Enjoy Vacation Without Gaining a Pound

Don't take home extra baggage from your summer getaway. Try these strategies to stay on Plan, on vacation.
10 Ways to Avoid Vacation Weight Gain

For months you've been saving up for that much-needed vacation. You've brought bagged lunches to work, passed on that tempting new pair of heels, and cut down on pricey restaurant meals with friends – all in the name of a little rest and relaxation.

The thing is, you've also been so good about sticking to your diet, and you've finally lost that extra weight. The last thing you want is to return from your blissful, indulgent vacation and discover that you've put the pounds back on.

Let's be realistic: Nobody loses weight while on vacation. Yes, you might even put on a pound or two. But here are some simple ways you can make sure your vacation doesn't ruin your weight-loss efforts.

Don't rely on airplane meals. The average airline meal has 1,054 calories — and that's if you even get a meal, according to Suzanne Schlosberg, author of The Ultimate Workout Guide for the Road. So-called snack boxes can pack an even higher caloric punch. Many airlines offer low-fat meal choices, but you're better off packing some homemade goodies for the flight, or even buying a yogurt and fresh fruit before you get to the gate.

Beware of cruises. A cruise is a giant, floating buffet. Sure, there's usually a gym at your disposal, but barbells are no match for the endless supply of daiquiris and midnight spreads. Pace yourself, and avoid the "see food" diet: Just because you see it all in front of you, doesn't mean you have to try everything.

Keep active. Instead of watching television all afternoon in your room, take a brisk walk around the hotel or jog on the beach. If it's raining, spend the day walking around the local mall. "Some hotels offer trail maps of their property or the surrounding area," says Wendy Large, manager of Med Central Health and Fitness Center in Mansfield, Ohio. "You might be able to find running or hiking trails."

Find a hotel that offers rooms with kitchenettes. That way you can cook some of your meals — at least breakfast — and have more control over what you eat and where you spend your DPT.

Ask the hotel concierge about renting a bicycle. Cycling is a great way to check out the sights without having to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and you'll burn a few calories in the process.

If your hotel has a pool, dive in and swim some laps. And if you're near the ocean, be sure to take advantage of it. "You'll be surprised at the added workout ocean waves provide," Large said. Of take a long, leg-toning walk in the sand — you'll get in some sight-seeing while you exercise.

Remember: There's more to vacationing than food. If you go to Paris, for example, you're going to want to enjoy the exquisite cuisine, but make sure meals don't become the main attraction.

Limit sugary or creamy drinks. Part of kicking back on vacation is having a few libations, but an eight-ounce Pina Colada can have as much as 450 calories and 18 grams of fat. Drink in moderation, and opt for things like light beer, which has only about 100 calories, or liquor blended with non-sugar mixers such as soda water, instead of tonic.

Eat a high protein, low-fat breakfast each morning. "Protein-laden things like lean ham or eggs will carry you longer so you're not hungry right away," says Susan Allen, RD, CCN, in private practice near Chicago. "That's much better than the carb-heavy continental breakfast most hotels will offer."

Keep healthy snacks on you at all times so you're not tempted to duck into the nearest fast food joint while you're out sightseeing. "Carry things like protein bars so you're never waiting too long to get to the next meal," Allen says.
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