I recently went on holidays and I ate a lot. I also ate things I would normally not go near. Just by looking at them I knew they carried the amount of sugar, fat and protein in a single bite that I required in an entire day. Eating that way all the time would make me feel, well, pretty average. Trying something new while on holiday is not going to tip the scales or your emotions to the point of no return. However there are some simple hacks you can use to help manage your expanding waistline without having to book specific weight loss holidays.
Don’t get me wrong, binge eating is never okay. Some controversial new research argues that yoyo dieters may not actually sabotage themselves from ever getting the bodies they’ve always dreamt about. But they are making it bloody difficult by constantly re-setting expectations and habits. However, overindulging occasionally (e.g. when you’re on holidays) is okay.
If you ARE thinking of putting your hand up for an extra cocktail or asking for the dessert menu while you’re away relaxing, there are a few health hacks to stay on track before, during and after the holiday.
Train yourself into the holiday “Green Zone”
Do the hard work BEFORE your holiday. Don’t promise yourself you’ll just work it off afterwards – by that stage you may have fallen so far off the wagon you’ll be rolling (literally) down a Swiss mountain somewhere. So exercise consistently and eat well 90 per cent of the time for at least a month before you go away to set you on the right path. You will have good habits established in both your training and eating by then and they’ll be harder to crack when someone puts a cheese plate in front of you – for a while at least.
Research Healthy Activities
If you’re staying in a town. Find out if there’s a hill somewhere and better yet, if there is anything ON that hill that would be worth climbing up it to see. In most cases, (except for very flat Holland) there will be something you can climb up and you’ll be rewarded for it.
Exercise First Thing in the Morning
If you form the habit of going for a morning walk, run or riding to get your morning coffee as a part of your holiday routine, it will stick. If you promise yourself you will go out to train in the afternoon after a days worth of tourist activity, you will likely let yourself down consistently.
Drink Lots of Water
A Mai Tai may have water in it but just for the record, that doesn’t count. Aim for two litres a day. You will undoubtedly need more though given the amount of sugar and salt and preservatives that is in a lot of food you may eat when you’re on the road. You’ll need the water to hydrate and detoxify your body. Include a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar or sea salt if you can. It will help replenish your electrolytes, encourage you to drink more and alkalise.
Don’t Treat Every Meal Like it is Your Last Meal
Although you’re there to let your hair down and experience new things, you don’t have to base your menu choices on a similar scenario to facing the death penalty. The food will still be there next time you visit or even the next day if you love something that much.
Try a little of something, don’t finish the whole dish and leave some room for the next treat. Most of those things people tend to eat on holidays e.g. pasta, pizza, fried foods, heavy meat, processed foods, dairy-rich desserts, are really only food you should eat 10 per cent of the time, when most eat them for 100 per cent of their holidays.
Seek out Healthy Options
Don’t forget about fresh seafood, meat and local vegetables! There are fresh food markets and organic stores all around the world. It really IS a global movement. Eating from the local growers market is not only a great way to try their home-grown fare, it’s usually much cheaper. You can also practice the local lingo and ask growers where and how the food is grown. If you’re lucky, they may even give you a few new tips on how to cook them, local style.
Be Kind to Yourself
If you let yourself slip during time away from your normal routine, that’s a good thing. It’s normal, and it’s healthy. Put one foot forward and follow with the other and put the fork down for while (for fried and sugary foods that is).
Get Back to Basics
Most of us drink a little more alcohol than we normally would on holidays. When you’re back home, go off the booze for a week or two and avoid sugars and salty foods. Your body and your mind will thank you for it. Re-establish your healthy routine as soon as possible so you don’t bring your bad holiday habits home. Choose organic nuts, veggies, meats and fish. Then you can start preparing for your next getaway when you can indulge again; just a little bit.
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.