Staying on track while on vacation
Vacation season is upon us! Many times I’ve heard people talk about the weight they gained during vacation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t get me wrong; vacation is a great time to try new activities and foods, but it’s too easy to get sucked into the “I’m on vacation, so I’m going all out” mentality. Don’t let a week away from it all undo all your hard work!
If you’re lucky enough to go somewhere for vacation this summer, I hope you’ll follow my tips to staying on track with your health goals:
Eat at regular intervals
Make sure to eat three meals each day, plus snacks (that contain protein) as needed. If you aren’t feeding your body regularly, you’re likely to overeat at meals.
Bring healthy snacks with you
Feeding your body with some protein at regular intervals throughout the day will prevent you from overeating at meals. It’s not always easy to find healthy snacks on vacation, so pack some almonds, protein bars or shakes, or string cheese if you have a refrigerator, to avoid getting to the “starving to death” point.
Balance your eating
Try some new foods, but always make sure your meal has protein and veggies in it. If you know dinner will be indulgent, make sure your other two meals are healthy and balanced.
Stay active – start your day with exercise
Even a quick 20-minute walk before getting your day started will do wonders for you on vacation. It sets the tone for the day, gives you a burst of energy, and may even discourage you from making poor choices at meals. Not a morning person? Try going for a walk after lunch or dinner. Walking after meals has been shown to improve glucose levels in those with diabetes.
Get at least seven hours of sleep each night
Sleep is so important for weight control. Both the timing of sleep and the amount can have a big impact on your weight. Try to get to bed around your normal time, and aim for at least seven to nine hours. Poor sleep quality and quantity have been shown to increase cortisol levels, decrease energy during the day, and trigger unhealthy eating. If you use a CPAP, make sure to bring it with you on your trip!
Drink plenty of water
Sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re actually just dehydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water daily, even on vacation. Carry water with you on outings to avoid getting behind on your hydration.
Savor the indulgent foods
Whatever your destination, there’s usually a certain food or restaurant you just have to try. So try it! For foods you don’t regularly eat, the most important thing to remember is the quantity. Don’t deprive yourself; you can still enjoy the Chicago deep dish, the crusty bread in France or an ice cream cone on the beach. Take the time to actually slow down and taste each bite, take in the experience with the food, and you’ll feel satisfied with a smaller amount. Just make sure you order the small amount, and share it with someone. Don’t ignore your body’s fullness cues – when you start to feel full, STOP!
Vacation is about taking a break and enjoying your time doing things that make you happy. Safe travels!
Alissa Lorchick, RD, LMNT
Bryan Bariatric Advantage Dietitian