If you’re going on holiday and don’t want to come back a few pounds heavier then this blog post is for you. I get asked all the time ‘how can I go away, and still enjoy myself, without ruining my weight loss efforts?’, and I have come up with my top 10 tips to help!
P.S.. I had contemplated writing this post a few weeks ago but decided to hold back, and wait to go on holiday myself to try them out – I ended up tweaking my advice, adding some points and guess what.. I DID eat out every night, I did indulge in (slightly) more alcohol than usual and DID NOT gain a pound. Now I’m not saying that this is a ‘fool proof’ plan, but what I am saying is that these tips will help you to keep a hold of your weight and healthy lifestyle whilst you indulge in a bit of local cuisine.
So, if you’re going on holiday then check out my top tips below and in my video on how to stay healthy and lean abroad!
1. Start the Day RIGHT. Start the day as you mean to go on, with a light and healthy breakfast. Whether the hotel provides it, or you’re self-catering, check-out the local fruits and yoghurt – the combination of ‘produce & protein’ will keep you feeling fuller for longer and won’t leave you feeling guilty or ‘heavy’ having indulged in a greasy fry up (limit this to once in the week if you must!).
2. DRINK MORE WATER! This is probably my top tip. Hunger and thirst can get confused, so if you’re sweating more (and so losing water) then you may feel hungry when in fact you’re just dehydrated. The best way to see if you’re drinking enough (i.e. are hydrated) is to check the colour of your pee – if it’s anything darker than ‘pale straw’ then you need to drink more. Adding a slice of lemon or steeping a herbal tea bag in cold water is a great way of making your water more appealing to drink!
3. Move Your Body Everyday! Moving your body means burning calories. If you usually walk more on holiday then brilliant, but if you can, add in an extra 20 minutes (at least) of activity each day. You may want to take advantage of the pool (for which I recommend taking a cheap, water resistant watch to time 1-2 x 10-20 minutes swims), play bat & ball (if played in the pool then this will burn more calories!) or even use the hotel’s gym – even if you loathe the gym at home, there’s something different about a gym abroad (i.e. no pressures of ‘real-life’ to go home to after!!). Having an i-pod full of interesting pod-casts and your favourite music will mean that 20 minutes on the cross trainer will FLY BY! P.S Try exercising in a morning – it’ll be cooler and you can then have your healthy breakfast feeling super smug!
4. Limit your Frozen Treats.. or Choose Wisely! Try to limit your frozen treats e.g. ice-lollies, ice-cream, frozen yoghurt, sorbet to one a day. And if you can’t stick to this then think ‘damage limitation’ – i.e. choose lollies that come in under 100 Kcal (most lollies have the calories written on the front of them now!).
5. Think Salads & Protein at Lunch (but avoid creamy dressings!). During the day it’s hot, meaning appetites can be lower then when at home. Regular meals are a must though when it comes to weight loss or maintenance meaning they musn’t be skipped! Salads (such as a Santorini Salad!) make the perfect lunch as they’re high in water and fibre and low in calories.. avoid the creamy dressings though i.e. mayonnaise and keep olive oil to no more than 1 tsp per person!
6. Don’t go Over-Board on the Bread Basket! If you eat out (especially in Greece) then it can be tradition to serve bread before a meal. Although it’s tempting to munch on the lovely white stuff before your meal though, make sure to set yourself a limit before you sit down and stick to it. Don’t ban bread altogether, especially if you love it, as you’ll just crave it more, just set a limit. If you really feel like you can’t resist the bread basket and have had your quota then kindly ask the waiter to take it away! White bread also has a high GI (meaning it releases its energy quickly) – having the bread with a dip such as tzatziki or hummus will lower the GI meaning you will feel fuller for longer on a smaller volume.
7. Don’t Stock up on Crisps/Nuts/Chocolate etc. One of the reasons why going on holiday CAN be weight friendly is that we are taken away from our kitchen cupboards. Make a promise to yourself NOT to buy in family bags of crisps etc. into your hotel room, villa or apartment. It’s easy to over-indulge or mindlessly munch when food is easy to access. If you do fancy some crisps then buy a single bag and eat them MINDFULLY.
8. Indulge in some Self-Help & ME TIME! Holidays are meant for relaxing, so make sure you do. It could be the perfect time to indulge in a little ‘self-help’ too – to read those books that you have been contempalting all year. I personally use my holiday time to ‘book review’. I read Mindless Eating last year (which I have reviewed in a seperate blog post), and read Beyond Temptation; ‘How to stop overeating and feel normal and in control around food’ this year. The authors, Sophie and Audrey Boss are sisters and have used their own experiences, as well as thousands of others to write a book that helps the reader to explore and understand why they over-eat. If you are after a practical guide on how to stop over-eating (and my over-eating tips haven’t helped so far!) then this book may be for you. Be warned though, it won’t work by simply reading it – and the authors reinforce this message through-out – you have to actually DO the steps that they suggest, with the end result meaning that you may not stop over-eating for life, but at least will feel more normal, and in control of your food intake.
9. Ask the Waiter – If you want to know how a food is cooked then just ASK! Most waiters/chefs are happy to tweak the food to suit – whether it’s grilling instead of frying, skipping the mayo in a sandwich or having salad instead of chips. If you don’t know the language then it may be helpful to look up a few useful phrases before you go, or invest in a phrase book! For more healthy tips check out my ‘Slimmer’s Guide to Eating Out’.
10. HAVE FUN! – My last tip is to have fun and RELAX! Holidays (for most) come but once a year and if the rest of the year you’re eating healthily etc then make sure to ENJOY your 1 or 2 week holiday. Indulge in the local cuisine and make sure you appreciate why you’re there and the people who you are with. Don’t stress about your weight – by all means try out my tips but don’t fret, and don’t jump on the scales on holiday. A few lbs can easily be lost at home, and a little weight gain is not the end of the day. It’s all about the 80/20 rule remember!
Happy summer holidays everyone! Do let me know if you have any more healthy tips.. I haven’t included taking ‘healthy snacks’ on the plane just because I tend to travel short haul i.e. 3-4 hours.. meaning that a cheeky hot chocolate and breakfast biscuits bought on the plane won’t exactly cause that much damage, but if you’re going long haul then definitely think about packing foods such as dried fruit, healthy snack bars e.g. 9bar, LARABARS or nakd bars or home-made treats such as my banana protein bars or oat and blueberry muffins!
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Great tips Nic. Can I be cheeky and add another? Buy a small soft sided lunchbox with an iced gel pouch. You can then buy your yoghurt & fruit enroute to the beach and keep it cool and fresh – but don’t forget a spoon!
Love this tip!! Thanks Yvonne 🙂 Nic x
Great tips 🙂 Trying to apply them to Reading Festival with things like ‘avoid the burger vans.’
Although drinking more water means more trips to the campsite toilets – eek!
Haha! You should up your water intake before the festival to train your bladder 😉 Good luck with the festival – I hope there’s some veggie vans selling falafel etc.!! x
Super tips Nic. I’ll be spreading these and doing all of these on my family holiday. I’ll also be taking a sand bag and training the family on the beach! All in for the ‘feel good’ factor! 🙂
Wow that sounds amazing!! You can certainly have that cheeky ice-cream then without piling on the pounds 😉 hehe! Nic x
Thanks nic some really good tips there. Although I don’t drink alcohol or excercise on hol (except for dancing!), I do find I’m still looking for healthy options on menu’s. I think it’s coz I’ve now trained my mind to be healthy it just comes naturally. Don’t get me wrong i do have the odd pasta dish or chips when I’m away but not every day. So my tip is train yourself to eat healthy before you go away and your brain will naturally be swayed towards good food.
Thanks for your great! I totally agree. Pasta isn’t bad for your though – it’s low GI and a super healthy option when served in a tomato sauce with sea food – love the seafood abroad! I totally forgot about a tip on alcohol (I think because I’m not a massive drinker)- but that’s great to hear that you don’t drink it – no need to stay clear of the creamy cocktails then 😉 Nic x
Thanks for the review Nic, very much appreciated! And what a lovely picture of the book on a beach… jealous! x
No problem Kirsty, great read!
Great post, thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely be taking them on board next time I jet off somewhere hot 🙂 x
Thanks Sami! I really hope they help 🙂 x
Great post! I too found the Mindless Eating book really interesting. My lab does research on how to help us all be more mindful of our food and our food choices. I’m not sure how well this sort of stuff agrees with your approach as a dietician?… http://www.leehw.com/surfing-the-urge/
Love your blog post! Totally agree and it’s in line with my blog post about sugar cravings 🙂 x
Hi Nic, another fantastic read 🙂
1 question about going on holiday. What alcohol drink is the best for keeping the dreaded pounds off please, this is aways my downfall, especially on a hot day/night. I come back usually with an extra 5 lbs on but i am determined not to this years holiday!!
Hi! The lowest calorie alcoholic drinks are gin/slimline tonic and vodka diet coke/lime and soda.. hope this helps!! Stay clear from the creamy/sugary cocktails!! xx