“There’s no way I could have gained 8 pounds over the weekend!”
This is what happened last time you went on vacation—your scale greeted you with a cruel surprise upon your return.
At first, you thought the scale was broken, or maybe the floor became uneven in your bathroom while you were away. So you moved the scale to the bedroom, and, there it was again, that number you hadn’t seen in weeks.
What’s worse, you didn’t even go all out while away. You ordered that limp salad when everyone else got tacos. You tried to slip away to sneak in some crunches before the rest of the house got up. So, why is the scale betraying you right now?
A lot of people tend to hold back on vacation and not enjoy themselves over the fear of losing progress from their health plan—if that’s you, you have to read this article.
We’ve all been there, and as a registered dietitian and coach, I know that most of those 8 pounds are due to inflammation and water weight. Regardless, coming back from vacation and seeing the scale go up can be scary.
With Labor Day approaching, I know there are probably a few thoughts rushing through your head, but remember: health goals are made to support your life, not take away from it.
Go ahead and enjoy yourself this long weekend or any other vacation you go on! After the weekend is over, follow these 6 strategies to get you back on track fast!
You may have made a few unhealthy choices while on vacation, but don’t fall into a slump after you slip up. People who have the most success shedding extra pounds and keeping them off don’t eat and exercise perfectly—they just know how to get back on the horse fast.
Rather than waiting a week or a month after a vacation to work up the courage to try again, jump right back into your healthy routine. The week after vacation isn’t about punishing yourself for those margaritas. Simply hop back on the horse of healthy living. This way, you’ll minimize the damage and make recovery much easier.
On Monday morning, whip up your favorite protein smoothie. Practice yoga, or go for a long walk. Return to your healthy lifestyle as soon as possible, and your body will adjust back easily.
As wild as you can be on vacation, your body needs you to be the responsible boss when you get back. Manage your health by creating a solid post-vacation plan. Before you throw your suitcase in the trunk and head to the beach, write out a plan that your body’s health can depend on when you return.
Start with creating a schedule, noting when you can hit the gym or join that cycling class. Next, plan your workouts—the more clear details you include here, the more likely you’ll follow through later.
Finally, create your menu plan for the week after you get back. Maybe even prep some meals so you can start the week ahead of the game.
Healthy, whole foods and optimum protein will help you maintain that killer body before and after a beach vacation. Keep your menu plan packed with nutritious foods like fresh veggies and leafy greens, whole grains, healthy fats, and clean proteins.
While on vacation, your macro balance probably didn’t thrive. Carbs may have crept up a bit higher, protein probably was left forgotten behind the bag of tortilla chips. When you return, keep a keen eye on your macros, and give your protein intake a healthy boost with a few protein-packed sides.
Vacation is a recipe for dehydration. You’re on a different schedule, you’re spending time out in the sun, and you’re sipping on cocktails all evening. By the end of a long weekend at the beach, your body is screaming out for you to replenish it with water and electrolytes.
Dehydration cues your body to hold on to all the water it gets, which leads to a lot of water weight. Loss of electrolytes, from sweating and drinking, can not only lead to a head-splitting hang-over, but also increase cravings for sweet, salty, and carb-heavy foods.
Water kicks craving’s ass. Among its many health benefits, water is your wingman when you’re trying to knock off those extra pounds. Increasing your electrolytes in the days after vacation can help you get back on track fast.
While it’s counterintuitive, drinking more water will also help your body release water weight. Increasing your water intake will improve your kidney function and allow your body to flush out any excess water, waste, and sodium. Get rid of that post-vacation-puff by pushing fluids when you get back home.
Whether you’re a hardcore CrossFit junkie or love a leisurely yoga practice, keep your body moving after a restful vacation.
Return to your normal workouts in your first week back before any sedentary habits set in. Remember, working out after a vacation isn’t about paying off calorie debt or punishing yourself for unhealthy past decisions. As long as you can return back to a healthy routine, your body will follow suit.
If jumping back into the gym sounds too abrasive, focus on simply reaching your daily steps. Take a 20-minute walk each morning and enjoy the physical and mental benefits that come with such a simple exercise.
Many of us have tried dozens of diets. Maybe the time it took to prepare and cook the meals got out of hand, or maybe you were just plain tired of egg whites and spinach for breakfast morning after morning.
Whatever goals you set for yourself, make sure you create a health journey that you enjoy. Find healthy, whole foods that you love. Try out different exercises until you hit on ones that make you feel great. These are the keys to staying consistent and motivated in your weight loss journey.
Let go of the inner critic and perfectionist. It’s okay to enjoy yourself, go out with friends, or relax on a long family vacation. Life is about living. Eat and exercise in a way that adds joy and length to your life.
Healthy living is worth so much more than shrinking our waists down another inch. It’s about feeling confident so that we can move past insecurities and have the energy to enjoy the moment with our friends and families on vacation and afterward.
Join me and a crew of other health seekers who are finding out how to reach our health goals and enhance our lives all at once.