DietBet Diary #7: The "Don't-Blow-Your-DietBet" Vacation Planner

Even tougher than weekends, vacations are the #1 diet foe. As the end of her DietBet nears, Heather put together a super helpful vacation planer to help her (and you!) have fun without totally sabotaging her hard work.

I’m down 12 pounds and fully believe DietBet has been a game changer for me. Seriously…dieting has never worked so well!

Now comes the big test. Bigger than OGE (organized group exercise) or even peach-cobbler-filled weekend soirees with friends.

I’m talking about the V-word: VACATION.

That’s right, I’m headed out on vacation, folks. The beach is calling my name and I need to plant my butt firmly in the sand.

This need presents me with a new challenge, one I haven’t yet encountered during my DietBet game: The Dieters Vacation.

Vacation, by definition, is intended to be a break: a pause in the repetition of our daily lives. It’s meant as a respite from work or school, endless carpools, and the grind of daily alarm clocks and snooze buttons. For me (and for a lot of people I think), this applies to eating as well. I’ve always viewed vacation as a sort of week-long Thanksgiving-type feast: eat, drink, and lounge to my heart’s content.

This time: nuh-uh (shaking head vigorously).

Again, I am reminded of how my relationship with food and social enjoyment are so terribly intertwined. Is it not possible for me to have fun without great food and drink? Can I not just enjoy good company or a beautiful location without the accessory of plates laden with delectable nibbles?

Going into this DietBet, I knew I’d have to make my goal and then some because I was facing a vacation near the end of the Kickstarter. I’ve given myself a little pad, but not much. Not enough to be comfortable. Certainly not enough to eat, drink, and lounge to my heart’s content.

However, I know it’s possible to go on vacation and survive, because other players in my game have addressed facing down mini-breaks and holidays filled with wine and lovely food.

It’s daunting to contemplate the massive amount of calories I previously enjoyed on these week-long sprees and then consider that, this time, I have a calorie count to maintain and 12 pounds I’m not willing to welcome back. So for the first time, I’ve had to put some serious thought into vacation planning of a different kind. I can’t just wing it with a suitcase full of sandals and bathing suits.

No, this trip requires careful consideration. I mean, seven days off work isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for my diet. It’s not a vacation from loving myself enough to eat well. No, it’s a mental break from the business of life—not a weeklong trip camped out at the all you can eat buffet.

One day, I hope to evolve into a person who doesn’t have to carefully plan out her vacation food choices before she even packs a bag. But until that day arrives, I have to acknowledge the fact that previously, my vacations have been feasts of epic proportions. Until I can trust the new me, I have to keep the current me in check.

And thus the Don’t-Blow-Your-DietBet Vacation Planner was born.

I put this planner together, including a packing list and things to think about beforehand, to help me stay on track—and hopefully it can help you on your next vacation as well! I’m giving it a go this week, and will let you all know how it goes. This planner is tailored to me and my diet (I’m gluten-free), so change it up to match you, your diet, and your vacation of choice.

Good luck and have fun!!

Don’t-Blow-Your-DietBet Vacation Planner

Things to Consider Before You Leave:

1. Hydration 

At home, refilling that water bottle to get my daily gallon (or so) of water is a breeze. When traveling, not so much. I had to come up with a water plan. We’re staying in a hotel and travelling by car, so I’m packing two cases of bottled water and will drink enough to equal one gallon each day. If you’re flying, I’d recommend bringing one big reusable water bottle, noting how many times you’ll have to refill it to get one gallon, and toting it around with you. Finding water fountains or sinks where you can refill shouldn’t be too tricky at most vacation destinations.

2. Snacking

Healthy snacks are becoming more common, but they aren’t always available. And if you have dietary restrictions like me or are trying to maintain a high protein count, the likelihood of finding something that fits your diet when hunger strikes can eat is pretty slim. So, I’ve doubled up on my homemade protein bars and tucked them in freezer bags. Once I get to the hotel, I’ll store them in the room fridge until needed. Another option is to do some research beforehand and find a store that has what you need near where you’re going. That way, you can stock up when you first arrive and not worry about it for the rest of the trip.

3. Eating Out

It’s easy to eat a days’ worth of calories in one delicious meal, and I don’t want to deprive myself of the pleasure of great food while on vacation… so I’ve decided on keeping lunch to salads, limiting my sides to fruit and veggies, and opting for seafood or fish whenever its available. This is another great opportunity to do some research on the restaurants at your destination and scan their menus for diet-friendly options.

4. Party Time!

I love those cute fruity drinks! Especially the ones with umbrellas in them…and maraschino cherries! But those are high in sugar and calories. With that in mind, I’ve taken the time to find a mixed drink that’s calorie-friendly. I love gin & tonic, but tonic water still packs on the calories. So I’ve settled on gin and soda (LaCroix lime if it’s available), which comes in at a whopping 69 calories…. And I can still ask for a drink umbrella. If you’ll be ordering at a bar or restaurant, asking for a gin/vodka and soda is easy. If you’ll be staying at a rental and doing your drinking there, pack along some low-calorie mixers and your booze of choice. (And of course, sub in your low-calorie drink of choice for gin & LaCroix. Wine, light beer, and vodka with low-calorie mixers are all great choices!)

5. Exercise

When it comes to exercise, I’m lucky. Our hotel has a gym and we’re staying on the beach—w ho could ask for a better place to take a brisk walk? I can still have an afternoon of drinks and boiled peanuts on the beach, but this time, I gotta earn it with some exercise. Chances are that wherever your vacation takes you, you’ll be able to find a way to work out. Whether that involves a gym, going for a run/jog around an exciting new city, hiking, swimming, or just walking around exploring all day, know beforehand how you’ll be staying active (and pack the workout gear you’ll need to do so!).

6. Dieting Accoutrements

Let’s be honest—dieting can come with a lot of accessories. From your scale (especially if you have an upcoming weigh-in) to your Fitbit to your food journal and beyond. Be sure to gather all these together, and—most important—make sure you bring your phone/laptop and chargers, so you can use all the apps that help you stay on track.

Things to Pack:

I hope all of my mulling and planning can help you have a more diet-friendly vacay! To make it easier for you, click below to download a cute, printable PDF of the Don't-Blow-Your-DietBet Vacation Planner. It's shorter but has all the essential points so you can make sure you're thinking of everything before you head off!

This is the seventh post in a DietBet Diary series that follows Heather through her whole game. If you missed Heather's earlier posts, catch up now!

DietBet Diary #6: Why Is It Easier to Talk to My Fellow DietBetters Than My Friends & Family?

DietBet Diary #5: Peach Cobbler for Dinner...and Breakfast

DietBet Diary #4: My Food Life Is Changing, and I'm Scared.

DietBet Diary #3: My Body Planned a Rebellion. I Shut It Down.

DietBet Diary #2: Chubby Girl Yoga

DietBet Diary #1: One Writer Gets Real About Life on the Chubby Side of the Fence

Make it WayBetter

Download and print out the PDF version of the Don't-Blow-Your-DietBet Vacation Planner, and use it to make sure you're prepped for a healthy & fun trip next time a vacation rolls around.