Vacation weight gain: How to stay healthy while traveling


Many people try to lose weight before a vacation, only to go overboard while there. A study found that adults (average age of 32) gained one to seven pounds while on a one- to three-week trip. But before dreading this outcome, our health expert, Karen Owoc, is here with some tips to help us stay on track.

Why the Problem Starts BEFORE the Vacation

• Often times people go on a “diet” trying to lose weight before their vacation.

• By going on a diet to lose X number of pounds before departing can actually set you up for GAINING weight.

• Unlike a lifestyle change to lose weight, diets intended to lose weight within a certain period of time are unsustainable.

• These quick-fix diets often leave the person feeling deprived and even though it may result in weight loss, once “off” the diet, it often results in overindulging or binging.

• Opt for a lifestyle change, which is not something you go on and get off — it’s sustainable and enjoyable.

Tips to Maintain Your Weight On Vacation

1. Don’t stress and obsess.

• A vacation is the perfect environment for losing weight.

• That’s because you’re relaxed. Stress triggers emotional eating and mindless, out-of-control eating behavior.

• If you obsess over gaining weight over the vacation, you’re creating unnecessary stress and setting yourself up for overeating.

2. Take a walking vacation.

• Make walking the centerpiece of your vacation.

• Some tour operators are not able to offer walking tours yet due to COVID, but you can plan your own.

• Depending on the terrain, cityscape, and/or distance, walking can be as strenuous as you want it to be.

• Take in the fresh air, weather, people, landscape, and local culture, which you would miss zipping by in a car.

3. Do an “express” workout.

• There’s no need to spend hours working out when you could be sightseeing.

• Do a quick 30-minute circuit workout — e.g., 8-minute warm-up + a circuit that consists of 7-8 strength training exercises.

• Travel-friendly strength training equipment: resistance band, PowerBand, mini band, stretch-out strap, water bottles. (DEMO)

• The express workouts may be something you decide to continue post-vacation. They’re not only quick, they’re effective.

4. Schedule active outings.

• Active vacations are especially fun for families, e.g., hiking, biking, snorkeling, kayaking.

• Take a trail hike, power walk on the beach, or run along the city’s river.

5. Shop until you drop.

• If you love to shop, you can actually walk for miles exploring the city when you’re on a shopping mission.

6. Drink less alcohol and more water.

• The study found that consuming extra calories (particularly from alcohol) was the main contributor to weight gain.

• When it comes to alcohol, order wisely. Some fruity, frozen cocktails can have 500 or more calories per glass.

• You’re consuming a lot of extra, empty calories, which can result in being dehydrated, hung over, and cutting into your fun the next day.

7. Make water your best friend.

• The body often confuses thirst with hunger.

• Long flights, hot beaches, long hikes, and consuming too much sodium and alcohol can cause dehydration.

Tip: You can also “eat your fluids” by focusing on eating water-rich fruits and veggies.

8. Eat mindfully.

• Make smart choices. Skip the gas station donuts, and indulge in the most delicious foods that you discover.

• Being a mindful eater also means being aware of your level of hunger and satiety.

• Tune into your physiological cues, and eat until you feel satisfied and light — not stuffed.

The Takeaway: Relax, keep moving, be mindful, and most of all, enjoy your vacation!



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