Travel is an amazing experience that clearly, I'm a big fan of. But the other side to this statement is that it also causes us to neglect self-care. Vacation is a time when we over-eat and create amazing memories, not fret about flossing or counting calories. So after living abroad the last 4.5 months, I decided to put together a set of tools to help you reset after overdoing it on holiday. And what better time to talk about being your best self than January- the start of a new year!?
Over the next week, I'll be sharing simple tips to help you get back on track in every department from fitness to beauty. But first, let's address the obvious: nutrition.
Traveling sets the perfect stage for a #cheatmeal. Trust me, I know. Living in Europe means I indulged in my fair share of less than healthy foods: croissants in Paris, gelato in Italy, paella in Spain... need I go on? And in my personal opinion, you should experience those things whilst traveling (YOLO, right?) But we all know that terrible feeling when the magic of the holiday has worn off and suddenly you're back home and your pants don't fit. Snapping back to reality is hard (I write as I'm currently eating chocolate covered caramel candy).
When I decided to extend my time abroad for another 6 weeks, I knew things had to change. I felt borderline sick from all the overeating and the lack of exercise over the last 3 months. I was committed to making my next 6 weeks in London a step in the right direction regarding my health, and I knew it had to start with diet.
The good news is that it didn't take long for me to start feeling like my old self thanks to a few simple steps. So if you too find yourself experiencing those post-holiday-snug-pants-blues, fear not. Here's how to get back on track after vacation:
1. HIT RESET WITH A JUICE CLEANSE: PLENISH
Okay, I'm about to go on a bit of a rant, but I feel that juice cleanses require some explanation. Maybe this is a twisted way of thinking, but I've found it easier to avoid diet mishaps when I can't eat anything. Hear me out for a second. I may wake up and say "I'm going to eat really healthy today!" and make it through the morning with a healthy breakfast. Maybe even lunch. But then come afternoon, I decide to snack on some carrots... which would go great with hummus... and pita chips are great with hummus too... aaaaaannnd suddenly the entire bag is gone. The point is, when I've spent the last however many days letting myself eat whatever sounds good, it's really tricky to catch yourself (or at least to stop yourself) in the act. So without fail, I now do a juice cleanse on my first day back home. Paying for the juice and mentally preparing myself gets me in the right mindset and helps me commit to a healthy decision once instead of having to decide over and over and over every time I walk to the fridge. If you pay for the juice and it's already in your fridge, I find it's a lot easier to stick with the decision rather than sliding down a slippery slope of healthy eating.
But aside from being a convenient, easy way to kick start a detox period and healthy eating plan there are tons of health benefits that made me want to juice. So after researching my endless options, I landed on PLENISH: a prominent juice company in London (that Gwyneth Paltrow named "the best cleanse she tried across the pond). PLENISH was created for people living ultra demanding lives and wanting a healthy, practical way to hit the reset button and restore their health and balance. Devised by nutrition experts, their cold-pressed juices are designed to, well... Plenish.
By consuming raw, organic green juices while eliminating processed sugars, coffee and alcohol, meat and too much cooked food, you assist your system in becoming an oxygen-drenched alkaline one, which will help reduce inflammation and support immunity and health. You're flooding your system with all the vitamins, minerals and phytonurients your body needs (all whilst drinking juices that actually taste lovely). I've done my fair share of juice cleanses and this was by far my favorite one yet (I felt the most satisfied and energized I've ever felt whilst juicing). My favorite flavour? BUILD: featuring nut milk, cashews, vanilla, dates, cinnamon, sea salt and water (it was so filling and tasted like a shake!)
2. PUT THE WINE DOWN AND HYDRATE
This is pretty obvious, but it couldn't be more important to drink lots of water (and for the record, that's coconut water, not a cocktail). It's key to flush out those toxins and help release extra weight and bloat from over-indulgence. Drink tons of water both while you're juicing and while you're eating solid foods. If you need accountability, get a water bottle to carry around and calculate how many you need to drink per day (the general rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces).
And in case you missed that first bit, let me reiterate: put the wine down (all alcohol really). Not only does this combat your goal of re-hydration and getting the deep sleep you need, it also means you're consuming empty calories. Try taking a week off (or at least a few days) for ultimate results. Need to reward yourself for giving up your beloved glass of cabernet? Try buying some fun wine accessories like these gold stemless glasses or these Gilded Rim red wine glasses to treat yourself when you finish your week away.
3. CATCH UP ON SLEEP
If you're like me, vacation hardly means rest. I'm out late getting drinks and up early for adventures, meaning I'm guilty of not getting enough z's. According to research at Uppsala University, people feel hungrier and reach for larger portions when their tired (which you probably already know). So after days of sleep deprivation, you're bound to keep up the over-eating simply due to fatigue. Combat that temptation and catch up on sleep as soon as you get home. As a slave to productivity, I realize this may not be easy. A lot of us prefer to knock out annoyances like unpacking and laundry straight away rather than having it hang over our head. But prioritizing catching up on sleep is the best thing you can do with your time those first couple of days. So make like Sleeping Beauty and tell Snow White she can whistle when you wake up.
4. GROCERY SHOP AND MEAL PREP
This has been clutch for me (especially now that I'm back home in the states). As someone who is always on the go, I need my meals to be convenient -- which means I eat out a lot. Not only does it get expensive, but it gives you little control over what you're actually eating. So finding meals that are healthy and you'll be excited about really is the best way to go (which usually means making it yourself). I realized that it's totally unrealistic for me to cook multiple nights a week, so I've started to make 2 big batches of a couple different dishes, store them in Pyrex (these glass containers are way better than plastic Tupperware), and voilà! I have on the go meals ready for the rest of the week. I realize this is no new discovery and most of you are probably like "Cool, Whit. We've been meal-prepping since like, 2004." But speaking as someone who is rarely home long enough justify going to go to the grocery store, this feels groundbreaking. Regardless of your lifestyle, chances are you'll be home for a bit after a vacation, so find some recipes that a). are healthy and you'll be excited to eat, but also b). are simple enough to shop for and prep.
So there you have it! These 4 simple nutrition tips are a sure-fire way to have you feeling brand new, no matter the damage done on vacation. But stay tuned for even more post-travel remedies on the blog this week... our work here isn't finished just yet.
Thanks to PLENISH for providing me with a wonderful juicing experience and helping me reset after my travels!