5 Vacation Weight Loss Tips to Avoid Backtracking or Weight RegainJul 08, 2021
The holidays used to be a time where I’d completely let myself go and enjoy all the sugar I wanted without regard to what it was doing to my health.
Now that I know better, I try to do better. I know that sugar spikes blood glucose, insulin and inflammation, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
Being healthy isn’t complicated, but it’s not really easy either.
I have dialed in some strategies that I think you may find helpful to create healthy boundaries around the holidays so you don’t feel like you’re on a food pendulum. Either all in, or all out with your diet. I don’t want it to take you a month to lose the weight you gain in one weekend.
It's completely possible to enjoy all the food on vacation or over a holiday, and still prevent weight regain. You can get right back “on track” with a couple tweaks I’ll share with you today.
Nothing I’m going to tell you today requires you to give up any of your favorite foods and I’m not going to tell you to skip the alcohol either.
The trick to some of these strategies that I’m sharing with you is to check your mindset around them and be sure that they feel mentally and physically healthy for you.
I want you to be able to enjoy the food and company, not obsess over food and feel like you’re missing out. No one likes food FOMO so let’s figure a way to strike that healthy balance between feasting and fasting.
Tip #1: Alter Your Fasting Schedule
My first tip is to alter your fasting schedule. Depending on what your baseline fasting schedule is, this will look different for everyone. But I typically fast at least 14 hours a day and have 3 meals. I try not to snack between meals.
If I know that I’m going to be feasting for a holiday, I’ll increase my fasting window to one meal a day, or maybe one meal and a high protein snack about an hour before the meal. I may do this the day after the holiday, too.
Some holiday celebrations extend for multiple days, so I may continue with this modified one-meal-a-day schedule for a few days after the holiday until I feel like my body is back to normal.
If you’re prone to that punishing mentality, you may want to create a cutoff for how long you fast so you don’t use it as a means of excessive restriction and go for as long as possible to punish yourself. Remember we are fasting to honor your body, not punish it.
Your fasting schedule is your own. If your baseline is fasting for 12 hours a day and eating three meals, you could try to do two meals and a 14 or 16 hour fast. I wouldn’t do anything too extreme here to avoid extreme mindsets that aren’t helpful for most women to lose weight and keep it off.
For me, I’m fine with feasting but recognize that if there is a feast, there also needs to be a fast to allow my insulin to come back down to baseline.
I don’t view this as a restriction as much as a tradeoff. I don’t view this as punishing myself for eating something unhealthy, rather honoring my body and allowing it to prepare for, and reset after a bigger meal.
Tip #2: Drink Plenty of Water
The second tip is to drink more water than you normally do, especially if you’re using this fasting technique. We tend to drink about 75% of the liquid in a day when we’re eating. So if you’re fasting, you’ll want to be proactive about hydrating.
If you’re not, you could have increased hunger which obviously makes fasting harder than it needs to be. During your fasting window, it’s best to stick with plain water, coffee, or tea and avoid artificial sweeteners. For full transparency, I still put half n half in my coffee.
Tip #3: Prioritize Protein & Eat Protein First
Tip number 3 is to eat your protein first. If you’re eating a big meal, you’ll want to still prioritize protein. Especially if you’re eating one meal a day and that’s the only protein you’re getting. Eating protein first triggers your satiety hormones and helps slow down the digestion of any carbohydrates you eat later in the meal.
Along the lines of eating protein first, I recommend that you also include some healthy fat and fiber in your meal before getting to dessert.
Filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods will increase the volume of food you eat and naturally make you want less dessert. I try to fill my plate with more protein, salad, and veggies and smaller portions of the carbs.
Tip #4: Create Boundaries Around Sweets & Alcohol
Tip number 4 is to create boundaries around sweets and alcohol. This is one of the best things that’s helped me over the years. I allow myself a certain portion or number of a treat or drink, and after that I stop.
I have a firm stop boundary and don’t keep snacking or nibbling. If I’m at home, often I’ll go brush my teeth or chew a piece of gum to get a minty flavor in my mouth so I don’t still taste the sugar and want more.
Another tip to create a boundary is to use my STOP method. S stands for space. Time stands for Time. O stands for observe. And P stands for plan.
If you forgot to make a plan ahead of time, the STOP method allows you to put some space between you and the food - for example go to the bathroom so you can have a little time to observe how you’re feeling and make a plan about your food boundaries.
Tip #5: Pick Drinks Low in Added Sugar
Tip number 5 is to opt for adult beverages that aren’t loaded in added sugar. This one is a biggie because lots of empty, sugary calories can be hiding in your drinks. For example, one can of ginger beer in a Moscow Mule has about as much sugar as a can of Pepsi.
If I have a sugary drink, I try not to drink the whole thing, or I’ll share it with someone else. But I prefer to just have something that doesn't have very much added sugar like a vodka tonic or hard seltzer.
Just like you make a plan for what you’re going to do on vacation, I want you to start being proactive and putting some thought into how you’re going to feast, fast, and hydrate.
Remember that great quote I love by Brian Tracy, “Every minute you spend planning saves you 10 minutes on execution. This gives you a 1,000 percent return on your energy.”
Taking the time to make your plan, even if it’s a loose plan, will save you time after the holiday trying to lose that weight.
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