I just got back from a week with my entire family at a Disney resort in Hawaii, and now I'm about to share with you my secret for how I maintain a healthy diet while on vacation: I don’t.
Sure, some people genuinely prefer kale and think ice cream is gross, but for a lot of us that's probably not the case. For many of us, eating healthy is something we do because it's a means to an end. We eat salads for lunch because they're good for our bodies and we want to feel like we look good naked.
A cup of spinach has more vitamins than it does calories, but if scientists (or more likely a wizard, but just go with it) figured out a way to make a cheeseburger with the same nutritional properties, would you still bring a salad for lunch every day?
A while back, I would obsess over every morsel of food that went in and out of my body. I was afraid of gaining weight, and basically was immune to logic. To be fair, that's how phobias work, whether you're afraid of flying, a zombie apocalypse or getting fat.
While in Hawaii this past week, we went on an excursion where we had lunch on a catamaran in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and went snorkeling. My niece has been terrified of sharks since she was a little kid, so you can guess how she initially felt about this. She wasn't trying to hear anything about how Disney, the company peddling magical experiences, is not sending its guests anywhere near sharks. She was afraid, and immune to logic.
It's the same with pocrescophobia, aka a fear of gaining weight. A while back, I would obsess over every morsel of food that went in and out of my body. I was afraid of gaining weight, and basically immune to logic. To be fair, that's how phobias work, whether you're afraid of flying, a zombie apocalypse or getting fat. But just like it’s extremely unlikely to lose 20 pounds in a weekend, the same goes for gaining 20 pounds in a weekend, which is something it took me a really long time to fully absorb.
Think about this: Your employer gives you a few weeks vacation every year with the understanding that it's good for your productivity to take time off. You take a break and once you get past that first day back where you readjust to the notion of having to show up places at specific times (ugh) and sort through 1 million emails, you're refreshed and ready to rock.
Personally, I think the same is true for our bodies. "Everything in moderation, including moderation," you know? So I approach being on vacation as taking a break from my “normal” life. Not just my work, my responsibilities, and my alarm clock, but my diet which the rest of the time is pretty good.
In other words: While vacationing in Hawaii, bring on the fish tacos and the guava drink that's 160 calories for an 11-ounce can. Bring the shave ice, which is what mainlanders would refer to as "a scoop of ice cream topped with a snow cone that's roughly the size of a toddler's head."
I've rejoined normal society. In a of couple days, I'll be all rejuvenated and ready to tackle all my projects at work. I'll be equally rejuvenated and ready to bring my quinoa for lunch and start my newest Crossfit Groupon. Transitioning back into healthy eating should actually be pretty easy considering the reason my family, the real life McCallisters, almost missed our flight- we had to reconfigure everyone's carry-on luggage in the middle of the airport because we couldn’t leave Hawaii without several cases of fresh pineapples.
How strict are your eating habits on vacation?
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