So how do you deal with vacation weight gain … healthfully? Well, it’s not realistic to deny yourself every pleasurable experience while on a trip just in order to maintain weight. Life is meant to be lived, so enjoy that margarita or extra glass of wine. But, before you even print off your boarding pass to leave, have a game plan in place that will make dealing with a few extra pounds easier. In this case, offense is the best defense. Let’s take a look at eight strategies that will set you up for success.
- Prep the week before. Buckle down in the five to seven days before your departure by making sure your diet is extra clean and that you’re sticking to your workouts. Avoid alcohol, sugar, dairy and gluten. Amp up on the veggies and lean protein. This will give you a healthier edge going into your trip so that your body can deal with a few extra treats – plus, you’ll enjoy those treats so much more.
- Make a fitness date. Finding the motivation to hit the gym post-vacation can be extra tough. This study shows that motivation to work harder increases with a partner. Set yourself up for success by booking a session with your trainer or making a workout date with a buddy for the week you return.
- Stock your fridge. Having healthy choices on hand when you return home is key to getting your diet back on track. Stock your refrigerator with basics to make clean meals, like lean protein, veggies and fruit. If you’ll be gone long, set up a food delivery service (like instacart) to bring your groceries to you when you get home.
- Get rid of temptation. Whether it means tossing out cookies from the pantry, removing alcohol from the liquor cabinet or saying no to happy hour invites for your post-vacation week, make sure to arrive home to a temptation-free space. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Water, water, water. Many times a higher number on the scale can be chalked up to water weight. If you’re indulging in more sweets, alcohol, sodium, and food in general, your body may be retaining water. Plus, if you’re replacing daily water intake with more coffee and/or alcohol dehydration can make you puffy. To counteract this, make sure you’re downing tons of water, which can help flush out water retention.
- Revisit and renew your goals. Getting into that bikini may have motivated you before vacation, but once you are home, it may be irrelevant. Rethink your “why” for sticking to a workout and clean eating regimen. This study explains that extrinsic factors – seeking approval from the outside, like looking good to others – can be short-lived. Intrinsic factors – like enjoying exercise or wanting to be healthy – contribute more to adhering to a program in the long-term.
- Ditch the “all or nothing” mindset. Rigid thinking can make it difficult to have realistic expectations during vacation. For example, if you’re so concerned with maintaining a strict diet and workout schedule, you may be missing out on the enjoyment and ultimate point of being on vacation. Likewise, if you see being on vacation as a hall pass to binge drink and ditch all health goals entirely, you may be setting yourself up for disaster. Try to allow for a “both” mindset … enjoy a cocktail and a morning walk, indulge in dessert and a super healthy meal. Health and enjoyment are not mutually exclusive.
- Give yourself time. Freaking out upon arrival at home and crash dieting or over-exercising will only wreck havoc on your metabolism. Accept that you enjoyed your vacation, and then get back to work. Give yourself the same number of days to get back into your routine as you did getting out of it. Expecting a quick fix will only frustrate your efforts.
If you’d like more tips on how to healthfully combat vacation weight gain, seek out an expert who can customize a program just for you.