Minimizing Vacation Weight Gain

As many of us have found out from past experience, vacations rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit but they do have their downside Ė weight gain. Thatís because vacations take you away from the usual routine of your everyday life so your eating and exercise habits get all jumbled up.

We tend to eat more when we are with other people and when you are on vacation, you are usually always surrounded by your friends or loved ones. If you are visiting an exotic place, food is part of the fun of exploring a new culture. It can really be tempting to throw all caution to the wind and just plain old pig out.

However, vacations donít last forever and in the end, reality bites. I have seen people return from a one-month vacation ten to twenty pounds heavier. Not once have I heard anyone say that the meals they ate, no matter how heavenly, were worth the effort they now had to put in to remove the excess weight. In the long run, prevention is always better than the cure. So when you are on vacation this summer and you are tempted to have a second serving of that yummy chocolate cake or pizza, keep in mind a picture of you huffing and puffing and sweating.

This is not to say that you shouldnít let yourself enjoy the goodies that you normally deprive yourself of when you are back home. Just remember to keep things under control so you donít return from your holiday with unwanted baggage around your tummy, hips and thighs.

Fitness instructors are usually scared when their clients go on vacation because they fear the worst Ė that not only will their clients return out-of-shape and overweight but that they will be so depressed about their situation that it will take months for them to even return to their exercise programs. As counterproductive as that may sound, what can I say? Human nature can be quirky. Donít let this happen to you if you lose control of your appetite this summer. The best advice is to go back to exercise and sensible eating within the week that you return. The longer you delay, the harder it will be for you to get back into the "groove".

The art of compromise
Some highly disciplined people are able to avoid gaining weight even if they go off for long vacations but they are a rare bunch because it really takes all the motivation you can muster from deep inside of you to exercise and eat sensibly when on holiday. You keep rationalizing that you only go on vacation once in a while, you deserve to enjoy yourself, you can burn it all off when you return back home, etc. Sound familiar? This internal conversion is a tug-of-war. On one hand, you want to relax and enjoy yourself but on the other hand, you donít want to return home miserable because you are ten pounds heavier. To have your cake and eat it too, you need to use the art of compromise skillfully. Eat a low-calorie breakfast so you can have a higher calorie lunch. Skip the bread and butter they serve before meals at restaurants so you can indulge in the dessert. Drink water instead of sugared iced teas and juices to save on calories for other goodies. Give up something you donít really care about for delicacies that really make your mouth water.

Just like you have a vacation budget, you also have a calorie budget. If you stay within your budget or go just a little beyond, you can enjoy your vacation without coming home with too many unwanted pounds.

Share calories
Low-calorie foods like vegetables and salads (with a low-cal dressing) are worth eating all by yourself because their high water and fiber content fill up your stomach without enlarging your fat cells. But high-calorie foods like potato chips and chocolate cake are low volume foods that pack a caloric wallop. These are the types of food that you should share with a friend or two. Not only does sharing your meal with a friend or loved one save calories, you also get to taste a greater variety of food. Besides, many restaurants and hotels serve portions that are way too large for a single person. People have told me that at the start of a trip, they are usually shocked at the large amounts being served to them but after a few days, their eyes and stomachs get used to it. Thatís the danger of trying to finish all the food that is placed before you by yourself. You quickly get accustomed to the size of the portions. It is much wiser to halve everything you order with your travel companions. If you are still hungry after, you can always order something else.

Walk, walk, and walk
You may not be able to join a gym or play your favorite sport on vacation but you can always use your two feet and walk away the excess calories. You can do this formally by setting aside a specified time to walk for thirty to sixty minutes or you can do it informally by taking ten-minute walking breaks throughout the day. Walk fast enough to make a difference in calorie burning but slow enough that you can still enjoy the sights and sounds of your holiday get-away. After all, you are on vacation!

Stay firm
With a little discipline, it is possible to keep your muscles firm while on vacation if you prepare a short exercise routine that you can do in your hotel room. I find that rubberbands are the best for this purpose. They are light and donít take up space in your suitcase. A fitness instructor can make an effective and time-efficient workout for you. But if you donít have access to one, you can visit my website to make your own rubberband workout. Choose one exercise per body part (for example, the chest, upper back, arms, etc.). Do at least one set of 12 to 15 repetitions three times a week. You can buy rubberbands from the hardware store or surgical tubing from drugstores.

Visit a gym
If the hotel you are staying in has a gym, take advantage of this amenity to stay on track with your fitness program. To save yourself time and frustration, ask your fitness instructor to give you a copy of your workout program with alternatives for every exercise. The hotel gym may not have the same equipment that you are used to. Prepare for this and you wonít get frustrated.

Have the correct vacation attitude
The correct attitude is one of moderation. You shouldnít be obsessed about every calorie nor should you be absolutely careless about what goes into your mouth. Enjoy yourself but balance things out so that you wonít have any regrets when you return home.

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