Everyone knows that losing weight can be tough. Well, imagine setting a weight-loss goal, achieving it, and then going on vacation. How do you maintain that weight loss and withstand the temptations inherent in an open bar on a cruise or an all-you-can-eat-buffet of Italian pastas?
It ain't easy, friends, but that's exactly the scenario Jackie Lanteri Ionno encountered recently. As a member of the Cooking Light Diet Community on Facebook, she revealed that she'd lost 12 pounds preparing for a cruise. She wanted to know if anyone had helpful tips for maintaining that weight loss as she floated serenely in the Caribbean. Luckily for her, Cooking Light Diet members knew exactly how to help. They provided her with countless helpful tips, and we've compiled the 9 best below.
The next time you go on vacation and want to maintain weight loss, follow this advice for success.
1. Don't Forget Where You Are
Firstly, let's not lose sight of the fact that you're trying to maintain your weight loss on vacation. That means you've lost weight. Whether you've hit your goal or you've just made strides, pat yourself on the back! It's not easy to do, but you did it. Appreciate how hard you worked to get here, and don't stress maintaining so much that you don't enjoy where you are—on vacation. If you've lost weight already, you know you'll be able to do it again. As Cooking Light Diet member Tammy Trindel Gillespie told Jackie, "You earned the right to NOT even think about what you eat for a week. Enjoy!!!"
2. Don't Set Unrealistic Expectations
Just because you're trying to maintain a weight loss doesn't mean you need to turn into Jillian Michaels while you're on vacation. Remember tip #1: You're on vacation. That doesn't mean you have to say no to every single opportunity to eat dessert, or that you need to wake up at dawn and run a 5k. You know yourself better than anyone, so don't assume that vacation is the perfect opportunity for you to set unrealistic expectations just to maintain weight loss.
3. Maintain Movement and Take the Stairs
Whether vacation takes you on a cruise ship, to a sun-kissed beach or a remote mountain getaway, you don't have to revert into an invertebrate and slug around everywhere. Take the stairs! Tell escalators and elevators you're not interested in convenience; you need movement! This was resoundingly the #1 piece of advice Cooking Light Diet Community members gave to Jackie about her pending vacation. Wake up early, get some steps in to get the blood flowing, and start your day off already feeling great about maintaining.
4. Pick Your Poison
Pardon the turn of phrase, but if you're like the author, you may find it difficult to not completely go nuts at every vacation mealtime (and it's not the end of the world if you do!). But if you're hellbent on maintaining your weight loss, be selective on how you choose to indulge on vacation. Alicia Shapiro Miller recommends choosing one meal a day to splurge on. Maybe it means forgoing breakfast pastries because you plan on doing dessert with every dinner, or you know you'll be sipping lots of Miami Vices when you're poolside so you're going to skip desserts altogether. Choose your vacation vices wisely and make it that much easier to maintain a healthy balance.
5. Front-Load Your Meals or Go Intermittent With Them
This tip adds another layer to #4. In lieu of picking splurges, you could also choose to go for a heavy, nutritious breakfast in the morning and opt out of lunch in favor of some light afternoon snacks instead. Cooking Light Diet member Sandi Chiu says a protein-packed omelet in the mornings can power you through hours of sightseeing. So you can front-load your meals for early in the day, or you can choose to do some intermittent fasting. Block out a time of day you know you'll be most susceptible to calorie-heavy temptations, and intermittently fast during that time. Not only will this help you maintain during vacation, but if you've never tried it before, it could be a great trial run for when you get back to the real world. But do NOT do this if it means you're going against tip #2.
6. Small Plates for the Win
Is there a buffet available on your vacation? If it's a cruise, the answer is yes. If the answer is yes, read these wise words from Cooking Light Diet member and Director of Product Management Saska Albright and take them to heart. "Take the small salad plate at the buffet. It really does make a difference!" If you're not on a cruise, eat what you want, but limit yourself to what looks like a proper portion size for one. If you're loading your plate down with enough food to feed the offensive line of an NFL team, you're, uh, not going to maintain that weight loss.
7. Pass the Fruit, Please
This tip is as straightforward as it sounds and comes courtesy of Cooking Light Diet member Linda Sines Owens. Eat lots of fresh fruit on your vacation. Veggies, too, but on vacation fruit is a viable alternative to, say, ice cream and cheesecake when you're looking for a sweet-tooth fix.
8. Sharing is Caring
Say what you will about 1980s fashion, but that decade did give us the Care Bears, who taught us this most valuable of lessons: Sharing is caring. Make it easier to maintain your weight loss by indulging and sharing that indulgence with a loved one or friend. Example: Order that Baked Alaska, eat half, and then pass the plate so that someone else can enjoy it, too. This creates shared experiences ("Do you remember that divine cheesecake we had in Albuquerque?") and ensures that you don't lose momentum while you're on vacation.
9. Don't Waste Your Mental Energy
Before going on vacation, please recite this aloud at least 5 times:
"I'm going on vacation. I will not stress the small stuff. I will enjoy myself, because I AM GOING ON VACATION."
Felt good, didn't it? Seriously, take this piece of advice from Andrea R. Saunders to heart: Don't expend mental energy constantly harping over maintaining your weight loss. Focus instead on relaxing, enjoying yourself, and taking advantage of being unplugged from your day-to-day. Even if you come back weighing more than you did when you left, so what? Life's too short to not enjoy a vacation. It'll be over before you know it, too (applies to both life and vacations), so don't focus on things that will cause you undue stress and anxiety.
Thanks to these tips and more, Jackie informed us she didn't gain a single pound on her cruise! To see some of the other tips she was given, join our Cooking Light Diet Community on Facebook.
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