Even the strictest dieters and those that keep a close eye on what they eat all year round are susceptible to weight gain when heading off on holiday. Between the proliferation of bars and restaurants, the general lack of cooking facilities at most holiday accommodation and a general sense of freedom and fun, piling on the pounds can be nothing short of inevitable.
Fortunately, it is not impossible to enjoy a holiday without cutting back to much, all while ensuring that any diet plans and good intentions are not completely cast aside, and the following are our 10 top tips for anyone seeking to strike a balance between enjoying themselves on their break and making sure that they stay in good shape while doing so.
1. Keep an Eye on Hydration Levels
A general tip for weight management is to ensure that the individual involved is always hydrated, as a major downfall for putting on weight is when people think they are hungry, when in fact they are just thirsty. Outside of skiing and sight-seeing, most people choose to holiday somewhere that is warmer than what they may be accustomed to at home, and this can increase the chances of being dehydrated. Keep water to hand as much as possible and make time to ensure that your intake does not decrease compared to what you might be used to.
2. Don’t Go Overboard on the Alcohol
It does not take an expert to observe that alcohol and maintaining the ideal weight do not exactly go hand in hand, and while a holiday is a great excuse to up the intake, moderation remains key. Too much to drink can impair judgement, and a person that may normally be happy with a chicken salad will be eyeing up a kebab in no time. The choice of alcohol can also play a part – lower-calorie alternatives to beer, cider and other calorific drinks can make a massive difference, with white spirits like rum and vodka mixed with diet or zero mixers being the ideal alternative.
3. The Rules of a Balanced Diet Still Apply
Going on holiday is an excuse for a lot of things, but not for cutting everything but carbs out of a diet. Balance is key and anyone looking to come back no heavier than when they left should remember to include vegetables, fruit and other dietary essentials in each meal.
4. Feel Free to Ditch the Diet Temporarily
Those that are currently seeking to lose weight will almost certainly be on a diet of sorts. The structure and organisation of them can be very helpful on a day to day basis and as part of a routine, but they are rarely ideal for being away from home. The more complex the requirements, the less likely someone in the holiday mindset will be to stick to the rules, and it is much more beneficial to maintain general habits than to follow requirements to the letter.
5. Make Time for a Daily Dietary Boost
Even those that have taken the decision to eat pretty much what and when they want on holiday can still take the time to ensure a semblance of balance with a daily boost to their diet. Whether following a plan or merely eating positively, certain foods, known as ‘super’ or ‘boost’ foods, can have a positive impact with little effort. Flax and chia seeds, green vegetables and proteins can all help here, and they can quickly and easily be knocked up into a smoothie or other convenient form of consumption.
6. Plan Ahead
Whether heading out for a day of sight-seeing or planning to relax on the beach, people can save money and their waistline with a little forward thinking. By packing a bottle of water and a couple of healthy snacks such as pieces of fruit, they will be able to grab some nourishment as and when they feel like it, without being beholden to whatever shops and vendors are nearby.
7. Try to Stick to the Small Plate Rule
It is easy to forget when outside the standard routine that not every meal on holiday is an eating contest. Some people will be seeking the optimal value for money from their all-inclusive snacks, while others will love the convenience and breadth of choice of the buffet. Start small and eat until you are no longer hungry, rather than when you’re full – you can always go back for more.
8. Make the Most of the Facilities you Do Have
While we have acknowledged on a couple of occasions that the cooking facilities on holiday are likely to fall someway short of what people have at home, there are usually some options. Even a microwave and a kettle can be enough to enjoy a warm, filling meal that can easily be paired with foods that require no preparation, such as premade salads.
9. Holidays are not an Excuse to Get Lazy
For many people, the nature of a holiday is a reason to enjoy a break from the norm. However, maintaining or losing weight by matching the calories in to those expended does not change regardless of where you are. Swimming in the hotel pool, walking to local sights and even taking the stairs rather than the lift can all be beneficial for keeping close tabs on the waistline.
10. Explore Further Afield for Fantastic Food
Many holidays, by their nature, take place in touristy areas and hotspots. The easy, local choices are therefore restaurants that cater to holidaymakers and chain fast food restaurants. By branching out, it is possible to not only find new places, but also to discover the eateries used by the locals. This makes for a great cultural insight, but also the opportunity to sample what the locals eat on a day to day basis – hopefully as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle!