Holiday Weight Loss Advice
How to Avoid Weight Gain on Vacation
It is fun to sample new foods and relax while you are on vacation, but doing these things to an extreme level can result in some serious weight gain. If you want to avoid gaining weight on your next vacation, then you will need to pay close attention to what you are eating and how much you are moving. You will also need to find a way to monitor your food intake, exercise, and weight while you are on vacation.
Eating on Vacation
Check menus before you choose restaurants.Checking a restaurant’s menu before you go to the restaurant can help you to make a healthier choice. By looking at the menu ahead of time and deciding on a healthy option, you will be less tempted to go for something unhealthy when you get there.
- You can find most restaurants’ menus online and check out their healthy options before you go.
- Try to avoid fast food restaurants. Instead choose local restaurants that serve locally-sourced meats and produce.
- Try to avoid buffets or places that offer “all you can eat” options.
Ask questions and make requests when you order food.Some restaurants make it easier than others to order healthy meals, such as by listing calorie and fat counts right on the menu. If you are at a restaurant that does not display this info on the menu, then be prepared to ask questions about how the food is cooked and make special requests if necessary.
- Ask what type of oil and how much oil is used to cook foods. You can always request that your food be cooked without oil or with less oil if items are cooked with a lot of oil. Avoid the obvious deep fried foods. Look for foods that are sautéed, or baked or roasted.
- Ask about dressing and other condiments that come with your meal and request that they be left on the side. For example, when ordering a salad, request the dressing on the side. This will make it easier for you to see how much dressing you are using. You can also ask for any "light" options for dressings.
- Ask for a smaller portion. Portion sizes are often super-sized in restaurants, so you may want to ask if a smaller portion is available. If not, then consider splitting an entrée with someone or requesting a box to pack up half of your meal and take it with you.
- Ask about substitutions and special orders. Some restaurants offer options to make their entrees healthier, such as egg whites in place of eggs. You might also be able to request an off-menu meal if there is nothing on the menu that looks healthy. For example, you might order a grilled skinless chicken breast with some steamed veggies.
Moderate alcohol and choose low-calorie alcohol options.Many people like to enjoy cocktails and other alcoholic beverages on vacation, but the calories in these drinks can add up quickly. Drinking too much can also result in lowered inhibitions and you may end up eating more than you normally would. To prevent weight gain due to over-consuming alcohol, choose lower-calorie drink options and limit your intake.
- Stick to wine spritzers, dry white or red wines, light beers, and cocktails made with low- or no-calorie mixers, such as a vodka with club soda and lime.
- Don’t start drinking until after 5pm.Starting early in the day may end up ruining your eating and fitness goals for the day. Try having just one or two drinks with dinner or after dinner instead.
Pack healthy snacks for excursions.While on vacation, you may want to go exploring somewhere with few healthy eating options. To prevent yourself from eating unhealthy foods on these excursions, make sure that you pack some healthy snacks.
- Try filling a cooler with baby carrots, hummus, and low-fat cheese sticks. Or bring some fruit that doesn't need to be kept cool, like apples and oranges.
- Bring water and other calorie-free beverages to keep yourself hydrated.
Enjoy smaller portions of special treats.Since you are on vacation, you should allow yourself a treat each day. To avoid gaining weight from these indulgences, make sure that you limit your portions and only indulge in a treat once per day.
- For example, instead of having a giant ice cream sundae, just have a single scoop of ice cream.
- If there is a treat that you want to try that only comes in a large portion, consider sharing it with a friend or family member.
Space your meals out over the day.Don't skip meals and then go out to dinner "starving." You will overeat and your body will not have time to burn those calories before you go to bed. It's best to eat three meals a day, with some healthy snacks in between. You should be eating something about every two to three hours.
- For instance, if you eat breakfast at 8am, have a snack at 11am, then eat lunch at 1pm. You can have another snack around 3 or 4pm, then eat dinner around 6 or 7pm.
Exercising on Vacation
Choose hotels that have fitness centers.Choosing a hotel with a fitness center can make it much easier to get your exercise in. When you are booking your hotel, check to see if the hotel has a fitness center and/or pool.
- Try to work out first thing in the morning and then you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day. Go run on the treadmill, use the elliptical machine, or swim in the pool.
- If your hotel does not have a fitness center, then you can always do a workout in your hotel room. There are lots of gym-free exercises that you can do to stay in shape on your vacation, such as jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, burpees, and leg lifts.
- You can also put on your walking/running shoes and go outside and walk or jog in one direction for 15 minutes, and then turn around and walk or jog back.
Find a race.Doing a 5k or a bike race while you are on vacation can also help to keep you in a fit state of mind and ensure that you get some good exercise on at least one day.If you are not into running or biking, then look for a 5K that permits walkers as well.
- You can find races all over the world to participate in. Check for a race in your vacation location and register ahead of time.
- Many races also give you a t-shirt along with your registration fee, so you will have a cool souvenir to bring home.
Go on a biking or walking tour.You might want to see the sights while you are on vacation, but taking a bus tour will not burn any calories. Instead, consider going on a biking or walking tour. This will help to ensure that you get plenty of exercise and enjoy what your vacation site has to offer.
- You can often find niche tours in big cities, such a haunted history tours, architecture tours, and shopping tours. Look for a tour that will be interesting to you and you will have more motivation to keep walking or biking along.
Try out some water sports.Many people like to spend time in a swimsuit while on vacation. If this is something you enjoy, then checking out a water sport might be a great way to burn some extra calories and have fun too. Some water sports you might enjoy include:
- Water skiing
- White water rafting
Monitoring Your Weight on Vacation
Keep a food diary.Keeping track of everything that you eat and drink will help you to see if you are eating just enough or too much while you are on your vacation.You can keep a pen and paper record of what you eat or use an app to keep track of what you eat.
- Make sure that you record everything or you will not have an accurate record.
- Some apps even allow you to take a quick picture of your plate with your smartphone, then upload it to the app.
Wear a fitness monitor.Fitness monitors can offer some great motivation to exercise more, eat less, and sleep better while you are on vacation.Try wearing a fitness monitor every day during your vacation to keep yourself on track.
- Try setting a vacation step goal for yourself that is a little higher than your usual to help offset any extra calories you take in. For example, if your usual step goal is 10,000 steps, then try setting a vacation step goal of 12,000 steps.
Weigh yourself twice per week.Weighing yourself is a great way to keep yourself in check with your diet and exercise goals; however, it is not a good idea to weigh yourself every day because weight fluctuates from day to day. Instead, weigh yourself twice per week to determine if you are gaining weight or not.
- If there is a fitness center in your hotel, then there should be a scale. If not, ask at the front desk if there is a scale you can use. You can also bring a scale along with you. If you decide to bring a scale, make sure that it is a lightweight scale that you can easily fit in your suitcase.
- To get the most accurate reading, weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
- Wear only your underwear or light weight clothing when you weigh yourself (or you can just do it naked). Do not wear shoes. Shoes and clothes can add up to five pounds onto your weight.
- If the scale shows a higher number on one day, don’t panic. Just try to get a little more exercise and cut down on your calories for the next few days.
Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting.If you don’t have access to a scale while you are on vacation, then you can also use the fit of your clothes to help you determine if you have gained any weight.
- Try bringing a pair of jeans that fit you well and try them on once every couple of days. If your jeans feel snug one day, then get a little more exercise and cut back on your calories for a few days.
- If you do gain weight on vacation, don't punish yourself. Just go back to your normal eating habits.
- If possible, take somebody with the same weight goals with you on your vacation. That way, you have somebody who will support you.
Video: Holiday Weight Gain
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