Vacations are full of good intentions.
In an ideal world you’d come back tanned, refreshed, and 10 pounds lighter. In reality, most of us return a few pounds heavier than when we left — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
We checked in with super trainer Emily Cook Harris of EMPowered for her tips on how to avoid getting fat on vacation.
Emily Cook Harris does things like this on vacation. You don’t need to do things like this on vacation. (Photo: EMpowered)
1. Plan ahead. Know what is available to you in terms of exercise and nutrition. Is there a gym in your hotel? Do you need to pack running shoes or sign up in advance for a group class that interests you? What are some healthy restaurants to check out? Are there grocery stores nearby, a farmer’s marker, do you need to pack dry snacks in your suitcase? Do your homework so you know what to pack! Preparedness is key.
2. Make exercise a priority and move everyday. Get creative! Go for a walk, run, hike, or rent bikes, and combine movement with sightseeing. You’ll experience the city in a whole new way. You’ll feel better being active — and actually enjoy your trip more.
At the least, get in a quick 30-minute circuit in your hotel gym before or after your day. Find some outdoor space and knock out a bodyweight workout while soaking up the sunshine.
3. Eat real food. Be choosy. You can sample everything, but finish nothing. You can experience new foods and flavors without clearing your plate. If you’re going to indulge, be aware of your portion sizes.
PRO TIP: You want to eat well 90% of the time and have that 10% to indulge. Sharing entrees and desserts is a great way to still experience all the flavors while keeping the total calories down.
4. Pack healthy snacks. Raw almonds and cashews are Harris’s personal favorites — and she buys fresh fruit when she arrives. Snacks are a great way to keep you energized between meals and resist the urge to buy unhealthy options when you’re just too hangry to think straight. (Back away from the mini bar and hotel candy… it’s got empty calories written all over it.) Choose REAL FOOD and stay away from the processed crap.
5. Maintain as much of your normal routine as possible, but be flexible. If you are a morning exerciser or always start the day with fruit, DO THAT when you travel. The more you can stick to your nutrition and exercise routine, the more you’ll feel like yourself — and be better able to experience the adventure of your trip. But travel doesn’t always go as planned, so be adaptable, too. Stick to your commitment of making healthy foods and exercise a priority and be flexible with the how.
6. Bring a water bottle with you everywhere. This will not only keep you hydrated and energized, but it will reduce the total number of calories you consume overall. We often eat when we are just thirsty, not hungry. Being hydrated prevents this!
7. Sleep! Travel can be taxing on the body, so resist overdoing it. Getting adequate sleep (7-8 hours a night) will not only leave you feeling rested and energized the next day, it will also keep your immune system strong so you can enjoy the trip and stay healthy.