Is there a summer vacation on your schedule? Whether your plans include travel to see family, a fun week at the beach, or an urban getaway, you can expect that your schedule will be (happily) upended. You probably won’t stick to your regular workout routine and your healthy eating plan may suffer as well. Getting away from it all can be a good thing. But what if you’re trying to lose weight?
Believe it or not, there are clever ways to stick to your diet and exercise routine on vacation. And if you’re smart about it, these sneaky vacay hacks don’t have to derail your summer fun. You just need to plan ahead and pack accordingly.
1. Adjust your workout goals.
It’s okay that you’re skipping your regular boot camp class or that you miss your morning spin. But you don’t have to give up on exercise entirely when you travel. Schedule a few 5 to 10-minute workouts to do throughout the day. You can even do them when you’re out seeing the sights. Complete a short online workout in the morning, then plan a quick playground workout or stairclimbing session for the afternoon and go for a powerwalk after dinner.
2. Have a diet-friendly party plan.
If your summer vacation includes a party with friends or a family barbecue, have a plan in place to avoid mindless eating. Ask your hostess for a job that keeps you away from open bowls of treats and high calorie snacks. Offer to organize games for the kids. Greet guests at the door or belly up to the bar and show off your bartending skills. If all else fails, get chatty with party guests. You’ll eat less if you’re engaged in conversation.
3. Pack a water bottle.
If you’re a smart dieter, you drink plenty of water when you’re at home. Staying hydrated helps to curb food cravings. But most of us drink less when we’re on the road. And that might lead to increased eating. So pack a water bottle and bring it with you when you’re on the go. Carrying and drinking your own water will help you to save money (no pricey hotel bottles!), boost your energy levels, and can help to keep the munchies at bay.
4. Boost your step count.
Even if you make good food choices, it’s likely that you’ll eat more on vacation. So increase the step count on your fitness tracker to compensate for the extra calories. Try to walk 25-50% more than usual—this works especially well if you’re exploring a metropolitan city abroad with lots of walkable attractions. By vowing to walk more, you’ll keep your healthy activity plan on track and have increased incentive to see more of the sights at your travel destination.
5. Skip a meal (or two).
Many dieters eat three small meals and a few snacks each day to maintain the proper calorie intake for weight loss. But you don’t have to eat a full meal every few hours to lose weight. You can adjust your eating routine so you don’t feel deprived when you travel. Simply choose one meal when you’d like to indulge and enjoy that meal without restriction. Then order just a small appetizer or snack for the other two meals to keep your calorie count balanced.
6. Ask for support.
If you’re visiting family or friends, make them your weight loss allies. Share your fitness and healthy eating goals with people who are likely to be supportive. Then offer specific ways that they might help you stay on track. Need ideas? Create meals that include at least 2-3 fresh and healthy vegetable dishes. Cut up fresh fruit for dessert or plan family activities that burn calories, like hiking or backyard badminton.
7. Pack a cute sash or belt.
Warm-weather styles usually include loose, flowy sundresses and billowy tops. These summer staples are fun and comfy to wear. But if you add a belt or waist-high sash, your outfit can actually help you eat less. This sneaky trick has been used by European dieters for years. When you wrap a belt around your belly, you feel the food faster when you start to eat too much. So you slow down and eat less. So simple, but so smart!
8. Find healthy foods with Google.
Before you get to your destination, use Google Maps to find a grocery store near your hotel or vacation spot. Then when you arrive, stock up on a few healthy, low-calorie foods. Even if you’re in a hotel, you’ll find healthy options. Choose bananas, apples, or even low-calorie packaged foods like slim protein bars or single serving popcorn bags that don’t need refrigeration.
9. Skip starchy side dishes.
Eating in restaurants, at food trucks, or in someone else’s house can be problematic if you’re trying to cut back on empty calories. But if you focus on filling your plate with essential nutrients, you can still enjoy the experience without ruining your diet. Choose a healthy entrée like a lean grilled meat or fish. Then ask for a small side salad or fresh vegetables on the side. If you skip the fatty sides, sauces and starchy add-ons, your waistline will thank you.
10. Find farm stands and skip fast food.
If you’re trying to slim down, summer is the best time to fall in love with fresh and healthy foods. Why? Because summer’s harvest of fruits and veggies is packed with nutrition and full of diet-friendly fiber. If your summer travels involve long car rides, look for farm stands instead of fast food. You’ll get delicious food that is often cheaper and always healthier than the choices you find at the drive-thru.
No matter where you plan to vacation, make healthy rest and relaxation your top priority. Then use these tips to keep your diet on track. You’ll return home feeling stronger, leaner and more healthy than before.
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