Is it possible to go away on holiday and not gain weight?
Sure! If you’re either super disciplined, don’t love food or holidaying in a wellness retreat where your main aim is to come back somewhat lighter. The reality is, unless you’re going into a war zone or a country in the grip of famine, it’s difficult not to gain extra pounds when away because, food is EVERYWHERE! The only way to avoid being tempted is to stay in your hotel room for the duration of your holiday. Hahahaha!
I don’t know about you, standing on the scale realising I ate one too many cakes whilst on holiday is something I dread. Honestly, the pain of trying to shed the excess weight can sometimes overshadow the joy of having been on holiday.
When I was much younger, I could go on holiday, eat with wild abandon, pile on the pounds and burn it all off in 2 weeks afterwards. Those were the days when I could burn up to 1000 calories on the cross trainer in just over an hour. This morning, I burned 180 calories in the 25mins I was on it. Once upon a time, this would depress me. Now, I’m just grateful I have an above average fitness level for my age. With this in mind, I reckon it’ll take me 6 weeks of focus and extra effort to shed any post holiday weight gain.
If you have a holiday coming up and you’d like to know how not to pass out on the scale when you get back, read on!
Here’s what you need to do.
If you regularly read my blog, you’ll have read that, weight gain is the direct effect of a positive energy balance. This is when energy (food) intake exceeds energy expenditure. It’s very easy to pile on the pounds if all you’re going to be doing on holiday is resting at a resort. This is one of the many reasons why I love city breaks that involve a lot of movement. On a city break, you can earn the right to replenish depleted energy stores by doing a lot of sightseeing that involves walking.
Modern day smart watches are brilliant. Your smart watch can help you minimise the damage because it tells you how many calories you’ve expended from moving around. If you make use of that tool, you can go away on holiday, have a great time and not pile on excessive pounds. All you need to do is keep an eye on your daily watch reading.
Below are more tips to help you minimise potential damage done whilst on holiday. Also, I love to engage with my readers, share any tried, tested and successful tips you use below in the comments section.
Stay away from starchy carbs and sugars if you don’t regularly exercise.
Maintaining your weight is about balance. If you travel often and mindlessly eat without control and checks, you’ll struggle to be balanced. You can be balanced and still have a good time, you just have to be calculating and do your maths. Though carbs help us replenish our energy stores, starchy carbs are energy dense. If you’re not an athlete or in a job that involves a lot of heavy lifting, be careful not to over nourish on starchy carbs.
Think of your body as a car. There’s a limit to how much fuel your tank needs to move daily. Don’t overfill your tank with fuel, or it’ll spill over. Excess fuel is stored in your fat cells. Your fat cells will keep expanding if you don’t check yourself.
If you’re not walking marathon miles daily whilst on holiday, don’t eat gargantuan portions of food. 10,000 steps a day doesn’t mean you can have a 600 calorie slice of cake in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner. 10,000 steps burns between approximately 200-400 calories depending on your pace and weight. Yes, exercising helps torch calories, however, you need to pay attention to how many calories you’re torching and how many calories you eat.
Avoid “Eat As Much As You Like” restaurants
Personally, I feel there’s an age to go to such places. The age when our muscle mass hasn’t started shrinking. Muscle mass starts to decline in our 30’s. So! Anyone OVER 30yrs should not be eating at such joints!!!! No no no! Why? Firstly, because people tend to overeat in the presence of an abundance of food. Secondly, the quality of the food in “eat as much as you like” restaurants is usually crap.
I remember when I did a stint as a waitress in a pizza restaurant back in my Uni days 30+ years ago. The restaurant I worked in had a “buy one get one free offer”. I wondered how the restaurant could be making a profit with such an offer, so I asked the chef if the free pizza was of the same quality and he said it wasn’t. No restaurant will serve good quality food cheaply, it’s unsustainable.
This is one of the many reasons why I’m not drawn to cruise holidays.
Skip the bread basket
It’s so hard to resist warm freshly baked bread and butter. And, it’s so easy to eat many slices in a basket and ask for another basket. This is something I’ve been guilty of doing. One of the ways to avoid the bread basket is not to sit at the table hungry. If you’re very hungry, you will devour the first thing placed on the table and it’s usually a calorie dense bread basket.
Don’t eat a 3 course meal unless it’s a tasting menu
Don’t take this literally. What I’m trying to say here is, a 3 course meal can easily add up to 3000 calories with drinks. After a certain age, you can’t be eating it all and not burst at the seems. Always stick to 2 courses unless the portions are of gourmet restaurant size or your starter is a dressing free low calorie salad. You wont be able to control your weight if you can’t control your portions. Be calculating…
Be mindful of cooking methods and creamy sauces.
Avoid calorie dense deep fried, fried and white creamy sauce dishes. Opt for steamed, grilled or dishes with tomatoes based sauces. When dinning out, if you’re not sure, ask the waiter how the food is cooked and what type of sauces accompany the dishes you want to order.
Drink a lot of water.
Water aids weight maintenance and weight loss because it’s calorie free. In addition, water is also an appetite suppressant. Filling up on water can prevent you from overeating.
In addition, water aids food digestion and boosts gastric emptying. This is important for me because I really hate my tummy looking bloated in my holiday pics!!!! I used to suffer from out of base, disrupted routine bloating till I started drinking more water at night (yeah I get up to pee more) and first thing in the morning. Getting up to pee in the middle of the night is a small price to pay. I don’t like my waste staying in my colon longer than nature requires it to.
Obviously, drinking a lot of water may be a challenge if you’re going to be out and about and don’t want to be popping in and out of public loos. However, if you plan it well, this shouldn’t be a problem. Be calculating…stay away from sugary drinks and let your fluid intake be 80-90% plain good ole calorie free water.
Keep low calorie snacks in your bag to curb hunger.
You’ll make better choices when dinning out if you’re not ravenous by the time you sit at the dinner table. Going for long periods without food only leads to one road if you’re not disciplined, overeating. I have clients who tell me they have 1 big meal a day. One big meal a day is counterproductive if it goes over your daily allowance. Be calculating…I usually take a couple of fruits and a yogurt from the hotel breakfast table with me if I’m going to be out and about throughout the day. This prevents me from snacking on pastries, cake, chocolates etc
Remember, starving at the dinner table means you’ll devour the bread basket and possibly order a second basket. Not starving means you’ll pass.
Carefree, don’t give a toss, eat it all holidays should be reserved for the young and very active. If you don’t fall into that group, then, be calculating.
Alternatively, you’ve already gone away on holiday and you were like, “sod it, YOLO” and overdid it, don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for. I’m a prevention and cure coach, get in touch with me, I’ll put you on my program and coach you back to size.
Kehinde Pitan aka Kinetic K, is a Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Weight loss expert, Fitness enthusiast, Speaker and Writer.