Is holiday weight gain inevitable?
How many times have you heard yourself say;
“Oh go on, you’re on holiday, enjoy yourself!” which then resulted in eating/drinking way too much and left you feeling uncomfortably full. Shortly followed by the uncomfortable wave of deep regret and thoughts of restrictive dieting once the holiday is over. The good news is, you CAN enjoy yourself on holiday whilst ALSO sticking to your health goals and values, and it’s a lot easier than you may think!
*Check out these 3 top tips for avoiding weight gain on holiday (including giving yourself unconditional permission to eat!)*
My goal in sharing these tips is to help you continue to feel good when you’re not in your usual environment or routine. My goal is definitely NOT to encourage you to obsess about food and exercise while on holiday. In fact, a holiday is a perfect opportunity for you to go all in and get a glimpse of what life might be like if you give yourself unconditional permission to eat what you like, and exercise when you like (or not at all), whilst ALSO acting in line with your values.
While recently on holiday, I found my behaviour around food changed for the better when I told myself “you can have the ice cream at 10am if you want.” It turns out I didn’t want ice cream for breakfast, I much preferred to have it when I actually fancied it.
So without further ado here are my 3 top tips:
1. DON’T EAT UNLESS YOU’RE HUNGRY.
Mindless eating can become frequent on holiday, here’s how you can practice eating only when hungry in action:
- “Free breakfast until 9:30am” – Not hungry yet, I’ll eat when I am.
- “I fancy an ice cream. Do you want one too?” – No, I don’t fancy one right now, so I’ll get one when I do.
- “We are offering a free dessert with every meal!” – Thanks but no thanks, I’ve just eaten your famous spaghetti bolognese and I’m good!
Now obviously sometimes you are going to be challenged here, perhaps you are going out for dinner as a family and you’re not that hungry at the time you go out to eat. You’re not going to point blank refuse to eat, so you might eat something small or stop eating when you feel full. This tip is about listening to your hunger and satiety cues and really owning it.
2.GET OFF YOUR SUN LOUNGER AND WALK!
If you’re a sun worshiper like me (I now slap on factor 50, who am I?!), it can be easy to bathe for practically the whole day and not move. Increasing your NEAT activity is one of the best ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, manage your weight and support your fitness. Keeping up with this whilst on holiday will help you to balance out the potential increase in calories from food or drink.
Here’s some ways to increase your neat without it becoming a chore:
- Go for a walk along the beach, maybe catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset!
- In between reading chapters of your book/waking up from a much-needed sunshine nap (wipe the dribble away first) get up, stretch your body out and take a walk!
- Play games or do an activity: bat and ball, volleyball, football, frisbee, swim or hire a kayak.
- Explore where you’re staying on foot. Are there any local attractions or historic monuments you can walk to? What about restaurants/bars? Perhaps you choose a few that aren’t just a few steps from your accommodations.
- Walk after meals to aid digestion.
3.GIVE YOURSELF UNCONDITIONAL PERMISSION TO EAT (SERIOUSLY!)
If you are somebody who doesn’t “trust” yourself with food, a holiday is a fantastic opportunity to give yourself the space to test it. Whether your trip is all-inclusive or not, the temptation to eat whatever you want can be highly triggering for some;
“What if I can’t stop going back for more?!”
“I won’t let myself eat this at home so I’ll go all out!!”
If you do experience the want to overdo it, pause and check in with yourself:
Do you really want 2 more pancakes and nutella? Do you really want another strong cocktail? Or do you just need to sit still and allow yourself to fully relax? Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and sit with them. This process will help you check in with your mind and body and give you the space to redirect your actions.
When you give yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods on holiday, you may find this approach doesn’t need to stop on holiday. You may actually find doing the same at home improves your relationship with food which will help you to move closer towards your weight loss/health goals.
Next time you head out on holiday, don’t forget to pack these 3 tips!
One last helpful reminder: It’s normal to try these tips and trip up along the way.
You might hit 15000 steps one day and you can’t be bothered the next. You might give yourself unconditional permission to eat crisps and end up mindlessly eating an entire share bag. You also might say yes to an ice cream even when you’re not that hungry. That’s ok, you have not failed!
Tripping up allows room for AWARENESS; and awareness allows room for mindful change.
I hope you found this blog helpful, please let me know if you use these tips when you take your next holiday or break and how it turned out for you…
All my Love,