7 Simple Tips to Maintain Weight on Vacation
These days it seems like one of the most common times to “get in shape” are right before one leaves for a vacation….but only to enjoy themselves so much that they gain it all back.
Here you will find 7 easy tips to help you not waste all your hard work but still enjoy yourself at the same time.
1. Don’t Diet Hard Right Before Leaving
One of the worst ways to set yourself up for failure in this scenario is to diet hard up to the date before you head out. If you’re body is used to minimal carbs, lower fat intake, and tons of cardio, all the added calories and lack of workouts are going to be a huge shock and cause fat gains very easily.
The best way to make sure you feel your body is vacation ready, is to not procrastinate on your diet and fitness plans. Start out months in advance, and take things slowly. Dieting too hard too fast is one of the number one ways to not only experience rapid weight gain as soon as the diets over, but it’s also the perfect way to wreck you metabolism.
2. Pack Your Protein
One of the hardest things to find while not in your normal routine can easily be a main source of protein. That’s why I highly recommend bringing your own.
No, I don’t mean packing your chicken in tupperware and dragging it on the plane with you. I’m talking whey protein powder and quest bars.
Remember, eating a main source of protein in each meal is essential, no matter what your goals are.
For example: Anytime we indulged in some home made gelato while in Italy, we ate a quest bar right before hand. All the fiber and protein in the quest bars helped slow down the digestion process of all the sugars in the gelato, that way the sugar wouldn’t turn straight into fat and we’d stay fuller longer.
Anytime we’ve been to Europe, breakfast was the hardest time to find ENOUGH protein without too many added fats.
So, we’d have a protein shake, and then eat whatever carbs the hotel offered (usually a variety if delicious pastries).
The key is balance, and this is a perfect example.
3. Purchase a disposable cooler once arriving
This tip has been a life saver for us the past (unfortunately it wasn’t so easy in Italy).
What we tend to do is go to a local grocery store, buy a styrofoam cooler + ice, and then purchase lunch meats for a heathy little wrap. We’d also put water bottles in it, since vacation tends to distract us from making sure we get enough of that it.
Not only will your body thank you for not constantly filling it up with greasy-fatty foods, but your wallet will thank you as well. It’s a much cheaper way to make sure you’re getting enough of your proper nutrition in without breaking the bank on 3+ meals of eating out every day.
4. No extra fats
In my normal daily diet, I add in things like peanut butter, avocado and almonds to reach my fat goals. No need to bring these along or go out of your way to find them. There will be plenty of fats hidden in all the meals out, even if you are trying to make a decent choice. Cheeses, oils, butters, (even if you don’t ask for them) are on your prepared meals much more often and in higher amounts than you probably realize or can tell.
Also remember that just because it’s a “good kind of fat”, doesn’t mean you need to consume an excessive amount. If I’m going to have pizza with lots of cheese for lunch, I’m not going to ask for avocado on my salad later for dinner. It’s all about those total macro numbers for the day.
5. Less Meal Frequency
If you’re like me, you eat anywhere from 4-6 different times a day (my specific average is 5). While away these past couple weeks, I cut that down to about 4, only because I knew the meals that I would be consuming would be much higher in calorie than I’m used to.
I also usually add some carbs with my quest bars and protein shakes throughout the days, but in this case I did not. I preferred to save all my carbs for pasta, pizza, gelato,etc.
6. Plan Your Indulgences
If you know you’re going to be having a big multiple meal course for dinner, save a decent amount of your macros for that rather than having multiple treats all throughout the day on top of the heavy dinner.
For our anniversary last weekend, we made plans to have a true Italian dinner right in the heart of Florence. Holy cow was that a lot of (delicious) food!!! Plates just seem to keep coming and coming and never stop. I didn’t hold back one time, not even for the fried bread and dessert! Thankfully, I had basically only eaten nothing but protein all day so I had plenty of fats and carbs to catch up on. Note: this is not the most optimal way to go about things on a daily basis, but while on vacation it was my best option for this particular day.
Again, the main point to remember is balance. The perfect basic guideline to follow is to indulge once a day, rather than every single meal. Trust me, you and your body will thank you later.
7. Walk the Scenic Route
There’s something about walking around in an unknown city and observing how different other people live. Instead of taking the bus, metro or taxi in Rome, my husband and I decided to walk….EVERYWHERE. Sure, we were pretty tired by the end of the day, but we saw some pretty amazing things (other than just the touristy stuff), we got some great exercise in, and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt when taking down an entire pizza together.
If you’re wondering how many times I picked up a weight these last 10 days…that number would be 2. I wanted and had planned to lift a couple more times than what we did but:
- Gyms are awfully hard to find in Europe.
- It’s been months since I allowed my body a de-loading phase and my muscles needed the rest.
- There was so much of the country we wanted to see in such a small amount of time that I chose to experience life instead (the gym will always be there when I get home).
If you take anything away from reading this, I hope that it’s the key of balance. Vacations are meant for relaxation and enjoyment for both the mind and body, but it’s important to have a game plan for what you truly want to indulge in (rather than going all out 90-100% of the time).
Plan ahead, and I guarantee you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration once arriving back home.
Ciao for now!!