Oh ‘holidays’ – I love that word, don’t you? The sheer bliss of a holiday gives us the much-needed chance to escape the drudgery of everyday life. As a result, these little breads from life are usually synonymous with indulgence and a laissez-faire kind of attitude.
I embarked on an experience whilst on holidays many years ago – I decided, finally, that I would try to stick to my healthy eating regime (more or less) for the two weeks of my break – weight loss on holidays. The result? Not only did I come back the same weight, and feeling healthier/more toned but – and this is key – I actually enjoyed that holiday so much more. I haven’t looked back. Clients have shared similar experiences with me and many have managed to maintain their weight loss on holidays. Some have even lost a few pounds – it’s entirely possible. In fact, we could all look at holidays as an opportunity to be healthier – after all, stress levels are down and we have time on our hands so, really, it’s not that hard (to lose weight on holidays).
So, with this in mind, here are my 6 tips for continued weight loss on holidays;
1 Morning movement: be active every day, but keep it simple. Just 20-30 minutes is ideal. Try a brisk walk/jog or a swim for 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of stretching such as pilates/yoga moves on a mat. Every second day, swop your stretches for simple-weight bearing exercise, like knee push-ups, the plank and lunges/squats. This is so easy to do and also remarkably effective – you’ll notice the difference after just one week.
2 More effort with salads: whether you’re eating at home or dining out, salads don’t need to be complicated to be delicious. Choose high quality proteins such as prawns, feta, chickpeas or chicken and then layer on lots of interesting salad ingredients like spinach, lettuce, avocado, seeds, roasted red peppers, mint, papaya, lime and sun-dried tomatoes. You can be generous with your portions – you’ll be surprised how quickly you fill up!
3 Go fishing: with proven cardiovascular and mood/brain benefits, the oily variety is best (tuna/sardines/salmon) particularly due to the link with reduced stomach fat and raised leptin levels (the hormone that signals we are satisfied and full).
In fact, did you know that a 3 ounce serving of prawns provides 18 grams of high quality protein, with only 84 calories (if cooked with no fat). Try our delicious garlic prawn recipe here.
4 Water galore: I can’t underestimate this one, and of course it is easier if the weather is hot. But the tendency on holiday is to hit the ‘sauce’ quite early on in the evening, meaning we entirely forget our water levels. Aim to have every second drink as water, and try to postpone your first drink for another half hour to hour – it makes all the difference. Sparkling water with lime cordial is a brilliant substitute for that first alcoholic drink. And adding ice is a great way to top up your drinks with more water.
5 Keep up protein intervals: just because you’re on holidays doesn’t mean you should forego the clever habit of eating protein every 3-4 hours. Bring enough protein supplements to last your whole holiday and also have to hand healthy protein snacks, such as a container with almonds or mixed nuts or cheese cubes. As always, keeping on top of blood sugar control will mean your willpower is much more likely to stay intact.
6 Ban that bread basket: probably the single most important holiday tip that made a difference for me. Waving it away was hard at first, but I found that if I ordered a bowl of olives it helped me to avoid feelings of deprivation as my partner tucked into many white rolls. However, he often complained of being overly full and bloated after finishing. Smug…who, me?
Feel good, feel great – aim for weight loss on holidays. Have a wonderful summer!