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Many of us over-indulge when we’re on holidays. We tell ourselves that it’s ok to eat and drink what we like. We’re on holidays so our natural instinct is to relax and take our eye off the ball. However I’m here to tell you from personal experience that generally the weight we gain from holidays tends to stay put long term. So my advice is beware of the Buffet! And other unhealthy habits when on holidays.
Sometimes your biggest adversary are people you travel with who with egg you on and tell you: “Let your hair down. You’re only on holidays once! Worry about your diet when you get home.” But generally the people giving this advice are tall and skinny and never have to worry about gaining weight!
So here I am, not claiming to be an expert on weight loss, to tell you what works for me when I’m on holidays and to help you beware of the buffet!
Most large hotels and resorts offer buffet style meals where you are offered a large selection of foods and unfortunately they’re not always healthy options. Cruise ships are another culprit of the buffet and I’ve discovered that the foods they offer are generally high in calories. Eating fatty bacon, fried eggs, hash browns, croissants, danish pastries and sugary fruit juices every day for breakfast for a few weeks is naturally going to take its toll. Believe me I’ve tried it!
I recently spent two weeks in Sri Lanka and The Maldives and almost every meal was buffet style. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was literally shoved down our throats every day and by the end I was totally over eating and overeating! By the second week I was seeking healthier alternatives to the buffet and asking to see the a-la-carte menu, where at least I had some control over my meal portions and choices.
Another pitfall of controlling what we eat when we holiday is the tendency to overdo the local cuisine. Now there’s nothing wrong with this because this is all about experiencing and tasting the specialities of what each country offers. However it can sometimes get out of control. Remember Liz in the book Eat, Pray, Love, where she over-indulges in pizza and pasta during her stay in Italy? The result being that she put on heaps of weight from living on the local cuisine.
I have to confess that when I travelled to Italy in 2017 I was eating heaps of pasta and drinking Aperol Spritzers every single day. Hence I returned home with a few extra kilos to lose!
Yes I know, I know! The idea of a holiday is to put your feet up and do nothing. However, after indulging in that buffet breakfast it’s a good idea to try to walk it off. Being too sedentary on holidays will make you feel sluggish and just plain blergh. Even if it’s a short walk or light yoga class, it’s better than nothing and it will help you feel much better and hopefully burn some of those excess calories.
Particularly when you’re on a bus tour or cruise there can be days where all you’re doing is travelling and not getting much exercise. Take every opportunity during bus stops to walk around and instead of feeding your face for an hour use some of that time to take a short walk. On cruises it’s easier because you can walk around the promenade on the ship or go to the fitness room on the ship and jump on the treadmill for 30 minutes or so.
I met someone recently on holidays in The Maldives who openly admitted he was going to work his way through the cocktail menu and then start all over again! Most cocktails contain sugary syrups, coconut cream, alcoholic liqueurs or mixers that are high in sugar. These can really impact heavily on your daily calorie intake and sometimes are so sickly sweet that they make you feel dreadful, (not to mention the hangover the next morning!)
I’ve been known to enjoy a cocktail or two during holidays, but I generally avoid the creamy, sugary and sweet ones in preference to something a little less sickly. I find a nice Gin & Tonic is just as enjoyable.
“I’ll have a triple bacon cheeseburger, supersize that please with two large fries, supersize of course, a two-litre Coke and a supersize chocolate shake….” Don’t fall into this trap, particularly in the USA where they have a preoccupation with supersizing their food portions. It’s a big trap and I have found that food portions in general in the USA are much larger than ours.
I also found in Italy that the restaurant waiters bring out a basket of bread before your meal and in some cases a free aperitif. You can request no bread if you don’t want to not fill up your tummy before your entree or main meal. Also don’t be afraid to ask for a child’s serving or leave some food on your plate when you’re on holidays.
Ok so you’ve let yourself go on holiday and have returned home with a few extra kilos. Not to worry, you can now return back to your normal eating habits and exercise regime.
If all else fails start a weight loss program that fits into your lifestyle. I’ve recently discovered an app that assists with creating healthier habits, reduces our risk of chronic health problems, reverses disease, and fosters healthier relationships with ourselves in the process. The app is called Noom. I’m going to give it a go so watch this space!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.