Tips to Stay Healthy and Track Your Health Goals on Vacation

Catherine F. Wagner 

It has been a year of “pivots”, not only at work and at home, but also at our health and the way we take care of ourselves. Whether you have developed a new meditation routine, learned to bake all imaginable breads, stopped exercising when gyms are closed, changed your eating habits, developed a new love for spinning at home, lost weight, gained weight or haven’t put on real pants for months, it’s safe to say that it’s also safe to say that we all deserve a Break. Many people are finally feeling comfortable enough to go on vacation, which is a step towards better health. Now it’s time to familiarize yourself with airport labels, snacks on the road and packaging strategies. It can also be useful to remember how to maintain the healthy habits you have developed or cultivate new ones while you are away (there is often no better time!). Here are some of my top tips for maintaining and/or maintaining healthy habits during the holidays.

Eating regularly

Holidays often have irregular schedules and a lack of Routine, and although this is part of what makes the holidays so enjoyable, it can harm some health habits. Skipping meals, whether it’s a conscious restriction or an oversight, and the lack of adequate snacks is something I often see in clients. This can lead to a variety of difficult situations, from overeating and bloating to constipation, lack of energy and starting up. I generally recommend not going more than 3-4 hours without eating and having snacks if necessary. Take a look at your itinerary and plan Restaurants or Casual Dining when you are on the road and avoid ending up with a clingy (and hungry) person!) Situation. Stocking up on portable snacks like squeezable nut butter bags, granola bars, and student food before the trip can be very helpful in keeping the “hanger” at bay. A stop at a grocery store to buy fresh fruit, yogurt sticks and cheese can also change the situation. If you limit or deprive yourself during meals, know that you have permission to enjoy any meal, whether on vacation or in the comfort of your own home (and if you are struggling, working with an experienced professional dietitian can help you!).


With the changes in schedule and Routine, we forget to drink, that is, to drink water. Dehydration can occur quickly, especially in warmer climates, and a hydration program is a top priority. In addition to causing headaches and sluggishness, dehydration can help the digestive system and cause significant discomfort. Get a large bottle of water before boarding your flight and drink often, as the flight can also be dry, and do the same when you arrive at your destination so that your hotel room or rental is filled with liquids. Bring a reusable water bottle along the way that you can refill while you explore and play tourist. If you get soaked, try alternating glasses of water with the Cocktail of your choice.


Whether you started a new workout routine in your forties or want to start one now, the holidays are the perfect time to exercise in an enjoyable way. Enjoy new hiking trails, running tracks (one of the best ways to see a new city!), gyms and swimming pools can invigorate your affinity for a certain form of exercise or help you cultivate a completely new one. Self-guided hikes can also be a fun way to discover a new place and make a ton of stops there without having to stick to a strict schedule. A short break can also give you time to think about what you want your workout routine to look like when you get home. I always encourage clients to be realistic about how they plan exercise and really focus on the activities they enjoy. This is the best way to do something and stick to it.


Wanting to do everything on vacation can be tempting, but don’t forget one of the best parts of your absence: rest and relaxation! Your body and mind recharge while you sleep, and an extra hour or two when you don’t have appointments, meetings, cancellations or other obligations can do wonders. Resting your body in another way, such as not exercising when you have done difficult exercises at home, can help your muscles recover and feel fresh when you get back to things. Relaxing on a beach chair with a good book most of the day cannot be underestimated.

Final result

Although the holidays are the perfect time to focus on your health and well-being, the most important factor of all holidays is of course the fun. If that means giving up your diet or exercise routine, do it. Having fun is a healthy behavior, just like eating right, exercising and sleeping well, and it can (and should) be part of any wellness routine.


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Catherine F. Wagner 

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