Vacation Weight Gain
Vacation! With the summer upon us (or almost, at least) that means that vacation season is here! Whether you vacation in the summer or at another time, it leads to a unique set of challenges with reaching our weight loss goals. Being on a different schedule, which often includes less than ideal food choices.
If you expect this blog to be giving you suggestions for staying on plan during your vacation, well, you're going to be disappointed. Because I am going to tell you the complete opposite. Vacations aren't for stressing about your diet and exercise. Vacations are supposed to be a break from every day life. To lay back and enjoy yourself (ok, or to stress about travel arrangements, wrangling family members, etc.)
So when it comes to vacations don't expect to stick to your diet and exercise plans. If anything, just try to do a little better than your usual vacation eating. You aren't going to destroy your hard work with a week or so off plan. Will your weight go up? Probably. But that weight gain is temporary and comes back off very quickly. A break in your routine can actually be good for the process. You're allowed to take a break and you deserve it! You may find that taking that time off from focusing on your weight loss goals helps you gain renewed focus when you get back to your every day life.
On the flip side, it can be difficult to transition back to a controlled eating and exercise plan after some time off. It can be easy to get frustrated by this. It's OK to ease back into your weight loss plan. Have patience with yourself! Give yourself a day or two to just settle back into being at home. Then, if so motivated, get back to your plan full on and if not, pick some small pieces to focus on first adding the rest back in after a day or two. For me, that means I try to start tracking my food again after a day or two home, but I don't focus on limiting my foods in any way. I don't always succeed in tracking my food consistently, some days I start tracking and don't finish. But I start again the next day. After a couple days of tracking, then I start looking at my calories and macros and make my daily plans in addition to tracking. Sometimes I do the opposite and eat close to my usual foods for a day, and add the tracking in later. Despite not tracking consistently, after my recent vacation I lost most of my vacation weight within a week with just half assed trying to eat close to my ideal foods.
That is because vacation weight gain is primarily water retention and waste. Traveling alone makes a person bloat, you may get swelling in your ankles for example after a long flight or car ride. The extra sodium often present in food when eating out also contributes to water retention. And of course, eating more than usual means there is more bulk working its way through your system. It's normal- and most of it is not gained fat. Which is why you don't need to worry too much about your vacation weight gain especially if it is 5 pounds or less! And even if it's more, don't stress about it. You get back on plan, and it comes back off. It's not a big deal.
Consider this your permission to take a vacation from your weight loss journey when you are on vacation. A solid weight loss plan shouldn't feel like a punishment and restricting your food on vacation feels pretty punishing! And entirely unnecessary. So I hope you have a great vacation planned sometime in the not too distant future, and I hope that you take the opportunity to really enjoy yourself. No guilt required!