Staying Healthy + Whole on Vacation w/ Alisa

Hey gals, I invited my friend (and wisdom giver) Alisa Keeton to share some tips to staying healthy while on vacation. Read on - you'll get more than you bargained for in the best ways. - Jessi 

Hi Friends.

I am going to take the liberty of calling you my friends, because my passion and prayer for everyone with breath is to be whole and live whole. There’s a good chance we all agree that we only feel whole in the presence of God. This means we share the same garden space together. We’re “garden friends”!

I get the joy of sharing with you some ideas, a holy battle plan, for staying healthy and whole (heart, mind, soul, and strength) during the summer vacation season. Before I get started, allow me to set the precedent that health and wholeness can not be defined by a number or confined to one particular healthy lifestyle or ritual. Some will eat meat. Some will not. Some will dance. Some will play sports. There’s so much diversity in health and wholeness because it’s a path that each person must walk, individually, with God. God is peace. God is shalom. God is whole. He is not broken. Our daily walk with Him, our daily bread from Him, will create different kinds of shapes and sizes – a stunning mosaic of light and freedom.

The Gospel message is a story of wholeness - God taking broken things and putting them back together, from soul to skin. He puts us back together. Cracks and all. Then to top it off…He calls us beautiful. 

“There is no flaw in you”.  - Song of Solomon 4:7

So…whether you are already practicing living a healthy life, from soul to skin, or you are feeling the tug to get started, vacation might just be the perfect time to set yourself right.

All of God’s people are marked by joy and rest. They are full people, even when they are hungry. They make a choice to sleep as the waves are crashing. Joy and rest can also be thought of as our “work-to-rest ratio”. The work-to-rest ratio is a fitness concept. The body responds well to work and even grows under tension, just as our souls enlarge and respond well to work, when it is work we were created to do. But the body (just like our soul) will hit a glass ceiling at some point. In order to keep this from being a catabolic (breaking down) process and more of an anabolic (breaking through) process, adequate rest is necessary. The joy of work is propelled and increased as we adequately rest.

Vacations are holy and necessary. So what could health & wholeness look like on vacation?

Below are some thoughts to keep in mind when on vacation in order to keep yourself from unnecessary, obsessive worry about weight gain and to keep yourself from going off the rails into the land of excess and regrets.

1.   ABBA FIRST - Don’t forget the One who wants to vacation with you. The one who makes vacation possible. We humans are pleasure seekers. We find a little bit of pleasure and we are quick to forget God. Just read through Deuteronomy 8 if you aren’t convinced. Make it your desire to find God on your vacation. To hear from Him. To be with Him. To eat with Him. To move with Him. To explore with Him. To rest with Him. If you do this well, you will be whole, and come home more refreshed than you have ever been. Seriously…if you do this…you won’t even need the remaining points. (For those of you participating in the Abide Journal…this should all sound really familiar.)

2.   ACTIVE REST - Good News! If you have been on a consistent fitness regime (4-6 days of at least 30 minutes of activity) for 12 weeks or greater, it’s time for you to actively REST! Yup…this is where that work-to-rest ratio comes into play. Your body needs rest. Listen to me…listen closely...your body will actually benefit from easy and light activity for up to seven days. This means no excessive working out. No heavy breathing. No lactic acid build up (you know...that burning in your thighs and lungs feeling) within those seven days. Think of it as a “one step back to take two steps forward,” process. So go ahead. Get a little bit of movement in each day. Take a walk. Take in your new surroundings. Put exercise on the back burner for a week and make it more about embracing your activity for daily life. Warning: When that voice inside your head accuses you with “You’re getting fat! Don’t you feel fluffy?” , tell it to go back where it came from. You are standing on holy ground.

3.   AN AWAKENING - For those of you who honestly can’t classify yourselves in the “active” category, Good News awaits you, too! You are set up for the perfect time to awaken. As stated above, new surroundings and great weather make for a good time to get moving. Instead of driving to nearby sites, could you walk to a destination or two? What nature sights are close to explore? It’s not out of the ordinary for some people to actually lose weight on vacation because they are actively taking in the sites. Vacation could be a great way to kick-start your wholeness lifestyle. Warning: You are going to need to recognize when the lie, “You’re too out of shape for that! That would hurt too much,” comes for you. God wants to explore with you. If you practice point number one, Abba first, then I can promise you God is going to ask you to go somewhere with Him. BE ready when he does and say, “Yes Dad, I believe I will.”

4.   FOOD

·      Don’t skip a meal so you can pig-out later. That’s just silly.

·      Keep healthy snacks around: almonds, apples, peanut butter, trail mix (palm-size serving), hummus dip.

·      Vacation fun! (This is something I only do on vacation.) If you eat consistently and well (real food, not fried or processed, in adequate portion sizes) for two meals, on the third meal of the day you can indulge a little. (Note...a little.) Perhaps you have fries instead of salad as your side. Or a hamburger with salad instead of fish with salad.

·      ENJOY! Pick a day of the week that you are going to enjoy one great meal. No regrets. Order what you want. You make no concessions. And do it all the glory of God! But here’s the deal…you will only be able to do this all to the glory of God if you practiced a holy self-control by applying some of the above steps, or your own process that God asked you to follow. Doing things “to the glory of God” is only found inside obedience.

5.   DRINK
·      Alcohol. Be careful. Alcohol is processed in the body like lard. (I’m just saying.) When alcohol is present in the blood stream it gets first priority, which means the rest of your calories go on reserve. Alcohol metabolizes like butter. It’s a slow burn. And it’s a quick way to put on extra, unwanted weight, and to have a potential hangover and feel like crud the next day. If you are going to have alcohol, enjoy lightly. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, and only indulge if YOU get to “have” the alcohol, and at no time the alcohol gets to “have” you.
·      WATER! Drink plenty! More water and fewer colored drinks.

6. REST - Don’t feel guilty about sleeping in, napping, or resting. Vacation is the perfect time to lower your cortisol levels (linked to belly fat) and get the rest your body and soul so desperately needs. It’s the perfect time to reset into wholeness.

There you have it. Your mission: “Vacation GET TO!”

God’s people are marked by their joy (their work, their “get to”) and their ability to rest. Let us take our cues from Hebrews 4:11 - “So let's keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.”

Before I go, I would LOVE to GET TO train you longer. It’s my “get to” to encourage you to love God, get healthy, be whole, and love others.  Please check out our programs at

SPECIAL OFFER: Anyone who signs up for VIP-TV, our $10/month, online, at-home, workout and wellness subscription service, and enters the code “NTD” upon checkout, will be entered to win a free one-year subscription to VIP-TV, as well as our Weigh Less to Feed More, 8-week bible study and weight-loss program (the same study/program that our girl Jessi went through this past spring), and a one-hour consultation with me, your friend!

Thanks for sharing your garden space time with me.
His love….
Alisa Keeton