Vacation Survival Tips from the Griswalds

IMG_6072As I wrote this blog I was enjoying the views offered by eastern Canada while knocking ‘Family RV Road Trip’ off my bucket list :).  This summer we had the great fortune to be able to experience an amazing family vacation in a 32 ft moving home and what a wonderful adventure and social experience it was!

I have to say I did have a few fears and reservations as us Griswalds pulled out of the driveway that August morning (with more than a couple of neighbours watching) hence I refer to this vacation not only as an adventure but as a  ‘social experience’ as well.

Understand my spouse and kids are quite large. They range in height from 5’9 to 6’5 and in shoes from size 10 (much to my daughters horror when she reached grade 6) to size 13.  Not a big deal if they each brought just a pair of flip flops or two but it’s the ‘size of a small dog’ hiking boots that nearly killed me (literally).  And speaking of pet dogs we also brought along Wally our beloved 12 year old pooch. No not because we love him so much we couldn’t bear to leave him behind but because he is blind, deaf and has a touch of dementia…his daily cocktail of liquid Gravol and Benadryl managed to keep ALL of us in a much calmer state (and yes we do love him very much :)).

We had many many laughs and made some unforgettable memories while cohabiting amicably in a very very very did I mention very small space for nearly two weeks.

So there were two things that my husband and I noticed were surprisingly easy to be ‘good’ at while away:  food choices and exercise…something we all assumed would be a real challenge.

When looking at the food choices it was really a factor of two things. First off, living with a two burner stove top and barbecue didn’t allow for Martha Stewartesque meals (not that I roll that way anyway), and second it’s really hard to go through a drive-thru or find a parking spot at a nice restaurant in a 32 footer.   Now don’t get me wrong we ate well and we ate often but it was a lot of good healthy food and not in huge quantities: chicken, steak, salads, chips (we ain’t saints), veggies, fish, fruit, lobster poutine (we visited the east coast and did I mention we ain’t saints…OMG…worth every single calorie and dare I say possibly better than…chips 🙂 what did you think I was referring to?!).

As for the ‘exercise’ it was all in the form of fun stuff: hiking together, swimming together, cycling together.  The part that made it fun and not seem the least bit like the dreaded ‘exercise’ is that #1: it’s stuff we like to do and #2: we were doing it together.  It’s amazing how much more enjoyable and how much less a chore exercise is when you are doing something you like to do and doing it with someone you like to be with.

Many of my patients will express fear when they talk about going on holiday. Some will even ask for (and be denied!) a fill prior to going away so they ‘don’t eat too much’ (subject for another blog because as we ALL know a fill won’t stop oneself from over eating). So often “vacation” spells ‘over-eating and over-relaxing’ but it doesn’t have to.

For as many patients who express fear at the thought of potential vacation weight gain, I would say at least twice as many are thrilled to realize it just doesn’t happen.  They find that they maintain, and quite often even lose a pound or two while away.  The patients who experience this are the ones who are using their bands as the tools they are meant to be, and have made the necessary lifestyle changes that go with health and weight loss.  That is to say, they are (whether consciously or unconsciously) following Dr. O’Briens 8 word mantra of  “Eat a Small Amount of Good Food Slowly”, and they are looking at activity not as ‘exercise’ and a chore but as doing something enjoyable and pleasurable to do.

As we always say, the band doesn’t give you a day off. Life with the band means small portions of healthy solid food that are chewed well and eaten slowly.  Health and weight loss means choosing the right foods most of the time (none of us are perfect, a bit more poutine please…) in the right amounts, listening to your body and living as active a lifestyle as possible.  Yes it can mean sacrifice as in limiting the extra calories, saying ‘no thanks’ (when what you really want to say is ‘bring it on’) and perhaps taking the dog for that walk rather than coercing the kids to do it…but the pay off is HUGE as any person who is successful at weight loss will tell you.  If you are finding that the activity part of living a healthy lifestyle is difficult perhaps consider changing up your routine, finding something you really enjoy, and/or finding a buddy to workout with…it can make all the difference in the world.

Now as I was writing all of this I had to laugh. I had been keeping a travel journal to chronicle our happy family adventure.  One morning as I went to write about the previous days’ activities I discovered that my dear sweet darling daughter Maggie had taken it upon herself to steal my journal and make her own touching addition. Let me share:

“Every morning we are woken promptly at 5:30 (she is such a liar!!  I never got the brats up before 7) by a shrill ‘YOU DON’T WANT TO WASTE THE DAY!’ (Ok I have been known to say that…) as she rips us from our cozy slumbers and shoves our boots on our feet thus beginning our daily morning march”.

Ahhh the memories :):)

Yours in Health and Happiness,


About BodyWell Fitness

I am a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, and Lapband Education Coach. I have worked since 2005 with the obese population and over 5000 lapband/gastric banded patients helping them to understand life with a gastric band, eat well, lose weight, get physically and mentally fit, become healthy and stay motivated. It is my goal to provide information, share knowledge and motivate people to help them reach their hopes and dreams.
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