I spent this past weekend in Disney World. We arrived midday Friday and returned very late Sunday, technically in the wee hours of Monday morning. From the kick-off breakfast to the commemorative last meal of the getaway, there were abundant opportunities to go awry from my desired way of eating. However, I stayed true to myself and my goals that were set prior to going on the trip and will now share with you just what I did to avoid overdoing it.
Carry a backpack. Load the backpack with small to medium bottles of water, as much as you can carry just beyond the level of comfortable. Be sure to include other essentials you will need for your day at a theme park. If the backpack is nearly unbearable, fear not – the load will get lighter as you drink that water. Incentives! Reminders! Nothing like having that nagging reminder to stay hydrated, literally, on your back!
- Bring your own food. Disney allows you to bring in whatever food you want or need to bring. We brought a backpack that is half backpack, half cooler/lunchbox. It worked fantastically and we kept saying how great it was that we’d thought to get such a nifty pack! Prior to the trip I baked a bunch of chicken and chopped it up, sectioning it off into those small little Ziploc screw-on lid containers. We went to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot and had the containers divided between the two days. As we wanted a turkey leg or a churro or any other delicious, typical Disney treats, we knew we didn’t have to break down and buy into the hype because we were prepared. Within a couple miles from the parks, there is a Wal-Mart and when we arrived in Orlando we went to Wal-Mart and picked up the case of water for the weekend, apples, bananas, cheese sticks and antibacterial wipes to wash up wherever. The goal of the foods was just to be enough to sustain us while we were in the parks. You never want to eat a big lunch and then realize the next ride on your list is Space Mountain. One word – regrettable! Especially now that they have made that ride much faster and thrilling!
- Time your hydrating. Restrooms are few and far between, at least it seems that way. Our tactic for water consumption during this trip was to down a bottle of water after each restroom stop. It was an easy way to remember to drink the water; we never had the “bust a gut” feeling because we waited too long, etc.
- Sodas, diet or regular, are not hydrators! As you walk, walk, walk through the hot, hot, hot parks, that ice-cold soda looks like just the thing to provide relief. NOT!! Soda has caffeine. Caffeine is a dehydrator. If you just suck down a bunch of soda and you don’t actually consume water, you are doing double-duty damage because not only are you sweating and becoming dehydrated, you are consuming liquid that is just dehydrating you further! No! No! No! What about Sprite? You’re still better off drinking water because while Sprite does not have caffeine, it still has an enormous amount of corn syrup and sugar. Gross! Sugar crashes are the main reason why everyone wants to kill each other by the time they get back in the car to leave and why the kids are the first to fall asleep the minute the car starts to head home.
- Stick to your guns. If you go out to eat and you don’t want to gain an immense amount of weight, decide what’s really important, just like you would at home. Is this the last supper? Do I need to gorge? Have I never had this type of food before? Will this place be closed the next time we come here? Is this a once in a lifetime opportunity? It’s a pretty safe bet that the restaurant or food choice will be there when you return, even if it’s twenty years later. If it’s not, will you really care? Don’t lose sight of yourself and eat what you know will make you feel good, beyond that meal!
- Get back to the routine the minute you get home. If you take some liberties on your trips and eat some crazy things, skip your routine workouts, etc. – get right back to that routine of eating and exercise the minute you get home. Don’t wait a week to food shop, unpack your suitcase promptly, get that laundry going and have at least two quality meals that day if you can. The faster you get back into your routine, the less “recovery time” you need from the vacation. Your vacations should not require vacations from your vacations!
Going on vacation or taking a trip is usually based on a reason greater than eating. If you’re traveling just to go on a food tour, ask Lisa Stansfield if she ever found her baby. Traveling is about going somewhere, seeing something of interest and most likely, spending time with others. Guess what! FOOD WILL ALWAYS BE THERE! WE WILL NEVER BE WITHOUT! If you miss a snack or a meal, you can eat later. I know, it’s far-fetched, but just try to wrap your head around that one. It’s not easy – or is it?
“If you carry that which you seek, within, you are destined to find it without having to travel far at all.” – Johnny Potrekus
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