One of the messages I share with my clients is that life is meant to be lived all of the time, not just some of it! And with the heartbreaking tragedies of late, this reminder couldn’t be more timely. We’ve been given the amazing gift of life and with it, a responsibility to make it the best it can possibly be! But how can you achieve this if you feel like you’re constantly living in the highs and lows of a diet?
I’m not saying that it’s impossible to feel great on a diet (I myself recommend occasional cleanses), but it often comes to a point where longterm restriction leads to resentment and resentment leads to rebellion… the kind that ends in a sea of chocolate wrappers and empty takeout boxes. And why is this? Because eating 1,200 calories a day for months on end, tracking every lick and bite of food in an app and being afraid to have even a taste of dessert is not sustainable…even for a monk! Have you ever noticed that when someone says you can’t do something, it makes you want to do it even more? The moment a food or drink becomes “bad,” the more you think about it and crave it. So what’s the solution? Finding a happy place where you can enjoy foods that nourish you from the inside out and that make you feel amazing without starvation, FOMO or the word “cheated.” Remember, food is not moral, it is simply a choice and you have the right to choose what will make you feel your best!
Yes, this may seem easier said than done and will take practice, patience and trial and error but it IS possible. For most of my teens and younger adult life I was an obsessive yo-yo dieter who severely restricted my calories and became obsessed with eating “perfectly” … until I would go on vacation and treat it like a free-for-all to eat and drink everything I had missed out on for months before. This mentality of strict dieting followed by binging is miserable because it not only sets you up for constant “cheat days” and the need to “start over” but it’s not a lifestyle that can be maintained.
Just over a week ago I returned from an amazing family trip to Playa del Carmen with my husband, his parents and his 24-year old brother and I wanted to share how I drank margaritas and ate tacos without a single ounce of guilt, weight gain, regret or post vacation dieting!
Have you ever noticed that whenever you have long travel days with meals in airports and exposure to recycled air you get off the plane feeling super bloated, exhausted, and just kind of gross all around? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had one too many trips where I end up feeling like sh*t for the first couple days of the trip so I finally decided to do something about it!
What did I pack in my "bag of tricks"?
Protein powder: I brought a few days worth of my fav Further Food collagen protein powder so that if I couldn’t find any healthy snacks at the airport, I could break out my matcha powder and order some almond milk to make a protein latte. Next time I travel I'm going to buy the Further Food new travel size packets! Collagen is amazing because it keeps you fuller for longer and helps aid in the digestive process which is so important when on-the-go and out of your normal routine. Also, feel free to use my discount code BODYBLISSBYJESS10 for 10% of your order.
Matcha Powder: I packed a week’s worth of organic Matcha powder and bought some almond milk to keep in the hotel room so I could make my own latte’s in the morning and at the airport!
Amazing Grass Green Superfood & Pure Planet Spirulina: I bought individual packs of greens mix and a mini bottle of chocolate mint spirulina (sugar-free) and added it to water before and after each flight and before bed. The combo of supercharged ingredients helped keep my immune system strong and was pretty tasty too.
Probiotics: I brought my new favorite brand, Hyperbioitics which I love because they are completely shelf-stable so you don’t have to worry about keeping refrigerated while you travel. I amped it up and took 3-4 each day to make sure I was breaking down and digesting all of the new foods I was eating and simultaneously keeping everything moving! ;)
Activated Charcoal: This is a natural treatment that traps toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them! I bring the capsules with me and take 2 at night after enjoying alcoholic drinks in the day. It also helps with gas & bloating which are all-too-common when traveling!
Stevia: I always pack my Trader Joe’s dropper bottle of 100% organic stevia! I use it to sweeten my Matcha latte’s and on this trip I knew I was going to add it to tequila and lime juice to make my own low-glycemic margaritas!
Snacks: Not only does packing my own food save $$ but it helps me avoid feeling stuffed and bloated from the over-salted, sugary airport foods! Some of my go-to’s: mixed nuts, avocado with Jillz Crackers (I even bring my own Himalayan salt) and Primal Kitchen Collagen protein bars! I always try to pack snacks with protein + fat so I keep my blood sugar levels stable and stay fuller for longer. I also packed extra snacks in the hotel room just in case we went longer than 5-6 hours between meals or if I felt low on energy!
How did I practice balance in Mexico?
Breakfast: Luckily there was a Walmart close to our hotel, so we did a grocery run and I offered to make everyone a healthy breakfast each morning! I made a few different veggie scramble variations and even threw in some grilled cactus and chili lime seasoning for a little cultural flare (so good). We paired each breakfast with avocado for healthy fats and a little local fruit— mangos, dragonfruit, and kiwis! Starting each morning with a hearty and healthy breakfast kept us away from the myriad of breakfast buffets and gave us the energy we needed to seize the day!
Swimming: One of my rules during vacation is that I refuse to go to a gym with florescent lights so I always try to find an active alternative. As soon as I discovered that the infinity pool near our room was completely empty in the mornings, I made that my daily workout! I got up before everyone else was awake and snuck out of the room for a walk through the resort-surrounded jungle bustling with iguanas and colorful birds and butterflies. The walk was so peaceful and meditative and the swim was absolute perfection. Not only was I proud of myself for swimming laps for the first time since I was on my high school swim team but I reminded myself how much I loved it and have even kept it going since coming back to LA!
Activities: Rather than spend hours hanging on the beach bar swings or at one of the several buffets, I laid out, played pool games, signed up for water aerobics classes with my mother-in-law, played Texas Holdem’ with the fam and went for walks around the grounds. We took a day trip to the Coba Mayan Ruins where we all climbed the 120 steps to the top of the tallest ruin and sweated out any tequila we planned on drinking later! We also went on a catamaran snorkel tour which came with an open bar balanced by a lobster and mixed greens lunch (and a few bites of macaroni salad)! When you immerse yourself in enjoying your surroundings and doing things that take your mind off obsessing about food, you notice how much more you enjoy your vacation!
Tacos & Margaritas: So I’ll just say it… I absolutely love tequila and tacos. But do I have them all the time? No. Did I have them when I was in Mexico? Of course! Did I have them for every meal? Nope! Whenever we were at a restaurant I would look through the menu and if there was a taco plate that really stood out to me I would order it but if not I would get my favorite fresh fish ceviche, a seafood salad or the catch of the day with grilled veggies which was normally so good I craved it for days afterwards! There was a restaurant at our resort that served the most insane lobster tacos on soft purple corn tortillas and I chowed down on them at least three different meals along with guacamole and jicama slices! When it came to margaritas, I learned to order in terrible broken Spanish by saying “margarita con poco azúcar por favor” (a margarita with little sugar please--or at least that's what I thought I was saying) which actually seemed to do the trick quite nicely! I would usually order one of these per day and then stick to tequila sodas with fresh lime juice and a couple drops of stevia from the bottle I packed with me! The key to keeping my blood sugar levels from spiking all over the map was consuming most of my alcohol with a meal paired with a healthy protein and fat. And if that didn’t happen, I just made sure to drink tons of water in-between so I could keep my energy levels up and avoid getting dehydrated. To be honest, I didn’t really have a set of rules for when I would order drinks or when I would eat chips and salsa versus when I'd skip them, I just listened to my body and acted on thoughtful impulse. Because of this, I found that I was SO satisfied for the entire trip and didn’t feel like I either overdid it or missed out on the fun. No one was restricting my choices or placing certain foods into forbidden boxes, so I just ate the foods that I intuitively felt would be the most satisfying and supplemented with lots of healthy, fun activities and an appreciation for the much needed R&R!
At the end of the week, I left Mexico feeling rejuvenated, sun-kissed and calm. Josh and I even allowed ourselves a full day after we got home to just Netflix and Chill and only left the house once for a food run (which included vegan ice-cream)! Neither of us felt guilty for coming back and not working out or going immediately on a diet because we didn’t have a vacation hangover, in fact we felt better than we had in awhile! Goes to show what a little tune-out from social media, emails and a set routine can do for the soul :) I also believe that when you enjoy your meals from a place of happiness and bliss, you remove the stress that can so often cause you to hold on.
So next time you go on vacation with the diet mentality, take a minute to think about how you can use the tools you already have inside of you to make a switch! Trust me, it feels SO much better!