The media loves to hype up the dreaded “vacation weight gain”, telling us we are all bound to struggle with weight issues at the very time we should be enjoying our well-deserved getaway. Sure, most of us allow ourselves to indulge in any type of food we like during vacation, and why shouldn’t we? Experiencing different cuisine is part of the fun of taking a trip! However, this doesn’t mean we are all doomed to buy a new wardrobe of larger clothing or hours on end spent on the treadmill to whip ourselves back into shape when we return home. In fact, trying to control your weight before, during and after a vacation can actually be harmful to your health.
What is Normal Weight Gain?
While you may have heard that gaining a few pounds during vacation is typical, it’s quite unlikely that your body mass will change drastically in the span of the average getaway. So even if you do eat whatever you want during your vacation, the most you might gain is roughly a pound if you are away for a week. Furthermore, a small amount of weight gain shouldn’t last long once you return to your normal everyday life back home, where your body will balance itself back to its normal weight within a few weeks, no diet needed.
Water Retention Woes
Temporary water retention is often to blame if you do notice your clothing feels more snug than usual or you go up a few pounds on vacation. There are several reasons this is a common issue while traveling. Consuming more sodium is a frequent contributor because our bodies are designed to closely regulate sodium levels. This means that when you eat saltier foods than your body is used to, it is going to hold onto more fluids while it balances itself out.
Eating more carbohydrates than usual can be a factor, too, particularly if you were limiting them before your vacation. Visiting climates that are hotter than your home area is another reason your body might temporarily retain water, especially in your hands and feet. However, these temporary fluctuations are completely normal, so rest easy knowing your body will recover naturally within a few days.
Find a Healthy Balance
Avoid going on a restrictive diet before vacation, because you are then likely to overindulge during your trip and may even continue when you return home. A better approach to mindful eating features lots of healthy choices like fruits and vegetables, but also includes occasional treats; just limit portion sizes! When you do indulge, allow yourself to truly enjoy every bite without guilt.
Pay attention to your body’s natural signals by eating when you feel hungry and stopping when you feel full. Take along some healthy snacks containing protein, fiber and complex carbs when you are out and about. And remember to keep your body moving, even if it’s just a stroll on the beach. Keeping yourself healthy on vacation is as simple as that!