation for two weeks.  To be completely clear, this fact is beyond awesome.  I need the rest, and I need to get in a giant heap of quality time with my dear, understanding wife and kids.  Yet, I feel the inevitable ominous feeling of going into wild nutritional waters, replete with fried seafood, ice cream and beer.  I'm also slightly stressed about the fact that I have to get the family car packed and ready to roll early Friday morning.

How should I handle all of the stress, fear, uncertainty and doubt?  Get a plan!

I already started my packing plan by building up an impressive spreadsheet with every item I could possibly need, including lint.  It's a little anally retentive, but I hate that feeling of driving off toward the destination with the nagging feeling that I've forgotten something.  A nice plan and a nicer list is a very nice way of proactively dealing with this.

My approach to my healthy living survival stress for the next two weeks follows the same basic theme:  have a plan.  So here it goes:

Exercise (this one is pretty easy):

  • Find a local gym that will sell me a two week pass.  Done!
  • Bring my bike.  Will be done!  
  • Take advantage of the fact that I naturally wake up at silly hours of the morning and get workout in before family arises.  No problem.  I live my life this way.
  • Put in serious walking time on the beach.  No hardship here.
  • Frolic in the waves with my kids.  Sold.  
Food (more challenging):  
  • Grocery shop as soon as I get to the rental house.  Arm the house with healthy snacks, fruits, etc.
  • Stick to my oatmeal/fruit/Greek yogurt breakfast routine.  
  • Pack lunch from the kitchen (not the sandwich shop) when possible.  Avoid buying big bags of chips.  Getting individual packs instead so I can avoid mindless beach grazing.  
  • For dinners, we are planning on cooking and grilling many of the nights we are there.  That's always a good environment for good choices.  We will also definitely be hitting some dinners out, and that's OK.  My standard guideline for vacations is to loosen up a bit for dinner and not be too obsessive (not easy for me).  
My brain (the most challenging):
  • Challenge my vacation paradigms.  Why shouldn't I imagine vacation as a time in which I don't gain a single pound?  Why does it have to be a binging splurge?  Why should I feel the need to get nervous about the notion that I will somehow turn into a garbage eating beach freak?  
  • My strategy is therefore to take a deep breath and imagine myself sitting on the beach, feeling healthy and balanced not gross and bloated.  Mental rehearsing they call this.  
Of course, there is always the stop-gap measure of taunting a shark and then letting it chase me to squeeze in a few extra Activity Points.  

I may blog from the beach, but not promises!  




  1. Have a VERY happy vacation, David. I'm not sure where you are headed but is sure sounds like fun.

    I'm taking my son up the coast by train from So CA to No CA for a long weekend. I weighed in early this week since we'll be gone and I am down 2.2# from my gain last week and am .4# away from my lowest WW weight yet. To celebrate, I took advantage of the sale and bought 4 boxes of snacks. I, too, am planning and want healthier, controlled snacks to grab for while on the train or at the apartment we'll be staying in. The friend we are meeting is also a WW but she has a tendency to easily go off plan so my plan is to keep us both on plan.

    I want to weigh in in 10 days at the same or less weight than I did today. You've motivated me so I hope we keep each other in check!

  2. Dear mr Kirchhoff, I have trying to find an email for you but only found this way to communicate. I have been charged 3 times for the monthly pass. I emailed WW and I received the worst service ever. I have been in cleveland ohio from boston because of my grandson`s illness and they will not give me a refund for 2 of the monthes . I have been to 2 meetings. This is very bad customer service. I want to cancel and I will return to Jenny craig.

  3. Have a GREAT vaca and look forward to hearing how you fare. I so enjoy this blog, I share it on my FB page!

  4. You can do it! Have fun, use your awesome list, and remember that you CAN have anything and stay on plan. Why not beer? We went to Hawaii for two weeks in May. Have you SEEN the food there? Yummy, but I always feel like it should come with anti-cholesterol drugs! Nevertheless, I had a plan similar to yours, weighed in while in Hawaii (to keep ahead of any potential big gains), and the last day weighed in with a 1/2 pound LOSS! I don't think that WW group has heard that loud of a WooHoo in a long time! ;-) Have a wonderful time!

  5. I'm glad you are getting some well deserved time off. Reading about all your travels makes ME tired. Enjoy your family and relax. :)

  6. Terrific post and very timely, as I leave friday am for a week at the beach too! inspiring as always.

  7. You are most definitely prepared for a well-deserved holiday! May you have endless hours of great fun with your family!

  8. Hi Dave it sounds as though you need a holiday. I enjoyed reading your post as im heading on holidays in two weeks time and there are some helpful tips in your post. As a member of weightwatchers in ireland i love the new plan i love staying for the meetings and only for weightwatchers i would have never lost 2 stone on my own.Hope you have a fab holidy.

  9. How perfect that you blog about vacationing right now! I am leaving on a week-long beach vacation next Friday and am nervous of the results of my weigh in the week I get back. I am going on vacation with 3 others, 1 of which is a WW member (thank goodness!) You have giving me motivation to stay on track. Thank you!

  10. I'm so glad I read this today! My family and I leave for a week long vacation to the beach tomorrow and I was feeling a little anxious about how I would do. Have a great time and here's to a healthy vacation :))

  11. Have a great vacation......I have had a rough summer with my program and reading your article made me feel better!

  12. This post was perfectly timed! I'm headed to St. Lucia for a week on Saturday and will definitely be taking some of your suggestions. The only thing that's a bummer is I'll be at a resort not a condo, so no kitchen for me. But I think the overall idea of controlling breakfast and lunch and loosening up a bit only at dinner is genius and easy. That's where you want to spend most of your points anyway. Another challenge for me will be the alcohol..all inclusive beach resorts tend to make you overindulge in the stuff. Any suggestions??

  13. Have you ever considered the result of totally relaxing for two weeks? -- not going crazy mind you, but not tracking to a tee, not stressing about it when you don't fall within your points, and god-forbid...potentially "failing"! Is the result of gain a pound or two better or worse than the stress you are putting yourself under to achieve "weight success" for the vacation? What about stress management success? What is better for your health? -- Being relaxed and up a pound or stressed and maintaining exactly your same weight?

  14. Have a great vacation David, enjoy your family. I love your blogs, very motivating.

  15. I agree with you. Staying on a regular schedule during vacation makes me feel sane. That way when I choose to indulge on the trip I won't get to the point of loosing it and eating everything under the sun. You also enjoy your food so much more when you are picking and choosing what you want. This is a lifestyle and its a great feeling to come home from vacation or a business trip and not have to be on a mission to loose those extra pounds. Hope you and your family have a wonderful vacation.

  16. David - As usual, thank you for your honest blog. I hope you and your family have a wonderful vacation! Your plan sounds great! I did a lot of planning when we went to the beach for several days in July. I brought my snacks, had a little cooler on the beach with my snacks, water, etc. as I knew we'd have a late lunch. I took a lot of walks on the beach and enjoyed the Gulf! I was nervous about missing my meeting that week - it was the first time I ever missed a meeting since joining WW in July 2009. I just made Lifetime in June and am continuing to go to meetings every week because I want to: I need the encouragement, motivation and need to stay on plan plus I need to stay focused! I did not gain or lose any weight while on vacation - yay! My husband is not on the same team as me, so it's not easy. I do not want to slip up and gain weight again, my greatest fear. You will do great - your exercise routine sounds great too! Have a wonderful time!

  17. So happy to read about someone going on a trip that obsesses as much as I do about forgetting something. Although, to be honest, since following the WW plan for over a year now, it's not so scary as I could buy clothes that fit just about any normal store now!!

    Enjoy your trip, your plan sounds solid to keep on track (similar to what I try and do on my vacations). Great to control as much as you can but still get loose for dinner.

    Have fun and drive safe!

  18. You didn't mention alcohol ... wine, beer, gin and tonic, etc. Sitting on the deck watching a sunset, with a beer. Eating out in a restaurant, with a glass of wine. Cocktails with your friends. etc. You can go through your extra points pretty quick. So, just like you said that previous mindsets about gaining a few pounds on vacation, get rid of that one too. Who says that alcohol has to be part of the vacation.

  19. Have a happy, safe and great vacation...

  20. I love the phrase about being feeling healthy and balanced, not gross and bloated. I think I'll put that on the front of my food planner.

  21. For me vacations are easier than day-to-day life because of all the walking that is generally involved, whereas my job is mostly confined to a desk. Eating is a challenge no matter what's going on - I can rationalize a few more fries whether in the mountains, at a beach, or in my office. Have a great vacation! (p.s. I think I've been to that beach in the pic. Every now and then a ginormous Hula flash mob breaks out...)

  22. "Healthy and balanced not bloated and gross"- I like that! And that applies to any day I might feel like losing it for any reason, not just vacations.

  23. Weight Watchers Customer ServiceAugust 14, 2011 at 2:04 PM

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  24. this blog sounds like me when I went on vacation. I shopped for healthy snack, cooked healthy meals, worked out and splurged on a couple of dinners. I was actually down 1 lb when I got back. I also knew I could do this.
    Have a great time on the beach with your family

  25. Thanks for the blogs! I love to read much that I would LOVE to have a WW Men's magazine with all of yours and others tips and articles. Seriously, I would subscribe (with real money) to a men's health magazine coming from a trusted group like WW.

  26. Hi David,

    I've just finished reading the whole of your blog from start to finish and I just wanted to say how inspirational I find it! I'm relieved to find that other people obsess about their next meal and have a weekly cereal blow out. I thought it was just me, but who knew!!

    I've been a WW member for just over a year now and achieved my goal weight 3 weeks ago. This is the slimmest I've ever been and I feel fantastic, thanks to a great leader (Joan Hanna) and the WW meetings.

    Since this is the only forum I know you can be reached at I just wanted to point out one thing, which I'm wondering if WW would look at improving in future.... I'm an Irish member and although the UK and the US have amazing websites, full of recipes, ideas, tools and shopping, the Irish website is terrible! It is extremely basic and there isn't even any shopping facilities. I've been trying to get the Seriously Satisfied cookbook but my leader has told me it is often difficult, even for her, to get the books and products she wants to sell at meetings. I inquired on the UK website and the postage to Ireland is almost as much as the product itself!

    If something could be done to provide a better website for your Irish members, I would be very grateful.

    Looking forward to the next installment of the blog.

    Ruth (Ireland)