Saturday, June 18, 2011

Terrified Of Gaining Weight On Vacation?

So you've worked hard the past few months and managed to drop off a few pounds and now you are terrified to go on vacation, because you are worried about weight gain!  Kind of stinks doesn't it?  Finally you are getting your weight under control, and you aren't allowed to have any fun... NOT!  Vacations don't cause weight gain, your choices do!

This is why I am such an advocate for developing a weight loss strategy that is sustainable and works anywhere, anytime (within reason).  If you are dependent on a gym, you can't take it with you.  If you require special foods, you can't take them with you.  If you used a quick weight loss plan, you certainly can't take that with you.  Unfortunately, you may have already tied your wrists to some degree, just by your initial weight management choices.  But have no fear, you can still fight off those obnoxious extra pounds of fat waiting to hitch a ride on your body, by doing a bit of thinking and planning BEFORE you head out for vacation.

First of all, if you have a weakness for eating, choosing a vacation that offers up a bottomless bounty of culinary opportunities (cruise???) could be a disaster.  Ever notice how food is at the core of any cruise package.  Sure they have other activities, but the food is always a big selling point, especially when you can have all you want.  And for that matter you feel short-changed if you don't consume as much as you can at every sitting - gotta get your money's worth you know.  Though most cruise ships have gyms and workout programs, rarely will you ever burn off the calories that you consume.  

Pretty much every vacation offers up some basic opportunities to maximize your exercise without a dedicated workout.  For someone like me, I simply watch the pedometer and make sure I fulfill my daily goals.  But if you aren't a dedicated walker, then you should become one while on vacation.  

When you see an escalator, look for stairs.  If there is a both a foot and bus tour of an area, take the walking version - you will actually see and experience the sights to a much higher degree.  When you are in a hotel, take the steps instead of the elevator.  Take a harbor tour in a kayak rather than a tour boat. If you are in a coastal or mountainous area (think great views) make it a point to hike to a great spot to watch the sunset.  If you are lounging on a beach, get up an take a stroll, or better yet a nice long walk.  Thinking of a cab - think again. It doesn't take long to navigate a few city blocks on foot and who knows what you might discover along the way in terms of restaurants, stores, historical markers, interesting architecture, beautiful landscapes, etc.  Plus you start to get an intimate feel for the culture of the city, which tends to be the most memorable aspect of most trips.

And if you are flying to and from your destination, airports offer some great walking opportunities, some of which are not voluntary! 

The possibilities of keeping your body in motion rather than at rest during a vacation abound, but it's up to you to seek them out.  Just using the power of your legs may be all you need to keep on track and not only is it a healthy element for a vacation, it can save a lot of money too - no transportation costs!  You can use those savings to eat more food...bad!

When it comes to eating, you also need to incorporate a little bit of thought and strategy.  A big part of most vacations is sampling the local cuisine.  Nothing wrong with that as long as you do it in moderation and offset it with some basic exercise.  My favorite trick is simply eating slow - real slow - painfully slow - extremely slow!  Take a small bite, put down your fork and slowly chew the food and savor the flavor.  Swallow, engage in some conversation, then do it again.  When you start feeling the least bit full (and this will happen surprisingly fast) STOP eating.

If your hotel offers a free breakfast buffet (another danger zone) don't sit down for a meal, as the smells may overwhelm you and entice you to eat way too much.  Grab a muffin or fruit or whatever and head back to your room to eat.  AVOID THE TEMPTATIONS that surround and assail you.

Too many times we think of vacations as a time to be lazy and lethargic. Nothing wrong with relaxing, but when it comes to managing weight you still have to be vigilant.  Don't blow an awesome trip by bringing home some unwanted souvenirs - you can gain a pound a lot faster than you can lose it! 

Thinking of Wrightsville Beach, NC for a vacation?   Plenty of fun walking opportunities there.

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