Thoughts On “Getting Back On Track” After Vacation

It’s only been a week since we got back home from vacation, and we’ve gone through two bunches of bananas already.

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I didn’t ask a question, but thanks for the answer anyway, Madre 🙂

Last week was as great a week of work as any could have been after vacation. I am so grateful for wonderful coworkers and mentors who make my job so enjoyable.

Let’s talk about “getting back on track” after a vacation.

After having three (or five) course meals for dinner every night on the cruise and heavier-than-normal breakfasts every morning, I was looking forward to a little bit of a break from endless food (although, I definitely chose to indulge in more food on the cruise). You could say that I was looking forward to “getting back on track”.

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my first meal back at home was classic avocado egg toast

But when I think of “getting back on track”, the first things that I’m tempted to do are:

  • Cut out all desserts for the next month.
  • Eat “clean” (whatever the heck that means) 100% of the time for the next month.
  • Compensate for the amount I ate on vacation by cutting down the amount/density/volume of food I eat.
  • Be strict about exercising and doing the “right” kind of exercise to maximize calorie burn.

Hear me out: These are just the first things that pop into my mind when I get back home. However, I’ve learned that this kind of absolutist mindset does me a huge disservice, and it stresses me out more than anything, which I don’t need for my digestive health or overall health.

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Pop and I went out to dinner the night we got back because we didn’t have any groceries yet // vegetable bibimbap + Kalbi beef short ribs to share

I definitely did NOT eat “clean” 100% of the time before the vacation, so why do I need to change anything after vacation? I’m still working, exercising, doing my activities of daily living, etc. Those still require fuel. I also often like to eat something sweet after a long day of work, so I don’t really want to deprive myself of that.

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still lots of sweet breakfasts (that sometimes had ADDED sugars in them *gasp*)

This doesn’t mean that I still want a three course meal with a decadent dessert every night. All I wanted was dried figs (which have quite a lot of sugar in them, even if it’s natural sugar) with Greek yogurt for a few nights last week, so that’s what I had.

Other days, I did still have some not-as-natural sugars. Like a slice of homemade banana bread at work, a Reese’s egg…also from work, and this snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich for National Ice Cream Day.

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You might be thinking, “Sure, Alison. But what if I actually gained a lot of weight on vacation?”

Well, I am in agreement with many wise RDs (like Robyn!) and healthy living bloggers; without too much thought, our bodies tend to naturally shift back to our happy weight. You’re going to be hitting your regular workouts again, which I presume worked well for you before vacation. You’re going to be back to your own kitchen, and you’re not going to have access to as much food as on vacation anyway.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with consciously and deliberately eating healthier and/or lighter foods after vacation. I just don’t think it’s helpful to shift to any kind of extreme “cleanse” mode. 

You went on vacation to get away from everyday routine for a little bit. Let yourself enjoy that during the vacation, but don’t let it haunt you after the vacation.

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spicy honey chicken thighs (based on this recipe) + roasted green beans for a dinner last week ➔ this was SO GOOD!

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turkey quinoa taco bake with avocado and cilantro (and Greek yogurt added post-photo) based on this recipe for another night ➔ this was ALSO SO GOOD

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avocado egg toast + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

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hunk o’ asiago sourdough

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quinoa with teriyaki chicken thighs + chicken spinach sausage + sautéed green beans a la Madre

It’s nice to be back in the kitchen to make our own nutritious food, but it was nice that none of us felt the need to eat oil-less, dry chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and brown rice every day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s kind of sad if you feel like you need to do that as “recompense”. I know I used to feel that way.

If you do want to “get back on track,” maybe focus more on the quality and nutrients of your food rather than the calories or amount. Eat what you know you need and what you know makes you feel genuinely good, whether that’s kale or chocolate cake. Treat Trust yoself.

Needless to say, I still indulged in some sweets and rich foods this week. For the most part though, I’ve been eating foods that I normally love, which are generally nutritious and delicious. As for workouts, those have also been the same (a post about my workouts is coming soon!).

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I got Ben on the overnight oats train *high fives*

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lots of perfect cado-avos

My family even decided to go out for a rather fancy dinner on Saturday night after Mass. We were planning on using a Groupon (of course) at a Thai restaurant, but it was closed. Thus, we were diverted to a nice Greek restaurant called MP Taverna that we had been wanting to try for a while.

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three dips to share // chickpea (with some extraordinary spices), eggplant, and cucumber yogurt

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“dumplings”: basically the fluffiest ricotta gnocchi you can imagine in a tomato-based sauce with spinach, lamb sausage, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and feta #dead

Hooray for family time and outdoor lighting! 🙂

Yesterday I hung out with my good friend Joe from college in the city! We celebrated National Ice Cream Day with ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery on High Line.

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We ate lunch after dessert, which is extra acceptable on National Ice Cream Day. Joe actually suggested salads, which was shocking but welcomed.

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I think there were tomatoes, roasted red peppers, broccoli, beets and brussels sprouts in there with creamy sriracha dressing

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you literally asked for it, Joe

It was so good catching up with him and walking around, despite the fact that we were being slow-cooked by the NYC heat.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Eat foods that are fluffy, cheesy, creamy, and spicy this week. Report back on Friday.

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation?

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

Two things you did this weekend!

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24 thoughts on “Thoughts On “Getting Back On Track” After Vacation

  1. Yes to all of this. When I was on vacation, I ate a whole lotta sweet potato fries, some big excellent breakfasts, and doughnuts. My mom and I enjoyed evenings hanging out and eating chocolate together. It was all fun and delicious. And then I came home and started eating my normal fun and delicious food. I like healthy food and spending time in the kitchen. A break from that is nice, but returning to it is equally nice 🙂
    I regret to say that I didn’t properly celebrate National Ice Cream Day out of sheer laziness (uh, no ice cream in the house), but I pretended with banana “ice cream” smothered in almond butter and chopped macadamia nuts. Just means I’ll have to make up for it sometime! 🙂

  2. I think we live in such a diet obsessed culture we forget how to just relax and take life and food day by day. I know if I’ve had a particularly indulgent weekend, or week for that matter, my mind goes right to more exercise, “cleaner eating”, did I gain weight, etc. It’s definitely a fight to say, “it’s okay”. God created our bodies to enjoy the taste of sugary, fatty foods because that food makes our hearts happy. He also wants us to take care of our bodies with nutritious food and move them often. It’s just balance, ya know 🙂 Really loved this post though. Your honesty and thoughtfulness is so refreshing.

  3. So much YES to Robyn’s idea about our set points. It was scary at first for me to believe that, but embracing that idea helped my mental health so much. Our bodies are smart, and we should trust them to take care of us! Thanks so much for bringing that up again–I just had a weekend fullllll of dessert and decadent meals, and it’s always nice to have a little reminder to stay on the right track mentally. 🙂

    I did celebrate National Ice Cream Day with some B&J’s non-dairy ice cream, but I forgot to post it on IG, haha! Bad blogger, I am.

  4. What a great post! You’re completely right about the natural shift back to “normal” eating after vacation. You just have to do what makes your body feel best. Glad you had ice cream on national ice cream day too 😉 By the way, all the food from that Greek restaurant looks DELICIOUS!

  5. Totally agree with your mindset on this Alison! I think having the all or nothing mindset really gets you no where. And I am always loving what Robyn says in regards to food, body image, and weight- she is so wise. Her and Kylie from immaeatthat are my favorite dietitians!

  6. As always, I loved hearing your thoughts and perspective on this. After I’ve gone through days of indulgence, I look forward to eating healthy and NOT eating desserts/alcohol for a little while. My body seems to stay at the same ‘happy weight’ whether I’m eating super clean or treating myself here and there. I trust it knows what it’s doing!

  7. I definitely have the same all or nothing mindset. It’s so hard for me to be flexible and to find a balance and it’s frustrating when I have to battle my dogged mentality. I just try to eat as intuitively as possible and not worry too much about meal timing, food combining, etc., NEVER about calories and macros either, but I make sure to eat clean before I can have the not-so-clean foods 🙂 you are absolutely right!
    However, I can see that your food is SUPER healthy, so you had nothing to worry about to begin with! Plus your meals look delicious! The sweet breakfasts, honey chicken thighs, the taco bake, you’re making my mouth water!

  8. Can I hug you friend? The back on track absolutist mindset has plagued me way too much, and now I don’t really think of vacation as much different from being at home. My body usually craves different food, but it seems like God made our bodies so smart. We don’t have to jam them into a way of eating that is torturous. They just naturally go for what they need at the moment; it’s really so incredible. AND all those breakfasts and lunches and snacks and oil and butter and delicious goodness is making me want to just get you to teach me how to cook.

  9. Sometimes I think we are the same person, actually most of the time…. you couldn’t have said it better: why enter crazy cleanse mode and eat ‘super clean’ after vacation if you didn’t do that before! For me personally doing extreme things like that in the end leaves me ‘further off track’ than if I just went back to my normal ways. I also LOLed and highly appreciated the treat yoself crossed to trust yoself that may be my new fave thing. OH and hi to all the yummy food and your pretty face.

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  11. Love this love this love this! I’m currently on a visit back home to the Philippines. It has been two days and it’s already been challenging to not be able to control every single thing I eat. That plus the whole jet lag thing has screwed with my body clock–including my stomach! Definitely missing my nutbutters though đŸ˜„
    Rather than focus on the food, I’ve been and really focus on listening to my hunger cues and cherish every meal–every moment–I get with my friends and family. These things are a bajillion times more important than how skinny my waist is.

    Last weekend I… gardened, volunteered at the animal shelter again, and procrastinated packing!

  12. Alison, in my eyes, you are completely recovered. I know I don’t know you in real life and I see what you post on the blog only, but my goodness, you are continually my inspiration. I love seeing how much fun you had on the cruise, without worrying about calories or how much food you ate. You took full advantage of the vacation and I admire that so much. I know I did a fantastic job in Spain, but I know I could do better too. It makes me all excited to keep working and seeing your posts just renews that work! I love you and your writing so so much.

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