Americans gain around one pound or more during their vacation time each year. And most of us never burn off that extra weight, says a study published in the journal of Physiology and Behaviour. For someone who frequently travels (for pleasure and a living) this made my stomach turn.
I’m sitting on this five-hour plane ride to Varadero and I’m already coming up with excuses. “Well by the time I get to the hotel…it’ll be late…then I’ll have a drink…maybe tomorrow.”
Vacations are needed for a reason. We over-extend ourselves at work. We push ourselves at the gym. The idea of total relaxation comes into mind. Not having to cook your own meals. Having a delicious beverage at any time of day. A beautiful beach with a comfy beach chair that’s just calling for a mid afternoon nap. Ahhhh, all-inclusives. It has been a while since I’ve been to one. My boyfriend and I have been exploring the world over the last couple of years, mainly in regions that don’t offer all-inclusive packages.
So here I am, managed to pack all my stuff into a carry on (seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever done) and we’re heading to the beautiful white beaches of Cuba.
There’s always one thing that worries me about these trips. Over indulgences into lazy-living causes a loss of progress in the gym, weight gain and exhaustion. It’s almost like I need another vacation after my vacation just to feel back to normal.
This time I’m trying out something different. Instead of a half-assed effort to make it to the gym two times in a week and eating my bodyweight in bacon, I’m going to treat myself and feel good. I’m not restricting myself. I’ll be having drinks, eating good food and enjoy basking in the sun, but I’ll also be listening to my body.
Here are my tips for staying (somewhat) healthy during one of these trips.
1. Stay Away From Sugary Drinks
The average pina colada has 245 calories per drink and 31.5 grams of sugar (nutrition info from https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/view/pina-colada,3055/). Multiply that by 15 and not only will you be consuming an immense amount of fat-storing sugar; you can also risk dehydration (leading to drinking more) and a wicked hangover. There’s no problem with trying one, but avoid having a daiquiri ase your go-to drink. My beavy of choice: wine or a mojito sans sugar.
2. Sub Half (or more) of Your Drinks for Water
It’s so easy to get caught up in having multiple drinks by the pool. It’s difficult to be the odd one out, especially when you’re on vacation. What worked for me is when my boyfriend ordered drinks, I’d swap my alcoholic beverage for a glass of water every second time. Helps keep you hydrated too!
3. Hit the Gym or do a Workout in the Morning
Nothing is more difficult (and potentially dangerous) then trying to do a workout in the late afternoon after being exhausted from the heat and sipping on drinks all day. Any time I tried to do a workout after the beach I either put in a poor effort, or skipped it. Working out in the morning will help you feel good all day (and sexy in your swimsuit!) and give you motivation to go sooner than later. You’ll also avoid missing out on some much-needed beach time.
Need some workouts? Check out my free Holiday Fit Plan!
4. Avoid Eating More Than One Plateful at the Buffet
It’s easy to get sucked in to all the food – different pastas, fried meats, breads, rice, etc. You want to try it all. And guess what? You’re probably there for a whole damn week or two so TRUST ME, you’ll have a chance to try it all. When you make food at home are you eating three or four plates of it? Probably not. If you have to have two plates – I suggest starting off with one plate of salad/veggies before you go into your main course. No one ever feels good after having three plates of ten different meats and deep fried fixings.
5. Book all Your a la carte Restaurants
Not only are the a la carte restaurants so much better, the meals are portioned out to a normal serving. Generally these restaurants offer three-courses, forcing you to eat slower. Which allows your body to absorb it, enjoy it, and feel full with less.
6. Opt for the Menu Restaurant for Lunch
This saved me on my trip to Cuba. Same as what was said above, eating from a menu instead of a buffet will satisfy your appetite and you’ll feel much better.
7. Take Part in Activities and Tours
Yes! Traveling is all about seeing the sights, enjoying the culture and having fun! This way you can skip the gym or a workout because it’s a workout in itself. Here’s a list of activities you should get into on your next vacation:
8. Park Yourself Further From the Bar
It’s easy to gorge yourself with boozy drinks when you barely have to stand up to get one. The farther away you are from the bar, the harder you’ll have to think if you really need to walk five minutes to get your third cerveza of the morning.
9. Eat Dinner Earlier Than Later
Scheduling you’re a la carte dinner at 930 pm is setting yourself up for trouble. Unless you have lunch at 4pm, you’ll be ready to eat dinner much earlier, resulting in having two dinners or a tonne of unhealthy snacks. Don’t worry too much if you do have a later dinner though; many studies have debunked the diet myth that eating after 6:00 p.m. is a cause of weight gain. It has more to do with what you’re eating and how many calories you consume.
10. Take Breaks from the Heat & Hydrate
Ninety per-cent of the time we think we are hungry – we are actually thirsty (or dehydrated). Drinking lots of water before, and during meals will help fill you up and prevent over-eating. Spending a lot of time in the sun can also lead to craving extra salty foods, again due to dehydration. Take some time to re-hydrate and relax out of the sun a few times a day.
Most importantly, enjoy your vacation! I hope these tips will help you feel less lethargic when you get back from your next vacation!