Vacations are a time to get away from the grind of everyday life – to indulge mind and body in relaxation and enjoyment. Unfortunately all that indulgence typically leads to a pound gained for each day that you're away. To help you combat these unwanted pounds, I've identified the 5 main reasons that people gain weight on vacation, as well as your strategic plan of avoidance. Reason #1: Not Having A Plan
Let's face it, the vacation mindset is a set-up for gaining pounds. Your priority is to relax, and for most that means eating, resting and forgetting the gym. Your best line of defense is to keep your fitness goals at the forefront of your mind. Your Plan: Before you leave for your trip sit down and set a goal. A realistic goal is to maintain your current weight or to lose a pound or two. The simple act of bringing your fitness goal to mind before leaving on your trip will greatly reduce your chances of coming home heavier. Reason #2: Indulgent Snacking
There's nothing like a vacation to cause you to throw all caution to the wind with indulgent snacking. Ice cream in the middle of the day, frozen coffee drinks topped with whipped cream, salty bags of chips and even a visit through a fast food drive thru. While these snacks may be fun, the damage will quickly catch up to you. Your Plan: Approach your trip with the strategy of indulging with control. If you really must have a sweet treat, then make it small and follow it up with a balanced, protein-filled meal. Another way to reduce indulgent snacking is to bring along your own healthy options. Dried or fresh fruit, unsalted nuts, health bars, cut veggies and low fat jerky are a good start. By filling up on these healthy snacks you will end up eating less when presented with a sweet or salty treat. Reason #3: Forgetting Portion Control
You have no choice but to dine out while on vacation and whether you're visiting 5 star restaurants or fast food diners, you're going to face the same problem: large portions. While the easiest thing to do with a big plate of food is to simply eat it all—you are on vacation after all...right?—that isn't the best for your waist. Your Plan: Decide here and now that you will not indulge in large portions. When you order your meal ask the waiter or waitress to bring you a to-go box. Take half of your meal and place it safely into the box before you even begin to eat. This gives you no choice but to eat a healthy portion. If you would rather not carry around a to-go box then ask that your entrée be made into a smaller portion. If it is dinnertime ask for the lunch-sized entrée. Reason #4: Eating Too Late
Who really wants to go to bed early while on vacation? The days stretch long and undoubtedly end with a nice big dinner. All these calories, eaten right before bed, will quickly land around your waist. Your Plan: Simply stop eating 3 hours before you go to bed. This easy trick is especially effective while on vacation. So skip that late night indulgence and wake up looking and feeling great. Reason #5: Not Exercising Enough (Or At All)
Oh, groan, do I really have to exercise while on vacation? Yes, you do! That is if you want to look and feel younger and more alive. Too often exercise is looked at as work, but vacations are the perfect time to really enjoy a good workout. You won't be rushing home, trying to squeeze in a few minutes at the gym, but rather the vacation workout can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Your Plan: Look at vacation workouts as a treat, and make it a priority. Here are some ideas:
Virtually every hotel these days has some type of workout room equipped with cardio machines, dumbbells and a universal machine, so make good use out of it.
Vacations are also a great time to take your workout outdoors; take a run on the beach or do sprints, pushups and crunches on a grassy field.
Make a conscious effort to be active everyday. Go on a brisk walk after your day's activities. This is a great way to see a new city, and also a great way to burn off extra calories. Take the stairs instead of elevator in your hotel and any other buildings you visit.
Go on a short jog in the mornings or evenings of your stay. If your hotel has a pool, swim a few laps each morning or evening.
Enjoy your vacation!