Written by: Marlee B
In normal life, you may be all about sticking to your healthy-eating meal plan and clocking regular hours at the gym.
However, if you are anticipating a getaway vacay this summer, I understand what you’re probably feeling: varying levels of anxiety assuming everything you’ve worked hard for will be thrown out the window.
But don’t fret. Today I will share my 10 simple yet effective nutrition and fitness tricks that will help you avoid vacation weight gain, and hopefully assist you in staying on track to reach your weight loss goals!
1. It’s Okay to Not Eat Everything
Vacations are a beautiful time when we are able to escape our day-to-day drudgery, but they don’t always have to be synonymous with indulgence.
Whether it’s taking a food tour of Puerto Rico’s local cuisine or a backyard barbecue with your friends, certainly enjoy the sweet summer moments and make some memories. At the same time, don’t let the fear of overeating keep you from dining out.
All it takes to stay on track is a little pre-planning and willpower. If you’re thinking that is easier said than done, I have a couple tips to help!
A simple trick is to ask your waiter for a to-go box with your meal and place half of it inside before you begin eating (since most restaurants these days have HUGE portions!) or set your plate aside when you feel full, not once you’ve cleaned the entire plate.
It takes some practice but portion control is key!
2. Don’t Let Your Diet Ruin Your Vacation
I say this with the assumption that you have planned a vacation in order to reduce your stress, spend time with loved ones, and explore new cultures and creations. Savor your vacation experience, but it’s still important not to binge or gorge yourself.
The best thing you can do for your fitness routine while on the road is to not worry about what you’re eating or how or when you exercise. Be mindful, yes, but not obsessive. Eat slower, enjoy the food and drinks wherever you go, and relinquish any feelings of guilt.
It’s the best thing you can do for you.
3. The 3 P’s of Snacking: Plan, Pack, and Protein
Plan ahead, pack portable snacks, and be sure your pick has protein. Take this tip a step further and build every snack with protein and a produce.
Some ideas are a piece of fruit with either Greek yogurt, a cheese stick, 2 tablespoons of nut butter, or a serving of raw nuts.
It’s important that our bodies are fueled with enough protein because it’s a component of every cell in the body, including hair and nails! Protein keeps you feeling full for longer, builds and repairs muscle tissue, and aids in the function of our hormones, bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
If you are unsure about how much protein a good snack should have, the Dietary Reference Intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound.
4. Hit Up (even the lousy) Hotel Gym
You have probably seen your fair share of lousy hotel gyms. You know, the ones with a broken treadmill, a small sea of machines, a worn bench, dumbells up to 60 pounds, or an elliptical that faces the wall? Even though this can be depressing, your program doesn’t have to suffer!
All you need is a little planning, imagination, and possibly a reduction of rest in between sets. An easy jog up and down the stairwell, even just a few flights, can be a great warm-up by itself.
But try these if you want to crank it up a notch:
~10 flights of stairs + 10 squats every flight (100 total squats)
~15 flights + 10 squats every flight (150 total squats)
~ As many flights and squats as possible in 20 minutes
The key to this workout is to move as fast as you can. It’s a quick way to get your heart rate up and make those legs burn!
5. Stay Hydrated (and How to Do It)
Water is obviously the best solution to dehydration but lugging around a water bottle on your travels isn’t your only option. Certain foods can hydrate you as well, and help sustain the fluids in your body so you stay satisfied longer.
Try grabbing a banana or coconut water at a food stand or local store so you can go for longer between bottles of water. There is no need to avoid particular foods or drinks because exploring new cuisine can be one of the best parts of traveling.
The trick is to make sure you balance it out with water…and lots of it! It will get your stomach feeling full to help you avoid over-eating, keeps you hydrated for long days in the sun, and helps you feel great the next day!
6. Avoid Going Hungry
What I mean by this is: don’t skip meals to save calories! The temptation is to miss breakfast or skip lunch to “save” calories for your big meal out on the town.
It sounds like a good idea, but guess what? It’s not. In fact, skipping meals has a detrimental effect. You are depriving your body of valuable nutrition in terms of protein, carbohydrates, and fat that aid your metabolism, causing you to binge or eat more than you thought you would for your anticipated late-night meal.
Likewise, when you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down between meals. Instead, have a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours to keep your metabolism cranking. That way, you burn more calories over the course of a day.
This is the fun part! Wherever your vacation spot, find an active way to enjoy it every day. A simple internet search in your destination area can pull up popular tourist activities but some ideas may be:
~Rent bicycles! It’s a quick, easy way to see lots of sites.
~Go for a swim. Hanging poolside is cool but so are chicken-wars!
~Set up a family relay race or scavenger hunt. What a fun way to create cherished memories with your kids!
~Plan a hike. Natural wonders are meant to be seen!
8. Schedule Enough Sleep
A break from everyday life is a great way to relax and unwind but what about red-eye flights, new time zones, and no regular routine?
Getting enough sleep while on vacation can be challenging and, as a result, we can wake up tired, fatigued, and left with little energy to have the fun we anticipated. Many of us are prone to snack when we’re tired, too.
Prevent fatigue by traveling with an eye mask, a light-weight pillow and blanket, and portable music to help you sleep on the plane. You can also avoid large meals close to bedtime so you can fall asleep easily (and stay asleep).
9. Use Your Downtime Productively
There may be a time or two where you have an hour to hang out in your hotel room. If you find yourself plopped on a bed, couch, or chair, that is the perfect time to turn on the television and stretch.
It’s good for your body and your brain. Or if your living quarters need a little pick-me-up, don’t wait for room service. Tidy up. Make the bed, fold the clothes, or exercise your calf muscles while brushing your teeth.
10. Skip the Taxis
Walking is your best friend while on vacation. Not only will you burn more calories, you will save money and be able to slow down as you please to relish everything from monuments to museums to quaint streets.
So whenever possible, take a stroll to your next destination, or sign up for a guided walking tour.
Now with these 10 little tips, enjoy your healthy and hard-earned vacation this summer!