Last updated: January 9, 2024
We all look forward to that annual road trip or summer getaway, and if you have a hectic job or stressful family life this is particularly true.
It’s important for your mental health and your body that you get a break away from everyday stress that we all experience in today’s hectic lifestyle.
And vacations are meant to be about having fun and really unwinding away from the daily grind.
You might be worried beforehand, however, that your vacation is going to disrupt your health and fitness goals.
If you are concerned about what is going to happen to your goals and your waistline when you’re away from your familiar environment, be assured that it is possible to prevent weight gain while on holiday.
It is even possible to lose weight while you are away.
You can still have an amazing time, relax a lot and have a ton of fun on your vacation.
But instead of coming back bloated and tired from a week or two of excess, you can come home feeling even better than you did before you left.
Vacation weight gain is a common occurrence but if you really are concerned about it, here’s how to not gain weight on vacation.
How to not gain weight on vacation
Read on for the best tips on how not to gain weight on vacation and still enjoy yourself.
Drink lots of water
Often overlooked as a vital part of any weight loss plan, water is essential for fat burning (not to mention all metabolic reactions in the body).
Staying hydrated helps to keep your metabolism running at its best and is a great tip when you want to know how to not gain weight on vacation.
Some people also feel that drinking more water means they tend to eat less, as thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger.
It’s even more important if you are vacationing in a hot climate, as you will sweat more and therefore lose more water as a result.
Stick to at least two liters per day, and sip it rather than gulp it down.
Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go to make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day.
Walking is the perfect way to explore your surroundings and is ideal if you are a budget travel fan.
It’s also an easy way to burn calories without you really noticing.
To fit in extra steps every day, take an early morning walk along the beach, and skip getting a taxi back to your apartment in the evenings in favor of walking instead.
A great recommendation is to hit at least 10k steps a day. You can use a free steps tracker on your phone or fitness watch to ensure you hit this goal.
It’s easy to achieve when you’re out exploring and seeing the sights.
Up your intake of fruits and vegetables
One of the great things about going on vacation is the chance to try out local produce.
Visit the local grocery store and load your basket with fresh fruit and vegetables to make your own salads.
Load up any dish you make with vegetables first.
They’re essential for a healthy diet, and contain very few calories.
You can then add more high-calorie foods on the side, as well as lean protein.
This is your vacation so of course you can enjoy more indulgent foods like French fries too.
But the best way to make sure you don’t gain excess weight on vacation is to eat lots of veggies and smaller portions of unhealthy foods.
Body brush on vacation
This is an unusual tip for how to not gain weight on vacation.
However, if you can fit a body brush in your suitcase it’s worth it.
A couple of minutes dry brushing before a shower helps with lymphatic drainage and can also aid digestion.
It will help your body remove waste products in the lymphatic system and keep it running optimally.
This means less bloating and water retention, and much more energy.
An added benefit is that it exfoliates the skin, keeping your skin smooth and any tan you get will stay nice and even too.
Make better alcohol choices
If you drink alcoholic drinks then a cocktail or two is inevitable on holiday, and all part of the fun.
However, alcoholic beverages carry a lot of extra calories.
If you go for cocktails full of cream or fruit juices these can really ruin any weight loss journey you might be on.
You should also avoid regular soda as this is full of sugar and unnecessary calories.
The best tip is to stick to spirits with diet mixers, a small glass of wine with dinner or wine spritzers instead.
Savor what you are drinking.
Take your time, appreciate your drink and you’ll find you’re not knocking them back too quickly and consuming too much alcohol.
Swap a glass of water for every other drink and you’ll end up with less of a hangover too (or better still, none at all).
Do resistance exercises where you can
It’s not for everyone, but you can consider taking a set of resistance bands away with you on vacation.
They’re lightweight and easy to pack.
Keep them out in view in your hotel room and do a few exercises when you can.
For example, when waiting for the kettle to boil, the shower to be free or your sun tan lotion to sink in
Doing this several times a day really adds up.
Resistance exercises burn calories and keep the metabolism ticking over long after the exercise is done.
Resistance bands are inexpensive and many come in a travel bag.
Many people use intermittent fasting as a method for how to not gain weight on vacation.
By fasting for a few hours a day before you eat, you can reduce your calorie intake and allow your body to burn body fat for energy.
It’s a useful method of losing weight and can be incorporated in to your everyday life at home and on vacation.
If you combine intermittent fasting with healthy meals the rest of the time, you are more likely to find yourself in a calorie deficit on vacation.
This can lead to a drop in body weight.
It can be hard to get enough sleep on vacation.
However, sleeping well is a good tip when it comes to how to not gain weight on vacation.
Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the body.
It can lead to you craving carbohydrates for energy, make you more likely to eat late-night meals, and decrease the amount of physical activity you take.
In other words, try to prioritize sleep during your vacation time to keep your healthy choices in check.
Plan ahead for when hunger pangs strike
It’s a good idea to carry healthy snacks with you if you want to stick to healthy eating habits on vacation.
Keep a supply of low-calorie snacks that give you energy.
Some good choices include trail mix, bananas, low-fat yogurt, a piece of fruit or protein bars.
Carrying healthy options with you will mean you won’t head for the ice cream, chips or chocolate when out and about and feeling peckish.
Practice portion control
Controlling your portion sizes can take a lot of willpower on vacation.
This is never truer than when you’re on a cruise ship, or any of the all inclusive vacations where you can help yourself to huge plates of food whenever you want to.
If you really want to know how to not gain weight on vacation then remember that small portions are the only way to go.
Grab the small plates if you can before you go and look at the food options.
Smaller plates mean you can’t overeat by picking larger portions.
A small meal will stop you from eating too much fat or unhealthy foods.
Hit up the hotel gym
If you already have an exercise routine in place at home, you can continue it on your upcoming vacation.
Check in advance to see if your hotel has a gym.
If so, make sure to pack your workout clothes and commit to getting your workouts in on vacation.
Practice mindful eating
Taking the time to appreciate and enjoy the food on your plate is a really good tip when it comes to learning how to not gain weight on vacation.
Even if you’re only on a week-long vacation or a long weekend away, you may be introduced to new foods you don’t normally eat.
While eating, really savor every mouthful.
Pay attention to the taste of your food and be present and mindful at each meal you have.
By eating mindfully, you will find you eat more slowly and potentially eat less than you would if you eat without paying real attention to the moment.
Plan lots of activities outside of eating
Taking a vacation usually means being around lots of good food and it can be a lot of fun to plan where you’re going to eat while you’re away.
A useful method for how to not gain weight during vacation is to take the focus away from food as much as possible.
The first step is to plan lots of fun activities that don’t involve eating at all.
For example, snorkelling, taking a long walk, sightseeing, taking in a show, shopping or visiting cultural sites.
Don’t expect too much
It’s important to manage your expectations.
Seeking new ways on how to not gain weight on vacation is a good idea if you’re serious about your weight loss goals.
However, vacations and the holiday season are particularly difficult times to control the calories you take in.
You aren’t likely to be preparing most of your own meals and have little control over what goes in to them.
All you can do is choose a healthy breakfast, for example, over a less healthy one and so on.
You may gain a little, you may lose a little or you may just stay the same.
Relax and enjoy yourself
Possibly the most important point here, since that’s what vacations are about.
Stress messes with your blood sugar and insulin levels, and can leave you craving sugary and fatty foods.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, remember you are on vacation and you are meant to be enjoying yourself.
A few pounds gain is not the end of the world and is easily sorted out when you get home.
If you are serious, however, about not disrupting your progress then the above tips on how to not gain weight on vacation are easy to follow and make such a difference.
It’s as much about how you feel as how you look, and making healthier choices is good for the mind as well as the body.
You can still have a good time on vacation while avoiding holiday weight gain and come back feeling better than ever.
You don’t need to follow a really strict diet when it comes to knowing how not to gain weight on vacation.
Is vacation weight gain temporary?
It’s most likely that, if you have gained a few extra pounds on your vacation, this is not fat gain but is merely water weight.
Disruptions to how you would normally eat, extra salt in your meals and factors like flying can all contribute to water retention which shows up on the scale as a little bit of extra weight.
The good news is that this is a temporary gain.
How to lose weight gained on vacation
If you feel you have gained too much weight on vacation, simply going back to your regular routine the first day you get home will help you get back on track.
Stick to your normal diet and exercise routine and you will see noticeable changes within only a few days.
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