40. Save Your Weekend or Vacation With a Daily Dozen List
Welcome to episode 40 of the Mindful Weight Loss Podcast. I am your host and your coach, Emily Erekuff and today I am talking about how to navigate weekends and vacations so that you actually get the most out of them and don't end up feeling afterwards like you've taken giant steps backward in your health or weight loss journey.
Because I'm sure we all know this pattern far too well: You begin to cultivate some new habits and they feel doable and you're feeling successful, you're creating momentum and really believing in yourself and your capacity to follow through and create change ... And then the weekend hits or you take a vacation and those habits fall apart, which at the time isn't a big deal, you have other things to worry about right, you're having fun, but when the weekend or vacation is over and you're back to reality so to speak, you feel like you have to start all over again and most likely you feel like your starting a lot farther behind than you were right before the weekend or the vacation happened.
And that just plain sucks. It sucks to lose that momentum, and if this is a weekend thing vs a vacation thing, then it might more than suck. It might feel like you can't make any traction and that you're forever taking two steps forward and two steps back.
But there is a simple solution, and it's called a Daily Dozen list. And I found from an organizing expert, who goes by Clutterbug on Youtube and I'll link to that video in the show notes if you'd like to watch it. And it's funny because I teach something similar in my program that has some more nuances to it, but I came across this video and I was like, "Hey, this is kind of what I do, except with a way better title." There is just something about that alliteration, and I don't know, "Daily Dozen" just sounds kind of cute.
So, like I said, I'll link to the video if you'd like to watch it, but I'll also explain everything here. And, to avoid confusion, I want to be clear that this Daily Dozen list doesn't have anything to do with food, unless you want it to. The Dr. behind the website nutritionfacts.org has a Daily Dozen list of items he recommends as part of a plant-based diet, but this is not that, and I don't recommend any diet in particular.
This Daily Dozen list is really about small things you can do each day to feel good about yourself. And because 12 things might seem like a lot, ideally most of these are things that are fairly easy for you to do and don't require a big time commitment. The idea isn't to give yourself this to-do list filled with work, so think of these as quick wins instead.
And you can absolutely use a list like this on a daily basis. I do absolutely recommend that, but where I think a list like this can also really shine is to help us through times when we are prone to lose our positive routines. And I think that list might look a little different than a list you might create for the week or for your regular life.
So for example, during the week, I don't really need to make it a goal to stay hydrated. When I am at my desk working I just naturally sip water. That habit is really hard-wired for me. But when the weekend rolls around and especially if we're going places or if I'm on vacation, clearly I'm not at my desk and so I really do have to make an intention to fill up a water bottle, take it with me and drink it or else it will be noon and I'll have had just a cup of coffee and I won't be feeling great. And the combination of being dehydrated and not feeling great is an awesome recipe for overeating.
And so, for me, staying hydrated is at the top of my weekend or vacation list. And I know that drinking water isn't super sexy or fun, but it keeps me feeling good and that's why it's there. If I fail to drink water, the other fun things on my list won't be fun anymore.
And so the way I like to look at this list for the weekend or for vacation is: what's the bare minimum of things I need to do to feel my best so that I can maximize my fun? And yes, I said bare minimum. This isn't about making sure you stick to your workouts or to a particular diet unless that is what feels really good to you and fits with your schedule.
And it's going to change a bit depending on what you have planned. For example, if I'm going on vacation to Disneyland where I'll be doing a lot of walking, I likely won't put any kind of workout on my list, although come to think about it, something like 20 pushups might be a great idea. And by contrast, if I'm going on a vacation to visit family where the main activities are probably chatting, eating and drinking, in that case I probably will put a walk or two on my list because I really need that for my mental health and without my dogs and my normal routine, it's easy to lose that and then feel a little more on edge.
And you know what else puts me on edge? Having zero time for myself. So something else I am likely to put on my list regardless is 30 minutes of quiet time to maybe read, meditate or journal. And so notice that has zero to do with weight loss. Because weight loss isn't the focus of this list, the focus is really on maintaining your routine and minimizing your stress and if you have room to spare, doing something a little extra to make yourself feel good- maybe giving someone a hug or spending five minutes writing a gratitude list.
A good guideline that I've found to work really well for myself is to break the Dozen list into thirds and focus four to-do's on my physical health, four on my mental health, and four on, let's call it my spiritual health. And no matter what I put on my list, I get so much out of the reminder and the intention to take care of myself and to keep myself feeling good especially during times when I'm on vacation and I want to have fun but there is naturally stress of traveling and just not being home and not being in that routine. Just having that intention in the back of my mind brings me a greater sense of peace and ease.
And I hope it does the same for you. I really encourage you to make a list for every day if you are inspired to do so, but particularly if you feel like everything unravels every weekend, or if you have a vacation coming up, give this a try and pay attention to how it improves your experience and how that has a direct impact on how much you eat or how much you crave.
As always, I hope you take really good care of yourself and I will see you next week.
Clutterbug Daily Dozen Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX0f1KUQ-T4