The mainstream media really loves to drum up “vacation weight gain” as something to truly fear. We are sold the idea that we can’t regulate ourselves while enjoying a vacation and that we are bound to overindulge in all those foods that are bad for us. But is it really all that bad? Are we really doomed to jump up a dress size, or spend days on the treadmill in order to whip our bodies back into shape after a vacation? Well, not necessarily. In fact, stressing about controlling your body weight during and after your vacation can actually be really harmful for your health! Here’s the skinny (no pun intended) on vacation weight gain:
What is Normal Weight Gain?
You may have heard that gaining a few vacation pounds is quite common, but it’s unlikely that your body mass will change drastically in the span of an average summer vacation. Therefore, even if you lose all prudence and eat morning, noon, and night, you’re only likely to gain a pound or two. Furthermore, if you return to your normal habits when you get back home you’ll find that your body returns back to its usual balance within a few weeks, no dieting required!
Water Retention Woes
Water retention is, perhaps, the real demon of the vacation squeeze on your clothes; water retention is very common while travelling for a few reasons. Firstly, changes in your sodium consumption habits can have a big effect on how much water weight you retain/gain. When you eat saltier foods that you are used to, and/or drink less water, your body will retain what water it has in order to keep/restore the balance. Secondly, an increase in your intake of carbohydrates, especially if you were limiting them before your vacation. Thirdly, when you visit climates that are hotter than your home country this can cause water retention. In order to combat the sudden raise in temperature your body will retain water to avoid dehydration. These are all temporary conditions, however, so if you notice swelling in your hands and feet take comfort in knowing that you’ll return to normal with some time.
Find a Healthy Balance
If you want to mitigate water retention and/or weight gain on your vacation there are a few things you can do!
- Drink plenty of water to combat water retention and dehydration.
- Approach eating mindfully; eat small portions, fresh fruit and veg, and healthy foods alongside your treats so that you can enjoy it all without guilt.
- Pay attention to your body’s needs and wants; make sure you stay stocked with fiber and protein, and stick to an eating schedule that you’re used to. Don’t feel obligated to empty your plate at every sitting; stop when you’re full!
- Exercise; walk on the beach, swim in the pool, stroll through the scenery. There’s no reason why exercise can’t enrich your vacation!
Most of all, however, don’t fret about an extra pound or two—enjoy your vacation. You will have plenty of time when you get back home to commit to your good habits.