Maintain, Don’t Gain while on Vacation

  • 2 Minutes Read
  • Jun 26, 2015

So, what’s a person to do to prevent weight gain that so often occurs after a vacation? You can try to have a mindset of simple strategies to keep the calories in check while you are having fun. Enjoy those special getaways, and challenge yourself to keep the calories in check and add physical activity. You may be pleasantly surprised that you don’t gain that typical weight during your vacation.

Maintain, Don’t Gain while on Vacation

Recently, while traveling on a week-long marathon visit with family and friends, I found myself faced with having to eat meals and snacks on the run and at social events. It was great fun, but I decided to challenge myself to maintain and not gain weight during this fun week of being exposed to amazing calorie-laden foods. In the past, I have typically treated vacations as a time to cut loose and enjoy the rich foods and countless treats from which I usually refrain. Now, I am finding it is harder to get away with this cavalier approach without gaining weight. I am also reminded that the stakes are higher now since I have passed the age when my father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. So, my new mantra changes to “maintain, don’t gain” on vacation.

So, what’s a person to do to prevent that weight gain that so often occurs after a vacation? You can try to have a mindset of simple strategies to keep the calories in check.

Strategy #1: Don’t drink the calories. Smart choices make a difference at the airport, convenience stores, parties, bars or restaurants. Choose low-calorie beverages or simply use a smaller glass when pouring your own drink. For example, look at the calories saved:

Also, drink a boatload of water to stay hydrated when travelling. This will keep you going strong so you can make the most of your vacation.

Strategy # 2: Plan ahead. Eat something nutritious before heading to the airport. Bring healthy snacks for the plane and car. Those “snack” bags of trail mix in the airport or convenience stores often contain three servings per bag. One-hundred and fifty calories doesn’t sound so bad until you realize you have consumed three servings.

Strategy # 3: Portion control, portion control, portion control! Use a smaller plate, glass, or bowl. Remember, studies have shown that we really enjoy the first few bites of anything we eat (1). After that, our enjoyment goes downhill fast. So, by taking only a few bites of that yummy cheesecake or cookie, you not only get to enjoy what you’ve eaten but you’ve saved on calories as well. Splitting works too.

Strategy # 4: Seek out veggies. Fill half your plate with them. If there are no veggies at one meal, which can be the case at dives and diners, have more at another meal that day. Offer to make a big salad for a get together. Choose a restaurant with more veggies than just pickles, lettuce and tomato on a fried sandwich. At one family meal, I filled my plate with the yummy fresh salad and opted for pasta in the small salad bowl. I figured I saved a good 500 calories. This left room for cake later.

Strategy # 5: Do more than just eat. Not everything has to be about food, right? Throw Frisbee with the kids, catch lightening bugs, challenge family and friends to a hula hoop contest or go for walks. Position yourself away from the food so you are not reaching for chips or nuts while visiting family and friends. Walk laps at the airport when stuck in the terminal because of a delayed flight.

Enjoy those special getaways, and if you challenge yourself with the simple strategies, you may find that you don’t gain that typical weight during your vacation. I was surprised to have actually lost a pound during my week-long visit with family and friends.

References:
1. http://www.foodpsychology.cornell.edu/outreach/smallsnack.html

Travel->Maintain Don't Gain
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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