The Vacation Diet
Have you ever found yourself having to get your diet "back on track" after a vacation? In the past I would go on vacation and indulge with all the food, alcohol and desserts my heart desired. Then, when the vacation was over, I would restrict my calories in order to drop the weight I put on while on vacation.
That worked well when I was much younger, but like many things, it doesn't work so well now that I'm older. So I've gotten really good at trying not to gain weight while on vacation. Here's a few tips I use to keep the weight off.
1. Don't Starve Yourself Before a vacation.
Who doesn't want to look and feel their best before a vacation? Especially if your vacation includes time on the beach. Oftentimes, right before a trip, we will constrict our calories in the hopes of dropping weight quickly. This might work initially but can lead to bingeing once you get to your vacation destination because you're literally starving. All hell breaks loose, and you end up eating everything in sight. Throw in alcohol and you have a recipe disaster, undoing all the work you put into losing weight in the first place.
The best way to prepare for a trip is to plan your diet at least 4 weeks ahead of time. Start reducing your calorie intake slowly each week. This way you are adjusting your total calories gradually, allowing you to eat less food over time while not feeling deprived. For example, 4 weeks out reduce your calories by 100, 3 weeks out reduce your calories by another 100. By the time you are 1 week away from your trip your total calorie reduction is 400 calories and this will help you drop a few pounds. It will also give your body time to adjust to reduced foods and more importantly it won't mess with your metabolism.
2. Maintain Your Heathy Habits On Vacation.
Being on vacation shouldn't be your meal ticket (literally) to eating whatever you want. The truth of the matter is that foods that are full of fat, salt and sugar and very addictive, The more we eat these foods the more we want. You'll find it that much harder to "get back on track" once you're home because the "healthy" food won't taste as good and it will take that much longer for your taste buds to catch up. You may also end up gaining more weight than before you left for vacation and this will set you on a path of yo-yo dieting. Of course, you should enjoy yourself on vacation but limit your indulgences and try to keep your calories to a minimum. Maintaining your healthy habits on vacation will allow you to get back on track when you get home.
3. What To Eat On Vacation.
I recently went away for a few days with my husband and enjoyed my meals without over doing it. Breakfast was usually my biggest meal but I made sure to include lots of protein and veggies. If I ate bread I would limit it to one slice. I also made sure to pack a few protein bars for when I got hungry during the day. If I ate lunch was it was usually a big salad and a bowl of rice and beans or a veggie burger. Dinner was typically lots of veggies with a lean protein. When we ordered french fries for the table we shared it with friends. Instead of having dessert every night, I chose one night to indulge. For drinks I opted for spicy margaritas without the added sugar. Those fancy cocktails can really add up in calories if you're not careful. And because I gradually reduced my calories before our trip, I didn't feel like I was depriving myself of food. I actually ate less on vacation than when I am home because I kept busy walking, biking, swimming and reading.
4. En Route To Destination
Every major fast food restaurant is well represented at most airports. If vacation is your excuse to indulge, the airport is a great place to start. You will be sure to sabotage all your diet wins just eating or snacking at the airport. If you put in a little effort you can find healthy options at most airports. In the past I have ordered a bowl of plain white rice from a Chinese restaurant because it was the best option out of a slew of deep fried and heavily processed choices.
I also refrain from eating anything on the plane. Some people think they are obligated to eat whatever snacks the flight attendant is offering because it's free. You will not starve on the plane, that I can guarantee! The snacks offered on most airline flights are usually extremely processed and full of sodium, which will have you retaining water. The best option for longer flights is to try and pack a healthy snack. Raw nuts, bananas, apples and protein bars are all good options.
5. Prevent Bloat
Did you know flying can give you bloat? The best way to prevent bloat is to stay hydrated. I buy a large bottle of water at the airport and drink it while in the air. It is so important to stay hydrated while on the plane. The water will also keep you full.
The great part of vacation is the memories you've created. If you make the effort to stay healthy while on vacation you won't have to deal with "getting back in shape" when it's over.