Margaritas, gelato and a healthy getaway.

Surprised that these things can go together? I would've been too in years past. Thanks to a better understanding of how my body uses food, I've been able to loosen up the reigns to include some fun items without the dreaded vacation weight gain or unnecessary guilt! 

After years of self-experimenting and learning to listen to my body, I've settled into a balance of macronutrients that meets my individual needs and I know what to tweak when changing body composition (not there yet/lost? I got you!). While I enjoy eating healthy, whole foods on a regular basis because they make me feel my best, you had better believe I love my fair share of "splurge" items as well.  There isn't a single thing more satisfying on a hot day than a freshly made margarita on the rocks, "fancy" breakfast carbs are so fun, and anything ice cream related will always be a go. Here's how I made this work on last weekend's Catalina trip!

Friday evening - had a balanced meal at home before hopping on the Catalina Express in Long Beach. Expert tip: don't book a boat ride in the dark on a VERY windy evening and expect not to get sea sick. No joke, everyone around us was throwing up. It was horrible. I'm not sure how I made it without tossing my cookies but somehow, I did. Victory. 

We didn't get in until 10ish so we walked down to a bar to grab a glass of wine, listen to some live music and kick off the weekend! 

Saturday morning - we woke up early and grabbed a pre-hike breakfast. I ordered my favorite vacation breakfast: smoked salmon bagel! I've talked before about how I generally stay away from lots of bread in one sitting but I knew we were going for a long hike after and could use the extra carb. Plus, the smoked salmon tasted SO fresh I'm just going to assume the caught it on the island and smoked it in house.

(Imagine a beautiful image here -I forgot to take a picture of the very first meal. Off to a great start!)

One of the best things you can do if, like me, you want some carb-heavier foods on vacation is to stay active! We hiked and explored, accumulating about 20k steps by noon! 



Lunch was this amazing salad from Cafe Metropole. On vacation I aim to have at least one "green" (salad/veggie based) meal each day. It makes me feel great, gives me nutrients and leaves me some more carb to use later in the day. 


In the afternoon after I recovered from a bizarre allergy attack in which I made a scene and almost made Kev call an ambulance (he is convinced I freaked myself out and had a panic attack, but I'm still thinking there was something weird I inhaled) we grabbed some margaritas with a view! 

I was super hungry (compliments of the sugar high and crash from those margs) when we got back to our room to get ready for dinner so I snacked on some of the chicken jerky we brought because I was feeling a little low on protein for the day. 

This dinner was EVERYTHING. This place catches it's seafood daily on it's own boat. I was in seafood heaven. We split some oysters and then I had the seafood kabobs with mashed potatoes. Also red wine, of course. I always make sure my meals have ample protein to keep me full and ideally some veggies although this meal fell a little short in that category. Protein: shrimp/scallops/oysters, Veggies: a few bell peppers on the kabob, Carb: mashed potatoes and wine, Fats: there was for SURE butter on those potatoes and I'm not mad about it. I was already planning some ice cream for after dinner so I intentionally focused on protein here and stayed relatively light on fats and carbs. 

Later that night we got gelato and walked around the main street by the beach. I love me some ice cream and when I have it I want it to be the best. I had been eyeing this place since we arrived because they make their own gelato in house and it was 100% worth it! Mine was some sort of salted caramel variation - almost forgot to take a picture it was so good! 

On our last day we started off the morning at a breakfast spot known for its pancakes and french toast. I knew I wanted that french toast so I ate one slice and chose to pair it with scrambled eggs and bacon to balance it out (french toast on its own would keep me full for all of about 4 minutes). Since I wasn't viewing this as a "cheat meal" I didn't feel like I needed to scarf the whole thing down. Back when I was so focused on clean eating, if I ever veered off track with something like french toast I would eat the whole thing regardless of hunger, thinking I had to enjoy it while I could because I would be back to clean eating come Monday. Simply changing my mindset to give myself the freedom to have these foods when I want them has totally changed my ability to control portions and just eat what my hunger level dictates at the moment. 

Also - check out those non dairy creamers at the table. I prefer real cream > chemicals any day and they brought me some when I asked - don't be afraid to ask for what you need! 

Also - check out those non dairy creamers at the table. I prefer real cream > chemicals any day and they brought me some when I asked - don't be afraid to ask for what you need! 

We followed this big 'ol breakfast with another 15k step trek around the island. We didn't hike a trail, instead we wandered up and down the hilly streets dreaming of owning one of those gorgeous mansions one day! 

The last lunch of the trip was another hefty dose of amazing seafood before we left the island! An arugula salad topped with fresh salmon, cucs and tomatoes and some honey mustard-ish dressing that I need to make a note to recreate. 

We grabbed coffee from this cute shop called Ben's Bakery (named after a famous seal named Ben) and brought it on the boat back to the motherland (I kept feeling like we were in a different country). I had a kirkland's protein bar (you can see them on this post) with it that we packed for the trip. 

This trip was rejuvenating! It was SUCH a relaxing weekend with lots of outdoor time, no traffic and very limited phone service. Once we got home it was just business as usual. No post vacation detox, no ramping up the workouts to "burn off" the splurges, no weight gained, no guilt, just great memories! 

A few tips to help make your next vacay guiltless:

  • stay active to help your muscles put those fun foods to use
  • aim to have at least one "green" meal a day 
  • always prioritize protein at your meals and try to sneak some veggies in too, where you can 
  • stay hydrated! This wasn't pictured but we drank a TON of water to keep up with all the hiking in the heat 
  • if there's something you know you want (i.e. gelato) plan for it (choosing a dinner that is a little lighter, but still satisfying and with ample protein)
  • check in with your level of hunger before and during your meals and eat accordingly. Trust your body to tell you what it needs.  
  • most importantly, relax and enjoy yourself! 


Thanks for reading! 

xo Kaely