Vacations are often much needed after a year of hard work both at work at home. Getting time to unwind either by yourself or with family and/or friends is essential to maintaining proper work-life balance. However, many times, these vacations come at the steep price of extra inches on your waistline. Giving your regular diet and exercise routine a break can significantly backtrack all your fitness achievements over the year. If your New Year’s resolution was to lose a couple pounds, this can all be undone during the few weeks of vacation.
Between lazy days spent at the poolside and all the Pina Coladas, we tend to make many mistakes that reverse our body goals. However, if you can identify what exactly to look out for to avoid gaining weight during vacation, that’s already a fraction of the battle won.
Here are a few common weight gain causes
- Basic gym facilities. You may want to work out during vacation but the hotel gym lack all the equipment you are used to. This should not be a reason for you to quit though. Find creative ways to work with whatever equipment you have, work out in your hotel room or visit a gym near your accomodation, for example via Touristgym!
- All-you-can-everything. Whether your vacation involves a cruise trip or a stay at an all-inclusive resort, these usually come with all-you-can-eat or all-you-can-drink options, giving you unlimited access to all the unhealthy foods imaginable.
Because it is free, you can easily find yourself stuffing your mouth with all the junk food available. Large servings, more regular meals, more helpings and dessert with every meal are the biggest culprits in adding to your weight gain.
- Airport food. If your vacation includes a lot of travelling, chances are you will be in transit a lot and the thought of pre-packing food for your flight at odd hours doesn’t even cross your mind. So you are stuck eating airline food all day. You may try to console yourself that the portions served are really not big, so weight gain isn’t encouraged but this is far from true. Airline food tends to be very high in calories. It is packed with flavour-enhancers, sodium and waist-widening preservatives so it can taste good and fresh for over 10 hours.
- Erratic eating schedule. After a night out, a continental, carb-filled breakfast may not be very appealing. However, research shows that skipping breakfast messes with your metabolism which directly influences weight gain. Eating late dinners is also not good as you do not give your body a chance to burn all those calories before sleeping.
During vacation, you may find it hard to snack between meals, meaning when you do eventually eat, you take in larger portions to compensate. You should always have healthy snack options with you even as you go for your tours, shopping, family activities or even while you are sunbathing.
- Long periods of inactivity. For many people, vacation means sunbathing at the beach all day followed by cocktails at night. When your body is used to moving around all day, suddenly being sedentary for long periods of time can have a negative impact on your waistline.
- Too many cocktails. You may think that because you are drinking vodka or whiskey in your cocktail, it can’t have too many calories. Well, you’re wrong. Cocktails tend to be very high in sugar content and therefore have very high calorie counts. A strawberry daiquiri or frozen margaritas can have up to 50 grams of sugar. Drinks served ‘on the rocks’ tend to be of lower calorie content and if that’s not your style, a glass of wine is way better. Actually, wine is packed with antioxidants which can actually help burn belly fat.
- You forgot your workout clothes. Who buys new workout clothes on vacation? Chances are, no one! Most people who work out while on vacation do so in their hotel gym or in their rooms. If you do not pack your workout clothes, nothing will motivate you to wake up and be on that treadmill early in the morning or after a day of activities. Before you leave for your vacation, pack a couple sets of workout gear. When you get to your hotel room, unpack them and keep them in clear view to remind you to work out.
- Peer pressure. Who do you go on vacation with? Are they people who support a healthy lifestyle and will understand that you need drink a little less so as to make it to the gym in the morning? If your company is out to undo all their fitness achievements or aren’t really into the whole healthy lifestyle club, you can easily succumb to their ways while on vacation. Always make sure that you have someone that will hold you accountable.
- Erratic sleep patterns. How many times have you gone on vacation with the aim of getting some rest but you actually come back home more tired -physically- than you were before the vacation? When on vacation, you may be staying out late at night and not getting enough sleep because of all the activities you have planned. This will make you fatigued, encouraging you to find comfort food which will include a lot of unhealthy options.
- Dehydration. On a normal day, you probably carry around with you your water bottle but when it’s time for vacation, you leave it nicely packed in your bag. When you are dehydrated, you are more likely to confuse thirst for hunger, causing you to overeat.
Whether you spend your vacation by the pool, on hikes or touring the city, drinking water is essential. The heat associated with vacation destination also increases your thirst so make sure you always have a bottle of water with you.
Maintaining your weight and size during vacation may be difficult but if you avoid putting yourself in the scenarios above, you will be that much closer to keeping your body goals!