A mini-getaway is great for some rest and relaxation, but it can also test your willpower. Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take to avoid a diet meltdown, whether it’s a weekend trip or weeklong vacation. Several weeks ago I took my daughter on a weekend trip to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Initially, I was worried about my food choices: Would I eat enough vegetables? Skip desserts?
Another question loomed in my mind: How am I going to fit in a morning walk without acting like a rude guest?
The answer to these questions came in a not-so-obvious way. If weight loss is your goal, or you just want to prevent the inevitable extra pounds that happens during vacations, read on. Practice these easy tricks to for staying healthy while still having a blast.
Tip #1: Eat a Little, Talk A LOT. Of course this goes without saying, but in order to stay on the straight and narrow amongst friends, you have to scale back on portions and increase your storytelling. When you’re among friends, it’s easy to let your guard down a bit and have more of that dinner roll or dessert than you would normally allow. In fact, the subtle pressure to eat more is supported by research. In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a study showed that overweight youth tend to eat more when they’re with friends. This research is similar for adults, too. Think about the last time you had dinner out with a friend. Perhaps you tried too much of that dip or indulged in a high-calorie dessert. Be sure to keep the conversation going so you're too busy recalling your latest run-in with your grumpy neighbor to overeat the spinach-artichoke dip.
If you need additional support during a trip, use my online favorite food journal My Fitness Pal to stay focused.
Tip #2: Tweak Your Workout Routine. It's hard to get up early for power walk when you can snooze in a comfortable bed? A vacation is meant to help you relax, so it's OK to scale back a little bit on your exercise routine. The key is to simply stay active. Opt for a nightly walk as a way to catch up with friends or continue the post-dinner festivities. When you have some privacy do a mini-workout. Try this 5-minute routine: 25 jumping jacks, 15 squats, and 15 push-ups. Do this routine three times every other day and you’ll feel the difference. Remember, there’s no need to toss your fitness out the window when you visit friends. Be creative about how to get moving and do it!
Tip #3: Wait a Few Days Before Stepping on the Scale. It’s not uncommon to experience slight weight gain after a trip. Give yourself a full week to assess how much weight you’ve gained before you do damage control. Hormones and water retention can be the culprit, especially if you’ve been eating out regularly. Sodium levels in most restaurant food exceed your daily allowance, so drink lots of water to help flush it out of your system. By the end of the week you should have a more accurate weight to get your game plan together.
Close friendships can keep you grounded and nurture your soul. However, in getaway mode you have to be mindfully aware of your nutrition and activity. Use these tips to come back from your vacation without any extra baggage in your midsection.
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