Last week I was on vacation, on a river cruise along the Rhine in Europe. It was wonderful, and I will be sharing snippets and the best of my iPhone photos in upcoming posts (I already shared pictures from the chocolate museum in Cologne). For today’s post, though, I thought I’d write about my diet and exercise routine on vacation, or, more honestly, my lack thereof!
I went into the cruise with no illusions of counting calories or getting in a normal workout. I was going to Europe for the vacation of a lifetime (at least according to my bank account) and planned to enjoy the food. The small ship had no fitness center, and I left my running shoes at home. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of food I would be faced with, or how easily I slid into a “lazy” schedule.
(Our ship, the Viking Helvetia docked at Cologne on a cloudy morning)
Breakfast was the same everyday: an all-you-can-eat buffet with selections from around the world. I mostly stuck with a small serving of muesli with fresh berries, 2 slices of “crispy” bacon (as opposed to the nearly-raw bacon the Brits eat!), and a slice of whole grain bread with a slice of cheese and cucumbers. If there was a mini chocolate croissant to be found, I often had one of those as well. Later in the week I had oatmeal instead of muesli and skipped the bacon. On the last day, before our 5:00 debarkment, my son brought me one last mini chocolate croissant–and it was warm!
If we were on board, there usually were two options for lunch: a “cafe” lunch with a selection of salads and sandwich fixings or a full lunch in the dining room. My son usually wanted the full lunch, which meant a salad bar, soup, entree and dessert.
Dinner was similar to the full lunch, but with an added appetizer course, so we were served an appetizer, soup, entree and dessert.
I wish I could tell you that I skipped the desserts, or only had dessert at dinner, but that’s not what happened. I pretty much ate whatever was put in front of me, although I did eat slowly, savoring each bite! And yes, the portions were small compared to U.S. standards, but they still add up over several courses!
Towards the end of the trip, I did start to listen my stomach saying “enough!” When my husband and son enjoyed Nutella crepes from a vendor in Colmar on our last day, I really did not want even a taste. Still, later that night I enjoyed all five courses of the Captain’s Dinner, including the after-dessert (which was baked Alaska) chocolate confections!
(The Captain’s toast in the lounge before the Captain’s Dinner on the last night)
For exercise, I relied on the guided walking tours and our own walks exploring different cities. Yes, we were out walking for 4-6 hours a day, but it was at a leisurely pace and involved many stops. I’m not sure my heart rate ever got elevated, although we did climb a number of stairs in old castles.
So, what was the fall-out of my vacation free-for-all? I braved the scale this morning and may have escaped with only a one pound penalty (in my experience the scale sometimes can have a delayed reaction so there may still be a higher price to pay) and my jeans still seem to fit although I don’t think I can blame the dryer for their snugness.
Most importantly, I am jumping back into my normal healthy routine. I started my day with a chocolate protein shake and a 6 mile run, and had my usual breakfast of an Eggbeaters® omellette (1/2 cup Eggbeaters®, 1 egg white, a bit of cheese, and shredded zucchini) and whole wheat toast. Once I finish enjoying my coffee, I will make sure I drink plenty of water to help *flush* out my system.
Have you taken a vacation from your healthy habits?
What did you do to get back on track?