It’s the time of the year we most look forward to; going away to recharge our batteries, get some sun and have a relaxing time with friends or family. For many people they spend weeks or months in the gym getting in better shape so they feel comfortable in their swimsuits.
If you’re like me though, the holidays are also a time where if you’re not careful you can come back having put on a whole load of extra weight! The combination of free flowing alcohol, no exercise and abundant food is a dangerous combination (for me it’s the breakfast pancakes) that destroy everyone’s hard work preceding the holidays.
So I thought I would put together a quick guide for you if you’re going on holiday and want to avoid gaining weight. In all honesty it’s all stuff you’ve heard before so think of this as more of a reminder than a “How To”.
At The Airport And On The Plane
This is where you can start as you mean to go on. Depending on what time my flight is I usually try to eat a meal at the airport. For me it’s the start of my holiday and time to get into chill-out mode. But this is where the problems start.
If you’re going to eat a meal, eat enough to curb your hunger but don’t go all out on the milk-shakes or alcohol and desserts just yet.
If you want to grab some snacks for the plane journey, don’t go and buy several bags of sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks. One snack and one drink should be enough.
At The Hotel
If you’re lucky enough to have a free mini bar or room service then it can be tempting to eat as much as you can from the minute you get into your room.
You may be tired and hungry from your traveling so making good choices here is like going food shopping hungry and resisting the lure of bad food; it’s not going to happen.
Quite often the food provided in your mini bar isn’t that exciting anyway so do your best to leave it alone and instead make use of your room service. There is usually a healthy option on the menu which will fill you up. Just don’t order everything on the menu!
Around The Pool Or At The Beach
This is where things can get messy! Unlimited drinks at the pool or beach bar make it too easy to over consume an unlimited supple of “empty calories”. Keep drinking water where possible to make sure you stay hydrated. It can be too easy to forget how much the sun has an effect on you and if you’re in and out of the water you may not notice yourself sweating.
If you’re not replacing your fluids it can be super easy to get heatstroke and ruin your holiday. By drinking plenty of water in between your cocktails it helps you to stay hydrated and avoid that headache later on.
Breakfast is often my downfall on holiday. I get over excited by the variety on offer and pile up my plate with everything. The pancakes are definitely my weakness and I often start on day 1 telling myself that it will just be a treat on the first day… six days later and I’m still piling the pancakes on the plate.
If you’re worried about gaining weight, don’t do what I do! Breakfast buffets are stockpiled with weight gain traps. Cereals and pastries (and pancakes) are an easy way to gain unhealthy weight because they are so palatable, nutrient poor and rapidly digested, which means you can end up over-consuming these.
Instead, start with a bowl of fruit and some yoghurt, or if there is one, go to the egg station where the chef can cook you an omelette.
After that if you’re still hungry then treat yourself to the naughty foods, but hopefully you won’t be as hungry to over eat these.
Lunch and Dinner
With so many options available to you for lunch and dinner it’s worth being mindful of what you’re eating on a day to day basis. Burgers and fries for lunch every day will certainly guarantee that holiday weight gain.
Of course you’re on holiday so do allow yourself these foods and don’t feel guilty about enjoying them either. What I am saying though is to be careful of eating them daily.
Instead there will usually be some delicious healthy local cuisine you can try that will be both delicious and full of nutrition.
Go for salads and light dishes containing fish or chicken for lunch and avoid following that with heavy dessert. Save that for dinner later on.
There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold beer or glass of wine while you enjoy the sun setting in the distance. While you’re on holiday it’s OK to have a drink.
Just remember that alcohol is full of calories and there is no nutritional benefit so if consumed in large amounts you are almost certain to gain a few pounds.
If you are conscious about gaining weight but still want to have a few drinks then pace yourself, it’s not a drinking contest.
Opt for lower calorie drinks such as the clear spirits; vodka and gin. Mix these with soda water or slimline tonic.
Cocktails and beers are the most calorific so go steady on these!
In between drinks have a small glass of water; it will help to keep you hydrated and avoid a hangover the next day but it will also keep you fuller and possibly stop you drinking as many cocktails.
You’ve trained so hard up until this point, why give up now?!
People often ask me if I train while on holiday like I’m some sort of exercise freak. Yes I do train, if I feel like it. If the hotel gym is a bit rubbish I’ll usually still remain active throughout the day. Ill swim in the pool or in the sea, I’ll play some table tennis or just simply walk around a lot.
Admittedly whatever training I do won’t be as much as when I’m back home but I’ll stay active.
If you enjoy exercising in the gym then I’ll encourage you to keep it up on holiday since it won’t feel like much of a chore. But if you hate exercise then don’t force yourself to use the gym. Instead take part in some pool or beach activities that you may enjoy instead like aqua spin, aqua aerobics, beach volleyball or table tennis. Go for walks and see the local sights.
Simply keeping active throughout your holiday will help you get away with over indulging on food and alcohol. The more you are active, the more naughty food you can get away with.
But at the end of the day, remember that you are on holiday to enjoy yourself. If you’re constantly worrying about your weight then you won’t enjoy your holiday, so eat food that you want to eat, drink what you want and have a good time… just don’t go too crazy!