Summer vacation season is in full swing! People everywhere are traveling by car, boarding planes, and even sailing away on cruise ships. I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow, in fact! (not that I'm counting) Vacation is a break from the routine, which can be great for everything, except for maybe your waistline. Weight gain on vacation is very common, mostly due to more frequent restaurant meals, missed days at the gym, and increased alcohol consumption. One review website finds that the average person gains 5-10# on a seven-day cruise!
How can you enjoy a vacation without lugging back extra pounds? Here are a few tips.
Don’t forget your tennis shoes and activity tracker. Staying active on vacation is an excellent way to see the sights in many areas. Hike, bike, swim, snorkel, zip line, take long walks or do yoga on the beach. If there is a hotel or resort fitness center, try to use it a few days during the week. I am taking a break from half marathon training this week, but I still plan to get in a few runs and many longs walks and hikes.
If you’re on a cruise, stay away from 24-hour buffets and room service; instead, eat in the main dining room where portions tend to be smaller, and choices are healthier. You’ll eat more slowly, which can help you identify fullness signals before you are stuffed.
Limit restaurant meals to one each day. If you’re in a condo/rental, or a hotel room with a kitchen, try to prepare breakfast and one other meal there each day. Restaurant meals are almost always higher in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium than what you can prepare. Carry healthy snacks if you are hiking, or take a picnic lunch with you. Experience local cuisine and enjoy it, just don’t overdo it. If the rolls on the table are just “ok,” then skip them to enjoy the restaurant’s signature dessert.
Keep alcohol calories in check, particularly on cruises. Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks per day, and keep an eye on sugary concoctions, like daiquiris or margaritas. Instead, try wine spritzers or light beer.
If you gain a pound or three on vacation, don’t let it ruin your trip. Get back to your healthy habits when you return. I usually find myself craving healthy choices after a few days of heavy meals. Have a great weekend and Happy 4th of July!