By Dr. Mike Moreno
Author of The 17 Day Diet Cookbook
Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean going off your diet. Sure vacations are the time you want to kick back, relax, and enjoy everything—but kicking back doesn’t have to kick out eating right. Here are some practical suggestions to help you enjoy your vacation without undoing all the hard work you have put into losing weight.
Decide on what your diet plan is for the vacation. Do you want to maintain your current weight or continue to keep losing weight? For weight loss, you’ll have to make sure you are sticking to your cycle; if you want to maintain your weight but haven’t reached your ultimate weight, you can follow cycle 4 for vacation and then switch back to cycle 1 when you come home.
Don’t take the “all you can eat buffet” and “unlimited food plans” literally. You can wind up eating a day’s worth of calories in one meal if you do.
Stick to a regular schedule and make sure to eat meals and filling healthy snacks. That way you won’t get hungry and reach for chips or a muffin for “a little something to tide you over.”
Make snack packs—pack a sandwich bag with a mix of cut-up veggies or sturdy fruit and throw it in your bag so when everyone else is eating a candy bar, you have something more satisfying.
Focus on the other enjoyable aspects of the vacation, rather than the food—the locale, the sightseeing and the activities, your family and friends.
Make sure to catch your zzzs: getting a good night’s sleep helps the body produce leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and helps you feel full and satisfied after you eat.
Make healthy food choices as much as possible, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. To keep your hunger in check, lean towards high-fiber foods and foods with a high water content, such as raw or steamed whole vegetables and fruits. A sensible approach can help you avoid overeating.
If you don’t see something you can eat on a menu or buffet table, ask for something. Many resorts, restaurants and cruise lines offer dietary options.
Keep an eye on your serving sizes and always practice portion control. Your hand is a great way to measure portions and you always have it with you.
Make sure to move. You might want to lie back and do nothing but your body actually wants to move. Exercise releases endorphins which help you relax—and isn’t that the whole point of vacation? Take advantage of every exercise opportunity offered at a resort or on a cruise. If you are on your own, find a way every day to get in at least a half hour of walking.
If you happen to splurge, get back on course right away. Remembering how great you look and feel since you’ve lost weight and how much better you will look and feel when you reach your goal will help you keep that splurge from becoming a habit.
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