Arizona Advanced Medicine Clinic

Being Healthy on Vacation

Although summer vacation is coming to an end, I am sure many of us have future vacations we are already daydreaming about. I recently went on an amazing cruise to Jamaica (Jamaica mon!) and it got me thinking about different ways to keep up my healthy lifestyle while on vacation. The average person gains 4-5 pounds on a one-week vacation (FASEB Journal). Although gaining 5 pounds may not be the end of the world, it’s something that I believe most of us would rather avoid. So, I developed a few tips and tricks to avoid rapid weight gain while still ENJOYING your vacation.

One of the best ways to combat weight gain is exercise! Get your body moving on a daily basis, whether it is a stroll around the area (in my case, ship) or utilizing the hotel’s gym equipment. If you know you will be eating the extra calories on your trip, might as well try to burn a few extra calories too! It doesn’t have to be in a gym either; there are tons of fun ways to enjoy your stay as well as get your heart pumping.

A great way to burn some extra calories is to schedule an excursion. On my trip, each port had a variety of excursions from swimming with dolphins to bike riding around the island. This is a great way to have fun on your vacation, learn more about the country, island, etc. and burn off that chocolate soufflé you had with dinner last night.

Now on to the food… This, in my opinion, is a huge part of vacationing. Why go on vacation if you aren’t planning to indulge a little? I first and foremost will not be the one to tell you to stay away from the desserts on your vacation; however, there are ways to not completely overindulge. Typically on vacations, you are not going to cook at your hotel (unless you got a great hotel room with its own kitchen, you lucky dog you!), which means you will be going out to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Restaurants tend to give you larger portions than what is recommended, along with multiple course meals; my best advice to you would be to listen to your body. By all means enjoy your meal, but instead of licking the plate clean, listen to your body and evaluate whether you are still eating because you are truly hungry or because there is still more food on your plate. Try to avoid “stuffing” yourself; not only is it taxing on your digestive system, it can also cause many unpleasant symptoms such as pain, discomfort, nausea and vomiting (Livestrong). Now who wants to experience that on their vacation?

Another way to avoid those extra calories is to eliminate snacking. You will be experiencing fine dining practically at every meal, so try to avoid those extra sneaky calories in your snacks. Although it may be tempting, stick with water or tea in between your meals. This small tip can really go a long way!

Last, but certainly not least, would be alcohol consumption. Now I will not be the one to tell you that you can’t drink on vacation. I’m certain that just the thought of someone telling you not to enjoy a nice margarita on the beach would make you laugh. However, I do advise that drinking be put to a limit. Say 1-2 drinks a day, and preferably not EVERY day as alcohol is packed with sugar and calories that go straight to forming a “beer belly”. I realize that for some people, this just does not seem practical which is why I advise those who plan to be drinking their calories to exercise a little bit more during their vacation in order to avoid any rapid weight gain.

Of course, ENJOY your vacation! You deserve it and I am sure you have been dreaming about it for a long time. Don’t over stress yourself over a few extra calories on your trip; the most important part is to appreciate the experience. These tips are merely tools you can use to avoid going overboard, and enable you to come back from your vacation feeling relaxed and guilt-free!

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References:

Cooper, Jamie, and Theresa Tokar. “Changes in Bodyweight and Markers of Health following Short-term Vacations.” The FASEB Journal 28.1 (2014): n. pag. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.

“What Happens If You Overstuff Your Stomach?” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 30 June 2015. Web. 04 Sept. 2015.

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