I cracked the code for staying lean on vacation.
I remember it vividly …
It certainly wasn’t my first attempt at keeping my shit together on vacation but this particular trip was memorable.
In fact, it wasn’t long after a previous trip where I tried to starve myself and then ended up in a 4 day binge fest.
I believe it was about 6 months later, and I was gearing up for another vacation.
I used to be obsessed with dieting, even on vacation.
I’m terrible at dates but I’m almost certain it was 2015.
At this point in my dieting career, I would say I was in the obsessive category.
I thought about food 24/7. I had anxiety about going out to eat. Vacations stressed me out because I thought I would lose all of my progress.
Anyway, I remember the anticipation of the trip and deciding to lower calories about 4 weeks out.
Keep in mind, I was already chronically under eating.
Even though I did this exact same strategy on the previous trip and it backfired … well … I’m not a quick learner.
So, we get to our destination in Grenada …
And most people when they hit the Caribbean feel this sense of calm and relaxation.
The beautiful scenery, the crystal clear water.
The island vibes.
In fact, not too long ago, Mel and I went to Antigua and I felt all of those feelings.
It was much needed.
However, during this particular trip in 2015 … I felt none of it.
I saw people sucking down drinks and the food buffet and the lack of equipment in the gym.
I couldn’t focus on anything else.
Each day, I spent my time trying to avoid alcohol and eat as little as possible.
And this time … I succeeded.
I gained weight on vacation, even while restricting myself.
Here’s the fucked up part …
When I got home, the scale was up.
We looked through our pictures from the trip and I hated how I looked.
I’ve mentioned a number of times on here and on my podcast about how my poor relationship with food and my body drove a wedge in my relationship with my ex-wife.
This is the shit I’m referring to.
She couldn’t understand why I would deprive myself for an entire week-long vacation …
Only to come home and pick myself apart and freak out about the scale being up.
And she was right.
It was dysfunctional and disordered.
I was trying to treat the root cause (my relationship with food, exercise, and my body) by treating the symptom (controlling my physical appearance).
The issue with that approach is that it was never going to be enough.
Every time the scale went down … it was never enough.
Every time I got leaner … it was never enough.
Do you know what I remember most about that particular trip?
Think about how messed up that is.
On a beautiful island with not a care in the world for 7 days …
All I can remember is how obsessed and panicked I was about not losing my progress.
Compare that with my most recent trip with Mel to Antigua …
And I think about us talking and laughing and dancing at the pool bar … Our walks holding hands on the beach and the absolute picturesque water … And our sushi dinners with random cats jumping in our laps.
I don’t even know what my body composition was like on that trip.
I was fully present and immersed in the experience.
Such a stark contrast from where I used to be.
So, what changed?
Want to stay lean? Get to the root of the issue!
Well, for starters, I got to the root of the issue and started working on my relationship with food, exercise, and my body.
I started to work towards goals that aligned with my values.
Losing fat isn’t a value.
Losing fat because you want to live longer for your family IS a value.
Losing fat because you want to be more active with your kids IS a value.
Losing fat because you show up better in other areas of your life when you have more energy and confidence IS a value.
Losing fat because you’re passionate about competing in something and it’ll give you an advantage IS a value.
Do you see the difference?
It has to be more than just a number on a device. Because that game is a slippery slope.
I connected deeply to what I truly wanted in all areas of my life … not just my physical appearance.
And how I wanted to live.
And no … I don’t want to live in a constant state of restriction.
In fact, I hate dieting.
I will do it as infrequently as humanly possible.
Which brings me to the solution …
How to stay lean while on vacation
It’s by living life in a way that aligns with what you truly desire.
What I mean is this …
My everyday lifestyle includes moving my body, working out, recovering, caring about sleep, eating quality foods, drinking water.
It also includes being social, date nights, alcohol when I want it, and delicious foods.
I’ve got a rock solid foundation that has been built over YEARS.
So, I don’t diet before vacation, on vacation, or after vacation.
I just live.
I walk on vacation, I train on vacation, I drink on vacation, and I eat whatever the fuck I want on vacation …
And nothing changes.
I’m not special.
I just learned the hard way and finally made a commitment to doing things the right way.
No more patching up symptoms.
Fix the root of the issue, build your own foundation, and live life on your terms.
I’m always here for you.