When we get into a great routine of working out, meal prepping eating healthy, staying hydrated and going to bed at a decent hour, it makes us feel amazing, both physically and mentally. We’re working hard, losing weight and feeling great and we are determined to not allow anything to stand between us and our progress! So, when we have an upcoming vacation, the thought of breaking our healthy routine causes anxiety and stress, right? Thankfully, we can go on vacation, stress-free, with these five tips to avoid that unwanted vacation weight gain!
*Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, we will earn a commission. Keep in mind I linked these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. Whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you!
1. Eat Two Healthy Meals a Day
Weight gain and weight loss are roughly 80% dependent on your diet—if not more. If you continue crushing your normal workouts while on vacation but overindulge at every meal, your efforts during your workouts won’t matter. Don’t obsess over having to find time to work out; just be more conscious of your eating choices. You’re on vacation—of course you are going to indulge, as you should! Just don’t splurge at every meal if you want to avoid that holiday weight gain.
My rule of thumb when on vacation is to have one indulgent meal a day. I personally prefer to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and enjoy more indulgent foods for dinner. But if I happen to splurge at breakfast, I’ll make healthier choices for the remainder of the day. I also will not eat unhealthy foods just because they are in front of me and just because I am on vacation. I’ll indulge when it’s something that I really want to eat; if I’m not really craving it, I’ll pass!
Something that helps motivate me to make better eating choices to avoid the vacation weight gain is to focus on how foods will make me feel. After all, I want to feel good while I am on vacation and I bet you do as well! Rather than eating healthy because I am worried about gaining weight, I eat healthy because I want to feel my best and feel energized to enjoy my vacation to the fullest. I know splurging at every meal will prevent me from feeling my best, which will prevent me from having my best vacation.
2. Intermittent Fast
Alright, let’s be real: If your vacations are anything like mine, they include late-night meals and snacks. This is the quickest way to gain that vacation weight! In my day-to-day life, I generally eat dinner around 6:30PM and then don’t eat again until breakfast the next morning. When I am on vacation, this definitely is not the case. To counteract my late-night eating, I’ll intermittent fast for 12 hours after my last bite of food. So, if I don’t finish eating until 11PM, I’ll just wait until 11AM the next morning to enjoy my breakfast.
How does this help me stay on track while on vacation and not gain weight? Intermittent fasting helps regulate and balance your hormones, especially your hunger hormones, plus it keeps your blood sugar in check. Both help you distinguish the difference between the hunger in your head and the hunger in your body, which also helps you control your appetite. Plus, intermittent fasting increases your metabolic rate, fat burning and digestion, all great things when you aren’t consuming your normal diet and are trying to avoid the typical vacation weight gain. Twelve hours between dinner and breakfast is really all you need to gain these benefits of intermittent fasting.
3. Find Fun Ways to Move
I go on vacation to take a break from my daily grind, so the last thing I want to do on vacation is force myself to hit the gym. I don’t get many vacations per year, so I don’t feel like I should force myself to do anything I don’t want to do. With that said, staying active is what makes me my happiest, so I still make it a priority. Instead of hitting the gym, though, I look for fun and new ways I can move, making it a part of my vacation experience! If I’m near mountains, I’ll enjoy a day hike. If I’m in a new city, I’ll rent a bike and explore. If I’m at the beach, I’ll go paddle boarding. I avoid the vacation weight gain by just having fun!
I know you most likely have health and fitness goals you are trying to reach, but vacation is not the time to try to reach them. There are 52 weeks in the year—you can take one of those weeks to not focus on your goals. Just focus on moving! It may not help you build more muscle, but it will help you maintain where you are now.
4. Stay Hydrated
This seems like such a cliché tip, right? I know, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, but let me explain why this tip made it on my list! Vacation usually includes the following two things: eating out and drinking alcohol. When eating out, you are most likely consuming foods that have been heavily salted, cooked in processed oils and are processed in general. These kinds of foods, along with alcohol, will cause bloating, inflammation and water retention. All of these symptoms can make you feel like you have gained all this weight, when in actuality you haven’t gained any at all. Staying hydrated will help reduce your bloating and water retention, making you feel more comfortable during your vacation and keeping you from stressing about your “gained weight.” Make it your goal to drink your body weight in ounces of water each day of your vacation and you will notice a difference!
5. Allow Yourself to Rest
I used to get so stressed about going on vacation because I was worried about how much weight I was going to gain. Wait, isn’t getting stressed about vacation an oxymoron? Vacations are meant to de-stress you, not stress you out! Guess what? It’s completely okay to let go of your diet and let go of your workout routine for a week. I’ve realized when I allow myself to just relax, I don’t gain any weight or lose any muscle at all. When I return home and step on the scale, nothing has changed! What?!
If you generally eat the same foods day in and day out, switching up your diet and even including less-than-healthy foods can be exactly what your body needs, especially if you regularly restrict your diet and calories. And worried about losing muscle? No way! It actually takes about three weeks of inactivity before you begin to lose muscle, not one week of vacation. Plus, it’s extremely beneficial to take one week off from them gym. If you are honest with yourself, in your everyday life you most likely don’t provide your body with the recovery it actually needs. You most likely go weeks and even months without proper rest, which can be detrimental to the results you want to see from working out. Taking a week off from working out could possibly be the best thing for your health and fitness progress, especially if you feel you are stuck on a plateau. You’re on vacation, so just relax already!
Bonus travel tip for staying healthy: Supplement with Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes
I’m about to get real with you right now: Traveling often causes constipation for many people. If you are one of those people and you are consuming less-than-healthy foods while on vacation, it can be extremely uncomfortable! Who wants to go their entire vacation having these foods floating around in their stomach, undigested? No thank you! While constipation isn’t necessarily the cause of weight gain, infrequent bowel movements can make you feel like you have gained weight. I’ve found the best way to combat travel constipation is by taking probiotics along with digestive enzymes.
You’re most likely eating foods your body isn’t used to eating, which can be more difficult to break down and digest. Eating different foods also introduces different bacteria into your gut. When traveling, I always supplement with digestive enzymes at each meal and take a probiotic first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. Supplementing with digestive enzymes will help break down that difficult-to-digest food, and taking a probiotic will help keep your gut bacteria balanced, which in turn also helps improve your digestion.