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Avoid vacation weight gain
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Do you tend to gain weight on vacation, and then feel like you have to start over every time this happens? I promise vacation weight gain is not inevitable. With a few simple diet and exercise strategies, you’ll keep your weight in check and won’t have to start all over when you return.

I’ve worked with countless weight loss clients who have gained anywhere from 3-15 pounds when on vacation. Through this, I have developed several key strategies to keep them on track while still thoroughly enjoying every vacation moment.

Here are 7 easy ways to avoid vacation weight gain and feel amazing while you’re away.

1. Plan ahead

Similarly to how you would plan your meals while at home, mapping out an eating plan for a vacation can keep you on track. 

You don’t have to plan out every single meal, but familiarizing yourself with the options available where you’ll be can be super helpful. 

If you’re staying in a house or condo, you can plan out a list of healthy snacks and food you’ll have on hand. I help many of my clients make a vacation pantry list, so they get to their vacation oasis feeling prepared with delicious, nourishing food.

If you’re staying in a hotel or will be eating out more, get familiar with the local restaurants and healthy takeout options. Scope out their menus and make a mental note of their healthier choices. This will make it less likely you’ll make a spontaneous decision at the moment and overdo it on heavy, filling food that leaves you feel sluggish.

2. Choose wisely

Do you tend to overindulge on vacation just because you want to let loose and say screw it? While you deserve to indulge a little and treat yourself, going overboard just for the sake of doing it is not worth it.

Instead of trying to have everything, focus on what you truly want. Do you have a favorite cocktail, food, or dessert you haven’t had in a while? Preserve your splurges for these foods. For me, that would be a nice crisp chardonnay by the pool. 

In this way, you’re choosing wisely, and these small indulgences will feel much more worth it to you. They will also have a very minimal effect on your waistline, if any. 

3. Stay active

Keep up with some sort of daily physical activity when you’re away. There are always options to stay active no matter where you are. 

Some ideas are going for a daily morning walk or run, bike ride, swimming, playing sports like beach volleyball, hiking, or doing some weights or a HIIT video in your hotel. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you’re moving and it’s something you want to do. 

Then it won’t feel like a chore and will enhance your vacation!

Avoid vacation weight gain
Image credit: Canva

4. Practice portion control

It’s not always about what you’re eating, but how much of it you’re having. If you practice portion control, you’ll have more flexibility in enjoying your favorites without worrying about vacation weight gain. This is especially relevant in restaurants with large portions.

Make it easier on yourself by splitting your meal with a friend, as half of the portion is probably what a real portion should be. Alternatively, you can ask for a to-go container when you order and put half of your meal in it right away.

Another trick that helps me is putting my napkin over my meal to signal to myself that I’m done. As soon as I feel my belly getting full, I do this and it deters me from wanting to eat more.

Doing this will make it harder to overeat, and you’ll still leave the restaurant feeling satisfied (and not bloated and overly full!).

5. Focus on the experience

Focusing on the experience of your vacation and the people you’re with can lessen the desire to overeat. You will put more energy and focus into the enjoyment of what you’re doing, and the food will become more of an afterthought.

After all, a vacation is all about the experience and the memories, not the type of food you’re eating. So think about what you’re most excited about on your next vacation, and fully embrace it!

6. Limit eating out to once/a day (if possible)

If you can help it, try to limit eating out to once a day. This is because the more meals you eat out, the more calories, fat, and sodium you’ll likely consume. These extra calories and salt are two of the biggest culprits for vacation weight gain.

So if you’re staying in a house or condo, you may have more flexibility to do this. You can enjoy 2 out of your 3 meals at home and eat out once a day. If you are in a hotel, then simply choose one meal a day to splurge for that fancy cocktail or dessert.

7. Don’t skip meals

As much as possible, stick to a regular meal routine when on vacation. Skipping meals or waiting too long to eat breakfast sets you up for cravings and overeating later in the day when all the temptations are in front of you. 

Make sure you have a good, nourishing breakfast with protein such as oatmeal with nut butter, eggs, or a smoothie with protein powder or Greek yogurt. This will set you up for the day and keep your hunger and blood sugar balanced.

Why Is Gaining Weight On Vacation A Big Deal?

Avoid vacation weight gain
Image credit: Canva

You may be wondering how much does this even matter? Is gaining just a few pounds really a big deal, and why can’t you just overindulge and not care for a week or two? 

Well, it depends on how much you gain and how long you were away. Old habits can come back quickly, and also the more you gain the harder it feels to get back to your routine when you come back home.

So even if you gain just a few pounds, you are setting yourself back and throwing away some of your hard work. And when you eat or drink too much on vacation, you waste precious time not feeling your best. 

But you don’t have to be super strict either and eat salads every day. This is why maintaining weight is more of a realistic goal during vacation than weight loss. By just simply maintaining your weight, you’re keeping your habits and routine as consistent as possible, which makes your life that much easier when you return.

Picture yourself walking or running on the beach (or the trail, while sightseeing, etc,) and imagine how you want to feel. Do you want to feel bloated or sluggish when taking vacation photos, or light and energetic? 

Use that as your motivator when you’re in the moment and are tempted to overindulge just because.

Avoiding Vacation Weight Gain Is Possible

When it comes down to it, you don’t need to overeat or overindulge on vacation to have a good time. Our society likes to make us think that, for their financial gain. In reality, It’s the experiences and people you’re with that matter. 

And chances are, you’ll have a much better time when you don’t overeat as you’ll feel physically and mentally in a better place. So go ahead and enjoy your vacation, but plan and keep healthy travel food on hand.

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