Vacation diaries - Diani
Hi guys! It's been ages since I last wrote. I apologize for my disappearing act, but work got crazy then I went on vacation. Not really vacation, but I went home to Kenya. I'm low-key depressed that I left my sunny country for a snowy, below-freezing location. I may be insane for leaving, but a girl's got to earn her living.
Let's face it, vaycay is a great time to indulge. You're relaxing and de-stressing. You're probably with loved ones. During that period you're really giving no f*cks about your diet and training plan. Coincidentally, I was reading a powerful self-help novel, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: : A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. (Remind me to write a book review of all the powerful self-help style novels I read in 2017.) So yea, I was all sorts of indulging!
So I figured that I’d be in a good place to share some holiday hacks (which, may I add, I mostly didn't apply) for staying fit and healthy through the indulgent season.
My family and I went to Diani, Kenya for about a week during my break. Plenty of Nairobians tend to flock to different parts of Kenya's coast to celebrate the New Year. Picture this: your friends, your family, white sandy beaches, no chores, swimsuits all day, swimsuits all night. Bliss. Oh, and did I mention, plenty of fresh, delicious food? Take me back... sigh
Here's how I attempted to stay in shape during my vacation. And I should mention that I’m writing these points as lessons learned because who am I lying to- my attempts were not as fruitful as I would have liked:
1. Drink plenty of water
This one seems pretty intuitive, but I found myself skimping on water big time in spite of the fact that I was in water swimming all day. It's quite easy to opt for some sugary juices or alcoholic mixed drinks (At any point in time, there was an extremely large bottle of Jameson parked by the poolside, not mine of course, and I mean so large that it had a stand!) Water who? Guys, save yourself the seven-day-long hangover, and drink your water!
2. Eat balanced meals
This one was pretty easy for me to stick to. It's quite easy to opt for non-nutritious meals like cakes and pastries when you're on holiday. I made it a point to eat all three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), daily. I didn't skip my fruits or vegetables, and I ate my protein. The difference was that I allowed myself all sorts of simple carbohydrates that I don't usually eat (rice, pancakes, french fries). After all, I was on holiday. Since I filled up on meals, I wasn't hungry enough to eat snacks or desserts thereafter. So fill up on proper meals!
3. Outdoor activities
Vacation is a great time to participate in outdoor activities. Our villa was located right by a kite-surfing beach. There were a few mornings that I woke early and I went on a morning jog. My parents were especially good at getting in their 10K+ steps daily. I went swimming for hours (ok, so I was mostly floating on my back and flexing on the beach), but I did make sure I did some solid laps. Not to mention the long beach walks on the white, gorgeous sands. The ocean can be quite serene. Also, swimming against the waves is great exercise.
4. Start drinking (alcohol) at a reasonable hour
Ok, so I didn't do this one but it’s a good idea for sure! I started all my mornings off by drinking a liter of water (still much less than the 3-4 liters I get in daily), but I would slowly transition into pool-side alcohol by mid-afternoon. I'd say, focus on drinking water and freshly squeezed juices (if available) before 5 pm. Trust me, it'll save you the inevitable hangover caused by dehydration.
5. Go exploring
The reason why tons of people end up putting on weight on vacation is because they literally sit around eating and drinking all day long. You have nothing better to do with your time than to consume food. Curb this by planning day trips. Wasini island, 1 one hour away from Diani, is a wonderful example of a unique experience, all lumped into a day trip. You get to go snorkeling, see dolphins, take a tour of the small island, and have a delicious seafood lunch. You never know what hidden gems you can run into when you explore.
6. Midnight swims
Thanks to the wonderful weather, I got in quite a few night-time swims. I love night swims because the pool is empty, and you can float on your back and enjoy the stars. A few nights I also attended pool parties thrown by friends. These inevitably resulted in swim races and water fights, and hey, I'm all about burning calories without realizing it!
7. Pack your gym clothes
Since I was on vacation, I didn't want to pressure myself too much into working out. However, there were some mornings where I woke up super early (jetlag), and I didn't want to stay in bed reading. The property on which we stayed had a running track, which I jogged and walked around. I also carried my booty bands and did some glute activation and shaping exercises (check out my blog post on glute activation exercises here).
8. Go dancing
Vacation time is the perfect time to party and have a good time. I went dancing severally with my siblings and friends. Dancing is a great way to exercise and stay in shape. Rather than focusing on binge drinking alcohol on your night out, get on the dance floor and show off your moves!
9. Eat the local cuisine
Since we were by the coast, my family and I made sure that we ate plenty of seafood. Eating locally caught fish was a great idea as it's fresh, delicious and extremely healthy. We also ate lots of coconut foods, using fresh coconuts: coconut rice, coconut curry, and just plain coconut water. The local mangoes and pineapples were sweeter than candy. I'd say, take advantage of the local foods in season while you're on vacation.
Numerous studies have linked being overweight or having poor health to lack of sleep and inadequate rest. Think about it - when you're busy working long hours, meeting deadlines and getting on with the hustles of a busy day, choosing healthy food and making sure your exercise often takes a back seat. Vacation time is a great time to catch up on sleep and reset your body. Chances are when you're well-rested and rejuvenated, you'll be more likely to make healthy choices for your body.
Since vacation doesn't last too long, remember to be present and enjoy enjoying yourself. When you get back to your normal life, don't waste time to get back on your fitness routine. I'm sure you'll bounce back!
Here's a link to the gorgeous villa my family and I stayed at.