Although diets can always be challenging, it is much easier to stick to a stricter eating regimen when you’re in a familiar location. Many people find it easier to make healthy and clean food choices when at home. Familiar surroundings make it easier to stick to a daily and predictable routine that facilitates healthy dieting. Even a short trip on a car, plane, or bus can disrupt the longest stretch of healthy eating. When you go for an entire vacation, it can seem as though all hope is lost.
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Megrette Fletcher is a diabetes educator who has spent her entire career trying to understand the habits that influence dieting. As one of the founders behind The Center for Mindful Eating, Megrette explains how a change in the environment during a vacation can negatively impact healthy eating habits. Because human habits are so closely associated with our environment, a change of location can disrupt our routines instantly. The same rule applies when dieting.
There are some diets that require different eating habits during certain stages. These diets often have participants undergo a transitional phase before returning to a normal diet again. In the article “The HCG Diet Protocol”, Gary Preacher explains that after losing the weight you want on a diet, it’s important to do a transitional phase to help your body adjust to a regular diet again. These diets can be utilized to help return to your normal habits after a long vacation.
Feelings of fear and insecurity are often associated with anxiety and hunger. This dynamic environment can easily contribute to food overreactions. When we are on vacation, our routine is broken because of the change in environment. This lack of routine makes it very hard to stick to a strict diet. Despite our best intentions, we seem not to be able to continue these positive and healthy habits despite our success at home.
Fortunately, there is some good news. It is possible to enjoy a vacation while still remaining healthy. There is a balance between being miserable on vacation and eating everything that you see. With a little planning, an exercise of willpower, a clear strategy, you can find pleasure on vacation without allowing yourself to go overboard.
Here are four steps for making smarter food choices while on vacation.
1) Plan your splurges and keep them limited.
While you’re on vacation in Europe, it would feel like a waste to pass up that delicious gelato that isn’t available at home. Instead of missing out on this tasty snack, reduce your caloric intake right before leaving for vacation. Julie Upton, the writer behind The Real Skinny, recommends her readers to diet two days for every one day that they are on vacation.
For example, a weeklong vacation would require you to diet for fourteen days beforehand. Upton suggests her audience to cut back on some calories and eat very clean for this amount of time in order to make up for the excess calories that will be eaten during vacation. It is also important to stop once you’re full. There is no reason to overeat after enjoying a delicious meal on vacation.
2) Create a meal plan for your vacation.
Hotel rooms aren’t designed for preparing meals, and most hotels don’t offer a shared kitchen. This is why most travelers eat out for every meal. Not only can this habit put a dent in your wallet, but it can also increase your waistline. In order to combat this inclination, you should make an effort to only eat out once per day.
Grocery stores and local markets are the healthiest places to get food. If you’re driving to a destination, grab some quick and healthy snacks from the store. You can stock up with more food after arriving at your final destination. It is advisable to rent homes with kitchenettes. This amenity makes it much easier to eat healthy while on vacation.
3) Don’t use food as a distraction.
When your flight gets delayed for a few hours, don’t grab a 700-calorie burger to help pass the time. You need to avoid using food as a distraction during periods of inactivity while on vacation. While normal days are scheduled and restricted by routines, vacations involve a lot of downtimes. It is important to stay busy and distracted during this time in order to keep yourself from eating. Instead of eating during a flight delay, go for a walk around the airport.
4) Don’t drink alcohol when on vacation.
Alcohol is the drink of choice for most people on vacation. After deciding to have a relaxing and carefree trip, alcohol seems to be the next logical step in a sequence of poor decisions. Although drinking beer and wine is fun, alcohol is a triple-threat to your diet.
Alcoholic drinks are high in calories, they stimulate your appetite, and they increase your desire for junk foods. Your judgment about what foods are healthy and not healthy quickly deteriorates after a few drinks. It is recommendable to start with alcoholic beverages that are low in calories. Distilled spirits and ultralight beers are good options.
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Many people struggle to maintain their diets while on vacation. The sudden change in the environment makes it more difficult to stick to our established routines. These tips can help you enjoy a vacation without completely abandoning your diet.