Avoid Vacation Weight Gain: 5 Simple Rules
You can enjoy your vacation without packing on the pounds.
When you're on vacation, it's all too easy to abandon everything you know
about eating healthfully -- and then return home unable to button your pants.
But, experts say, it is possible to indulge in your favorite foods and
beverages while on vacation without the resulting weight gain.
It's true that vacations are no time to try to lose weight -- but they don’t
have to put an extra notch on your belt, either.
"Maintaining your weight is a realistic goal during your vacation
getaway," says Dawn Jackson-Blatner, RD, a spokeswoman for the American
So before you order that extra pina colada at the swim-up bar, consider
these five simple strategies to avoid vacation weight gain:
Vacation Tip No. 1: Plan Ahead to Fit in Fitness
Vacations should be an opportunity to re-energize, refresh, and relax -- not
an excuse to take a break from health. When planning your vacation, opt for
locations that will allow you to engage in physical activities you enjoy. Keep
in mind that physical activity is the ticket to enjoying extra calories without
For example, Jackson-Blatner and her family look for locations where they
can enter 5K races. "It’s fun, we love it, and we build our vacations
around activities we can do together," she says.
If running is not your style, consider places where you can take walks or
hikes, ride bikes, do water sports, or use the hotel tennis courts or gym.
Without work schedules making demands on your time, you should be able to
fit in fun fitness activities every day. Walk the golf course, play
basketball, swim, walk, kayak, bicycle, play tennis -- you name it, just do it
for at least an hour each day.
Vacation Tip No. 2: Be Prepared
When you travel, whether by plane, train, or automobile, be prepared with
healthy food so you won’t have to eat whatever is available. Start the day with
a nutritious breakfast, then pack easy and satisfying snacks or a small meal,
such as a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole-grain bread, a piece
of fruit, and some cut-up veggies with hummus.
Delays and boredom are inevitable on the road, but these situations are not
a reason to eat around the clock.
"Stick to a regular eating schedule so you are less likely to be tempted
to eat high-calorie snacks and treats between meals," says American
Dietetic Association president-elect Connie Diekman.
Vacation Tip No. 3: Avoid Dining-Out Disasters
Eating out may pose the biggest challenge for avoiding vacation weight
"At home, you know exactly what goes into the food you prepare. But in
restaurants, it can be a mystery, and the only way to be sure it is prepared in
a healthful manner is to ask questions and make special requests," says
Diekman, also Washington University’s director of nutrition.