It’s not unusual to decide you want to lose some weight before going on vacation. In fact, an impending vacation is one of the top reasons people give for starting diet and exercise regimens. Of course you want to look fantastic on your trip, but hopefully you want to look just as good on the way home. Unfortunately, the reality is that the temptations of vacation food and eating habits often overwhelm the strongest willpower and results in all those pounds returning. It doesn’t have to happen to you, though; planning ahead and remembering to make sensible choices will keep you looking great.
The flight out is your first obstacle. Don’t skip any meals before getting on board; eat something healthy and filling and you’ll be a lot less tempted to grab a soda or empty calorie snacks. Airports are danger zones. You’ll be surrounded by fast food and snacks and you might be so hungry you don’t care what you eat. Look for healthful options on airport menus such as salads or fruits. Better yet, pack your own emergency store of healthy snacks like dried fruit and unsalted nuts, and take a look around the airport instead of sitting around feeling bored and hungry.
Once you arrive, pay attention to what health amenities your hotel offers. Just as healthy eating begins at home, when you’re on vacation, it begins in your hotel. Ideally, before you even book the trip, research your hotel’s food options and see how health-friendly it is. Many hotel web sites will list their menu options and, if they don’t, a phone call should suffice. Before you even arrive, you can scope out the hotel’s area online and see what’s nearby. If you’re going to be surrounded by health food markets and local, health-conscious restaurants, great. If, however, you see you’ll be bombarded by fast food chain advertisements and you’re only nearby grocer is a gas station, you might reconsider your hotel. Determining this information can be very difficult, especially with the misleading information hotels add to draw in business. I have turned to consumer reviews from other travelers to determine the pertinent information. I like to use Gogobot because they offer reviews regarding a number of different aspects. On a recent trip south to Miami, I was able to navigate through a list of hotel reviews regarding their amenities, the restaurants nearby, things to do, and I could even see a street view of the surrounding area. Needless to say, resources like these are lifesavers when planning a trip.
Speaking of restaurants, feel free to go out; you’re on vacation, after all. This is where you can easily pack on all the pounds you lost, though, so stay sensible. Eat something small before you eat, like a piece of fruit or some vegetables. It’ll keep you out of the complimentary bread or chips. Scope out the menu online before you go and see if there’s anything that looks appetizing and healthful to you; food descriptions are helpful for this. If it’s fried, battered, smothered, or otherwise inferred to be covered in something or loaded or bottomless, avoid it. Places serving fish or with well-stocked salad bars are a dieter’s friend.
Once you’re actually in the restaurant, stick to what you ordered. Don’t be afraid of making substitutes; swap out carb-loaded sides like mashed potatoes or fries to a more diet-friendly helping of sautéed vegetables. Don’t think you have to skimp on flavor; get something you know you’ll like, but remember you aren’t compelled to eat it all. Share your plate with someone, or request half your meal be boxed up to go before it gets to you. It will make a great quick lunch the next day, saving money and the calories of eating a full meal elsewhere.
Balance is the key word to keeping pounds off while on vacation. It’s supposed to be fun, not depriving. On the other hand, don’t think you can eat as much of anything you want without consequence simply because you’re on vacation. Choose to sample instead of gorging, and don’t eat something awful because it’s healthy. Balance between health and indulgence.
Guest Contributor: Cole MillenTweet