Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

Vacation Thoughts

I just returned from a Spring break trip with my family to the beach. The weather was near perfect. I even went in the water a few times, which is highly unusual for me in April. Below are a few observations from my trip.

Fast Food:

On the long drive down to our beach rental, we stopped to gas up and get a bite to eat. I held out for an exit with both a gas station and a Wendy's restaurant. Don't Judge! Sometimes in the middle of nowhere on Route 95 at 9pm there are no other options besides fast food and gas station snacks. I chose Wendy's because they have very edible salads (I am partial to the apple pecan chicken salad). Of course, this Wendy's was out of salads at the time of our visit. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich which I ended up eating about 2/3 of in the car. It was edible but not great and certainly not an award winning start to my vacation diet. However, when I am on a road trip, I don't sweat my diet too much. I try to take some healthy snacks along (fruit, nuts, etc.) and make decent choices when I stop for food, but one or two fast food meals will not make or break me.

People Watching:

We spent three beautiful days hanging out on the beach, mostly reading, walking, and taking in the view. I was very encouraged by how many people were out walking the beach from very early in the morning until well past sundown. There were also many groups of (mostly young) people playing soccer, football, and various beach games. However, I would say that at least half of the people I saw over the course of our mini-week were significantly overweight. And the overweight people tended to congregate together. There are several reasons for this. Obviously, genetics plays a factor within families. However, I was reminded of some studies I read about several years back which concluded that one significant predictor of obesity and type II diabetes was spending time with other overweight and obese people. The company we keep can actually make us fat. This can be due to similar diets, an acceptance of unhealthy body weights and practices, and other psychological reasons.

Working out while on Vacation:

I saw several gyms inside hotels as well as commercial gyms in town. My advice to anyone thinking of working out while on vacation - Don't! You should run away as fast as possible from anything resembling a gym at the beach or any other vacation spot. Why? First, the equipment is usually terrible - poor quality, poorly maintained, and different settings and sizes than you use at home. Second, you are on vacation to relax and rejuvenate. You can actually do more good for you body by not doing a hard workout using unfamiliar equipment. Third, most vacation spots have countless recreational opportunities. Our beach area had great walking, body surfing, golf, biking, tennis and more. While it may not be the most intense and effective exercise, all these actvities are fun and invigorating. Trust me, your muscles will not atrophy from a week or two missing your workout!

Posted April 21, 2017 by Tim Rankin