My family and I go on a beach vacation every year. There’s nothing like spending quality time with your loved ones on a beach basking in the warm sun. And of course that one thing we all love to hate…the bikini. But what if this beach was a tropical one in Jamaica? Score, right? Not to mention the fact that it’s an all inclusive resort, which means all the food, drinks, and entertainments are totally free (well included in the price).
We’ve done a few of these in the past and the same thing usually happens. I derail off whatever work out plan I’m on and eat like a wild baboon just out to pasture. Each time the buffet is open I walk right up and fill up a plate, regardless of whether I’m hungry or not. I come back from the trip feeling bloated and about 5-10 pounds heavier. Totally miserable! Keep in mind that there is also a fully furnished gym at most of these resorts, minus some free weights. But, who works out on vacation right?
This year I decided to try something different. Initially my thought was to go to the resort furnished gym and work out in the morning before breakfast. Day one of vacation I realized this wasn’t a realistic plan that I was going to adhere to. And for a split second I had the “oh forget it, I’m on vacation” thought. Then I heard the most interesting announcement coming from a large speaker projected on to the beach. It was the resort staff wanting any and all volunteers to come into the ocean for what they called “super aerobics.” Years ago, I had done a number of different classes that had been classified as aerobics, but always considered them a little on the boring side. Interestingly enough a small number of people began to gather. That was enough to give me the courage to go out and join and see if my previous thought was indeed correct.
Super aerobics was lead by a Jamaican man who at some point in his career acquired the nickname “Chicken.” He seemed to have the energy of several small children. His motto to get most of us energized was “let’s burn the burgers and the fries from our buns and our thighs.” I don’t know how many times I caught myself chanting this. And just in case anyone missed the first session in the ocean, there was a second offering in the pool a few hours later. I did this almost every day, either in the ocean or the pool, and felt pretty darn good afterwards. Even though it wasn’t part of my regular routine of lifting weights from home, it was still something that got my body moving.
Now if you’re wondering how I managed with all that wonderful bounty of food and never ending supply of drinks at my disposal, I surprised even myself. I decided that I wouldn’t restrict what I ate and allow myself to indulge a little. There was a funny thing that happened, I ate small portions and stopped eating when I felt full. I even managed to have a few desserts and not feel guilty. The great thing about Jamaica is that the portion sizes for most meals and desserts are relatively small. So you can indulge a little without feeling the guilt, provided you don’t go back for more.
In the end it was a fabulous trip that kept me feeling as good about the beach as it did about my non expanding waist line coming home. I was almost relieved that I could still wear the same shorts back home and not have to rely on the stretchy cotton ones. I think it’s possible to go on vacation, have a good time and not restrict yourself too much without feeling miserable about it when you come back home. How do you feel about vacation and exercise?