March 30th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Guest Post-Katarina Simons

ace your health books

As Heather is about to embark on her vacation and I’m just nearing the end of mine, I feel compelled to comment on vacation dining. Fairly consistently all my knowledge and discipline seem to go out the tail end of the plane. As soon as I’ve touched down, I find myself living hand to mouth, that’s cocktail or nacho. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were only now and again but it’s the ubiquitous presence of all these tasty little calorie bombs that push me over the vacationing belly edge.

I’ll compare two holidays, their dining yin and yang, then my strategies for the calorie burn.

The All Inclusive!

Beware the All Inclusive! For the cooks at home they’re heaven, I’m with you! No food prep, everyone gets to choose, sample the martini list, no dishes, no big bill at the end of a great meal, happy happy *Yang*! But wait!  It’s like eating and drinking at the Mandarin, we eat big, we can’t help it *Yin*! A shrimp yum! mmm try the chicken, another dessert won’t hurt. When was the last time you walked away from one of these meals 3/4 full? (rule of thumb) And that’s three meals a day!

The Calorie burn:

Lucky for us All Inclusives typically have fabulous pools, a great beach to walk/run, a gym,  and exercise classes. Nothing wrong with a little ‘me’ time while you switch off hanging out with the kids, it’s good all around. The calories you burn leave you feeling your sexy best on the beach all day which stokes the fire when the kids are down and out. *wink*

The Condo Rental

We’re just winding down from a wonderful condo rental vacation with my in-laws (VRBO). You’re in control. Feed the family at reasonable cost, meals to suit your liking/restrictions/timetable, you can’t take beverages to the pool (you may think this is a negative, but really, do we want our bellies to keep us afloat?) Every food run is an adventure. You get to meet the locals, see how the locals shop, use the local currency, a small dose of culture.*Yang*! The *Yin*: What you buy at the grocery store. You’re on vacation! It’s treat time! The junk food temptations are so strong! You may not be the only shopper in the family so the variety increases exponentially! We go crazy because we have fridges and pantries!! Look out! Through the eyes into the belly.

The Calorie burn:

For me, I’m so excited to be at my destination that I sometimes wake up before all the others, grab my nordic walking poles and go for a walk/run on the beach or on a safe local path. Beach walking is amazing and by using the poles I’m engaging both my upper and lower body which burns more calories. Remember those tasty mojitos? Try to exercise first thing in the day, the effect will be greater and you don’t have to squeeze it in later. See to see what I’m talking about. Another great calorie burn is to get out and see the local sights. Long walks while chasing little ones around, stairs and hills, and if you’re lucky with healthy snacks in your daypack.

So is the vacation belly worth the fretting? In the big scheme of things if you’re normally disciplined at home and can shed those pounds I don’t think so. Life is fluid, you’re on you’re off. Speaking for myself the combination of food and exercise really affects my hormones which affects my mood. This could be the difference between a good vacation and a great one. I think this is the real issue.

Katarina Simons

Building Balance

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


2 Responses

    Deborah Lamb
    February 24, 2011 at 10:54 pm Reply

    Katarina–great post. I love that you bring your nordic walking poles on vacation. So disciplined of you!

    February 27, 2011 at 10:59 am Reply

    Thanks for the post while I was away! I made sure to swim in the ocean every day I could – when the jellyfish weren’t competing with me for water space. On those days, I swam laps.

    Great post Katarina! Thanks for reminding us how to behave while on vacation.

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