Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Staying fit & healthy (ish) on holiday

If you would like to see all my travel posts, including recaps, tips & recommendations and packing guides, please visit my travel page.

When I'm on holiday, I don't want to completely disregard my healthy habits and feel like crap when I return.  However, I also don't want to miss out on any of the good food. Unfortunately, I'm not 18 anymore so eating all the food makes me gain all the weight. It also makes me feel sick after too many days of heavy food and dessert with no nutritional value. But I'm not willing to give up all that food, so what's a girl to do?


Now, as a runner, you'd think that it was easy to stay in shape while on holiday. Just bring your running shoes and something to wear, right? But even for someone who has travelled alone and moved to the other side of the world, that scares me. I get lost easily and I'd be afraid I'd get Taken or end up lost without being able to ask for help or use my trusty phone to get me out of the mess I'd gotten myself into.

I also generally don't make time for running when I'm on holiday. Now I didn't say I didn't have time, because we all know we have time we just have to make time - so there you go, I just don't make time for running when I'm on holiday. I'm too busy holidaying.



Before I went to Europe, I buckled down and watched what I ate and exercised like a mad person. I lost quite a bit of weight. I was really proud of myself, plus I fit into those damn jeans. I figured I would gain it all back with all that food. I also wouldn't care because hello, holiday.

But.. nope. The day after I got home, I weighed myself. 3lbs heavier. A couple of days later, after settling back into normal food and workouts, I was the same weight as before. I was definitely a bit softer and my jeans were a bit more fitted, but not bad.

When we went to Australia, we ate a lot and I gained quite a bit of weight. Like, way more than what I gained (or didn't) in Europe. I'm too embarrassed to admit how much but I will tell you it was a 2 digit number. It also took me forever to shift the weight.

So what was the difference between the 2 trips?

We walked.



Woah. Mind blowing, right? But seriously. In Australia, we drove everywhere, caught the train or the bus. Sydney and Melbourne are walkable cities, but in both cities we stayed with family outside of the city. You can't walk from my childhood home to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It would take you all day, but also you'd get run over or thrown into the back of a cop car. But we did a lot of sitting and laying around. We weren't really there for sightseeing though.

But Paris, Rome and Dublin? We walked (almost) everywhere. Except for getting to and from the airports, we walked to the majority of our destinations. No hop on hop off buses, no taxis, just a little bit of metro. We basically did 4 sightseeing tours - Versailles, where we biked 10 miles. Rome, 2 tours where we walked the entire time. Dublin, this was the only tour on wheels, and it was the Viking Splash Tour and it was pretty fun.

For everything else, we used mastercard. Wait, sorry. We walked everywhere else. I planned our itineraries and grouped things that were closer together. If I didn't plan, we might have gotten overwhelmed visiting Sacre Coeur because it was about 5 miles away from our hotel. But because I planned how we could walk there and things to see on the way, we barely noticed.



I totally believe that the best way to see a city is on foot. I know some cities aren't walkable, and sometimes it's midnight in a strange place and you don't feel like walking back to your hotel. I get that. But I know what I'm like, and if I am metro-ing to all the things I want to see, I'm going to hop off the metro, walk to the place, take a photo, hop right back on the metro. I know that is completely my fault and not the metro's fault, but I recognise my laziness and choose not to give myself that option.

I don't want to pretend we didn't use the metro at all in Europe, because we totally did (and it was super easy!). I had crazy allergies our last day in Paris and didn't feel like doing all the walking, so we did a mix of walking and metro. Overall though, I'd say the holiday was 80% walking and 20% other means of transport, which I'd say is pretty good.

As for sightseeing though, I have no desire to do a hop on hop off bus when I could walk everywhere myself. If things are far away - different story. But if it's somewhere like NYC, Rome or Paris? Everything is walkable! Or bikable.


So walk. That's my advice / experience. Walk everywhere and it'll all even out.

However, we all know abs are made in the kitchen and though I don't particularly care to have a six pack, I'm not delusional enough to think that walking everywhere means I can eat everything in sight.

I love good food when I travel... and by good food, I really mean bad for you food. Desserts especially. I wish I could say that every single meal was bad (and therefore awesome) but continuously eating bad food makes me feel lethargic and grumpy, not to mention the whole celiac thing.


But I'm not missing out on all the good food, so here is what I do:

- I try and have at least one good, healthy meal each day. Like eggs for breakfast, a salad for lunch, lean meat and veggies for dinner. But not all in one day otherwise that would be boring.
- Don't forget fruits and veggies - I normally forget that these exist on holiday. But I made sure to eat fruit with breakfast if there was an option, and veggies with lunch or dinner. It doesn't offset the bad stuff, but it means I eat less of the bad stuff, so basically, yeah it does. You can see there are berries in the above cake. Promise.
- I try and limit my snacks to two a day. I would say one a day but let's be real. This is me we are talking about. Some days I did one, but only because a main meal was just as decadent as a treat. Some days I did more than 2, but hey gelato is basically water. Or whatever.
- I made my eyes smaller than my stomach. If that even makes sense. I am the worst at getting way more food than I can actually eat. I also eat snacks or dessert even when I'm not hungry. So if there was a 'half' or smaller portion, I chose that. It might not have completely filled me up, but I knew I would be snacking on something sooner rather than later, so it evened out. My instinct is to get the biggest serving (like 4 scoops of gelato) but I tried to be sensible and just get 2 scoops... and then another 2 scoops a few hours later because hello I was in Rome.


I also tried to limit my gluten, which wouldn't be an issue for anyone else so it's not mentioned up there. A little or a lot, I'm still going to be sick either way, but there's no need to push it. There were (surprisingly) a lot of gluten free pizza and pasta options, plus I stuck with all the naturally gluten free stuff (like macarons) or just had little bites of KC's stuff.

I refuse to 'diet' on holiday. I know some people (including KC) don't want to ruin all their hard work or healthy habits, but I want to enjoy my holiday. I know there are a bazillion 'hotel workouts' and what not, but that's not for me.  I don't enjoy working out on holiday. I have before, definitely. If there is a hotel gym I'll jump on the treadmill. But I prefer not to.  However, with all that walking and the whole I'm not 18 anymore thing, my body gets super tight and sore (especially after biking around Versailles in skinny jeans) so yoga is a must for me. Nothing crazy, just a little bit in the morning and night.

I'm not gonna come back fitter than when I left just because I walked everywhere. It's not going to make me lose weight. But it does make me feel a bit better, thus helps me make better choices. But let's not get too crazy here, we're on holiday!

Linking up with Alyssa and Tracy!

alyssagoesbang

Do you do any kind of exercise when you're on holiday?

48 comments:

  1. I agree completely! I want to enjoy my holiday but I don't go too crazy because it just makes me feel awful. Plus I always walk everywhere. It's seriously the best thing about travelling - walking everywhere is good exercise and it's the best way to explore! X Carly

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  2. Haha loved the "For everything else, we used Mastercard" comment! That made me giggle! And yes to walking everywhere! Such a good idea and walking allows you to see things you might not see if you were driving any way! Good for you guys for getting in so much exercise while on vacation!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  3. Such great tips and it's true, if you're walking everywhere it's a great way to shed those extra calories and feel better.

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  4. I am so glad that you let yourself enjoy some of the foods on your trip but you kept it in line to still feel good! I am in a pickle about the beach this week. We usually do sandwiches for lunches and some dinners but processed lunch meat and bread? Crap. Maybe I can balance it with fruit and veggies? lol

    Can we talk about how gorgeous you look in all your pictures?? I just love the bike one and your face with that pasta!

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  5. yay you're back!! i loved your pics on IG. walking is KEY. officially stealing "holidaying" as a word! love it.

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  6. hell yes!! walking is the best and only way to see a city! when we were in italy, the only time we drove was when we were driving to each city but as soon as we got to our destination, we parked the car and walked everywhere :)

    i'm SO HAPPY that our goal (operation fit into jeans) was a success! i meant to ask you if you had a chance to try them on but then you up and left the ahole bros group for europe. glad you're back though :)

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  7. These are great tips!! We just got back from our trip to the beach and we do quite a bit of walking. Back and forth to the beach (carrying children) and on the boardwalk. It helps you to not feel too guilty when you're eating fries and pizza for dinner followed by gelato lol.I do the same and try to start out with a healthy breakfast and lunch then eat whatever for dinner. We also food shop down there, so I made sure to make one semi healthy dinner for everyone. They have a farmers market on wednesday mornings which I always look forward to for the night I cook there. xo Your trip looked like a blast! Maybe I'll make it one day when my kids are older! lol

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  8. I love this! All of these are great tips! You don't want to miss out on the good foods, but you don't want to undo all the hard work either! Thanks for sharing! You did awesome....and I don't blame you I wouldn't be able to resist gelato either. It's so goood.

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  9. Awesome tips gurlie! I typically gain weight on vacations like cruises and Caribbean resorts because you're eating all the food and drinking a ton while laying around and relaxing in the sun. But when we went to Europe last year and Chicago a few months ago, even though I was eating/drinking a lot I did a TON of walking and it kept the weight off for the most part. Walking the cities is the best part! You get to see so much that you wouldn't if you were whizzing by on the train or in a taxi. And can we talk about all that amazing looking food?! So glad you enjoyed every bite! Vacation is no time for a diet! :)

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  10. I love this!!! Everyone wants to have a good time on vacation (and for most of us, that's eating all the good food) -- but you found a good medium to balance it all out. I loved seeing all of your vacay pics - you look so pretty and happy!!

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  11. What is that milkshake/coffee looking drink with the cake? It looks sooo good! (see what I take away from this whole post, lol) I tend to eat so bad whenever we're on vacation, but I'm with you and think it usually ends up balancing out because I'm walking a lot. I can't wait to hear more about your trip!

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  12. This reminds me of the lesson I learned my first year in college when I gained the Freshman 15, er, 25. I had gotten into the horrible habit of taking the bus everywhere (even a block down the street) because it was free and easy, and man did my body tell me about it! After that year I never took the bus again (except if I was in heels bc of an interview) and eventually lost all that weight. I always joke with my sister that I'd be just as skinny as she is if I lived in NYC and walked everywhere too!! :)

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  13. Whoaaaa...thank you for all the delicious and tempting food pictures to go with a post about staying "healthy-ish." That cake situation is OUT OF CONTROL. Yum. Anyway, I totally agree with you about the impact that just walking everywhere can make! I had the same experience in San Francisco. I ate worse than usual (although not terrible because I can't out-walk THAT many calories) but because we walked everywhere, I didn't gain. I'm also with you on not "making time" to exercise when I travel. I just don't. I never take breaks at home so the few trips per year I take are just my rest day and I don't worry about the time off. If I traveled often I'd have to do some hotel workouts or something, but I don't so no big deal.

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  14. Yes! When I lived in Paris, I brought my running shoes and thought I'd get several runs in a week. I was there for MONTHS and ran TWICE. And when I did, I felt so awkward! I was already the only blonde in all of Paris and the only woman who was 5'10, and then when I was running, I felt like people intentionally got in my way just to piss off the American. Whatever, jerkface French.

    Anyway, I was shocked that I gained nothing during my time there just from walking, like you said! Obvi I didn't have a car, so I walked everywhere. And took the Metro, but there are some serious stair situations in the metro, especially when you switch lines. I don't have a sweet tooth like you, but I have a wine tooth to make up for it, and was so glad when I got home and hadn't gained a pound!

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  15. You know, when I went to Europe, I legitimately thought I would lose weight. We had a super tight budget, so we didn't eat a ton, we wore our giant backpacks everywhere, and we hiked quite a bit in addition to all the walking. But it didn't seem to matter, because I came home the same as I left. I suppose the few bad (and therefore awesome) meals we did have compensated for all the extra physical activity.

    I'm glad you found a balance of awesome but still feeling healthy! I'm with you, it's not a vacation if the rules aren't relaxed a little bit.

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  16. We walk everywhere too. To the point of totally dead feet! haha How did your shoes work out?!? That makes it so much easier to work off what you eat. :) I honestly miss that about college. And I am thinking about moving to a different part of our city someday soonish so that I can walk more again! It seriously helps more than I would think! Yum, I want to eat all the food in this post. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  17. Great tips! Walking is definitely my best tip as well. You can see so much more, and it's cheaper than paying to ride the subway or get a cab. I've gotten to see so many cool things just by walking and happening upon a hidden treasure that I never would have seen from a subway car! Plus, burning all those calories doesn't hurt either :)

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  18. Good for you not running on holiday. :P Holidays are for taking it easy and enjoying where you are. Haha

    My MIL recently got back from Amsterdam. Holy cow. She kicked our BUTTS in the daily fitbit challenge. She had like 25K steps a day or something crazy. I can imagine you walked a LOT while you were there.

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  19. I totally know what you mean about walking!! We ate so much in London last year and then walked it all off in Paris - I think we walked from 8:30 AM to 5:30 Pm one day it was incredible! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  20. Walking is definitely a great tip. Girl when I was in Sydney last year I probably walked the entire city. Even though I ate like I was on holiday I found myself losing weight because of the sheer amount of walking I did. I love good food when I travel as well (PS I want to jump through the freaking screen for that cake) and these are great tips for keeping the weight off while on a trip!

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  21. You only live once when you do a Europe trip - its all about living the experience... & that does include walking AND especially the food.
    Looks like you had the best of BOTH...
    Isn't that why they say that people in Europe are thinner because they do incorporate walking & biking a lot? I wish it was more a habit here.

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  22. Yep!! We walked all over Rome and so while I expected to have packed on a whopping amount at my next OB appointment, I hadn't really at all. Thanks walking! Because yeah, Frigidarium.

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  23. Great post. Most European cities are walkable and I find walking is the best way to get around town. Plus, you can discover so many things off the beaten path by walking. I loved walking around London in the early morning. So peaceful. I think Europeans are in better shape because they just do so much walking then we do. I do love a good walk.

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  24. LOVE this. and yep we do the same thing.. our first european vacation together was to spain and we walked so much i got cankles. not attractive. haha but i ate whatever i wanted and i felt great when i came home. btw good call on not running while on vacation -- i have huge taken fears. thank you liam neilson. :( xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  25. Walking vacations in Europe are always the best thing for your understanding of what "fitness" really means. You can walk forever and see so much you'd otherwise miss in a car or on a train!

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  26. I think yoga or pilates in a hotel room for 15-30 minutes or so is a fantastic option. I've done the vacations with working out and it makes the trip boring.
    I think my biggest thing is not to drink all your calories (like frozen drinks) and to make sure you're still drinking as much water as you normally would.
    And the walking. Yes! No wonder Americans are so....American.

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  27. walking can do wonders! I started taking the light rail to work but there's a good 1 mile walk in total to get from the station to my building. I've lost 2-3lbs just by doing this! and I'm with you, vacation is for vacation. you wouldn't catch me working out on one, ever.

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  28. that's the thing about vacations- you walk EVERYWHERE!! it's a lot but it's kind of awesome because you can eat so much. now i need to go to europe!

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  29. I love the idea of just doing one meal a day of good eats and healthy the rest. A little splurge on vacation is okay especially when you are walking enough to burn most of it off. Good job minimizing the damage! ;)

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  30. Totally LOLing at the thought of dieting on vacation (I can't call it holiday but it is super cute that you do FYI). Um, no sorry not happening. You're totally right thought, seeing a place on foot is the best way to sightsee anyway and it doubles as an easy way to keep your vacation calories in check. Now I want to book my flight to Europe so that I too can eat a million calories and then have 10 miles of sightseeing to work it off ;)

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  31. I always think I'm going to gain a ton of weight when we travel but I'm the exact same as you. Walk everywhere. I swear it felt like in Santorini it was up hill both ways no matter where we went ;-) Love your striped top looks so perfect on over there!

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  32. I love this. And I completely agree, walking is the best way to see a city, most of the time. And if you can, you should for so many reasons—the balancing act only one of them ;) but I agree also that vacation isn't a time to be super restrictive or hard on yourself. Of course that doesn't mean forget that you're a human being who required proper nutrition to exist and be healthy, but if food is part of the cultural experience in the place you're visiting (and it always is), then why would you cheapen your vacation by skimping on it? No way. Glad you had a great and delicious time :)

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  33. Totally agreeing with you on this!! Jared and I walk EVERYWHERE when we travel. Yeah, remember DC?! Miles and miles and miles recorded via FitBit every day haha! When we went to Disney I didn't mind those extra treats because we stood/walked all day AND, like you- I try to eat at least one 'decent' meal a day and get some fruits and veggies in too!

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  34. Walking is totally the key! I did a five week Euro trip eating all the time and came home weighing less, I know I have all the walking to thank. And I love exploring a city by foot, you see so much more of the area.

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  35. great post as usual :)

    http://www.itsmetijana.blogspot.com/

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  36. I love walking everywhere in Europe! It really does help keep the weight off! When Chris and I lived in Europe, we were both in the best shape of our lives. :)

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  37. Oh just casually gawking at your gorgeous photos. When I studied abroad in Italy, I lived in a town that was straight up and down hills. I also ate a full pizza almost every day and lost weight.

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  38. Oh my gosh that milk shake and piece of cake!! Thank goodness my last three vacations have been in walking towns so we got plenty of exercise!!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

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  39. 100% agree with all of this! Eating all of the good (bad) food is half the fun of vacation, you can't not do that!! Walking is definitely key and love the idea of one healthy meal a day - that is usually breakfast for me! So glad you had a fun trip!!

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  40. these are fantastic tips and girl - you look so good. i have loved following your instas in europe. they been awesome!!

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  41. We are going on vacation in August, and I think there will be lots of walking, which will be great. I am terrible about choosing what to eat on vacation, although I think I've been doing better lately about picking out actual foods for at least some of my meals everyday, such as oatmeal and fruits. When we went to Jamaica, we had plenty of time and not that many places to go, so we did go to the gym at the resort once. Once was all I needed. That was enough time for me to realize humidity in Jamaica is like 150% and that giant peacocks will CACAW and scare the poop out of me while I'm running.

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  42. I know myself and I know I will eat more crap than normal on vacation. So I walk everywhere and try to be more active in general. I also mind my water consumption (to keep it up) and try to be as active as possible. If I'm in a city, I might do squats or pushups in my hotel room. If I'm at the beach, I swim in the ocean.

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  43. Fruits and veggies is a good one! I went to puerto rico and the only veggies you usually get there are fried. By the end of my trip I was dying for a salad.

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  44. Great tips! Everyone is different and I totally understand that, I work hard most of the time so that I can enjoy treats, vacations, etc and know that it's NOT going to set me back. Water weight & the scale can suck it :) Give me all the ice cream!

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  45. That Taken movie has made me so paranoid! I also wouldn't bother adding specific workout plans to my holiday, unless it brought me great joy, but I don't yet have that relationship with my workouts. Walking everywhere definitely helps maintain the weight! I love just taking walks period. I feel like I notice so much more when I slow it down and take a walk.

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  46. Bahaha. I'm glad no one with "a particular set of skills" had to bail you out of any messes. Walking as much as possible is a great travel tip. That way you can take as much time as you want to see things. Hop-on-hop-off buses are good if you're short on time but want to see as much as possible. But if you have the time to walk, I say go for it.

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  47. Love this! I kind of hate when people are like 'do yoga and run everyday' while you're on holiday because I'm walking everywhere and I don't have time or strength to do anything else - but YES! walking everywhere is a great way to shed the calories you just took haha

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  48. All great tips plus you save a ton of money on taxi and bus fares! Win, win! And by the way, I love your hair! Did you cut it recently?

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