Sticking To Your Diet And Exercise Routine On Summer Vacation

Posted Tue, 06/22/2010 - 10:13am by Denise Reynolds

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The true definition of a vacation is "a period spent away from home or business in recreation or a time of respite from something." Unfortunately, many people extend this definition to their diet and exercise plans as well. But remember that health doesn't take a vacation.

A 2005 study published in the journal Eating Behaviors found that 66% of subjects on a weight control program gained weight during the summer months. Although a vacation is meant to be enjoyable — full of friends, food, and relaxation — you should continue to treat your health as priority number one. That doesn't mean being a slave to a strict diet or forgoing an occasional afternoon nap, but overall continuation of healthy behaviors even when away from home will ensure that you return to "reality" with only wonderful memories, not extra pounds.

Here are some tips to manage your diet on your summer vacation.

1. Remind yourself of your focus. If your goal is weight loss, vacations are the time when you should show off your progress! Being able to wear smaller clothes, being able to walk around a vacation spot without becoming out of breath, or playing with your children on the beach. These are all much more important than the super-seafood buffet for $14.95.

2. Before you leave, plan some of your meals both on the way and at your destination. Bring along healthy on-the-go snacks for the car or plane ride so you will not be tempted to stop for a candy bar and a Coke. If you have a hotel or rental home with kitchen facilities or an outdoor grill, plan a few meals to be eaten in to save both money and calories.

3. Do not skip meals in anticipation of a large dinner. Eat a healthy, light breakfast that contains protein to keep you full longer. Eat a light lunch and a few healthy snacks during the day so that you do not end up at the restaurant overly hungry, and abandoning your diet late at night.

4. For dining out, research your vacation spot's local restaurants and browse their menus for good diet choices, but don't be too restrictive. Allow yourself to indulge on specialty foods from the region you are visiting. Building in a few well-thought-out splurges makes the vacation enjoyable.

5. Go easy on alcoholic beverages — the calories can really add up quickly. Try alternating with a glass of water, sugar-free lemonade, or low-calorie fruit-flavored water. For some low-calorie mixed drink recipes, try these at the Hungry Girl Website.

Don't forget physical activity. I wonder if there is a statistic for the number of people who begin an exercise routine while on vacation. I couldn't find one, but I'm sure it is a higher percentage than normal. Sunny destinations and a more relaxing (less time-restrictive) day are good excuses to get outdoors for a walk, hike, jog, swim or bike ride but remember to be safe.

1. Early morning or late evenings are usually the best time to exercise outdoors to prevent heat-related illness. The CDC reports that heat stroke kills approximately 300 people each year. Staying hydrated is very important – remember that you'll need more fluid than usual when active or in a hot location so drink water before, during, and after a workout.

2. Even if you don't do formal exercise like walking or running, keep active on your vacation. Play on the beach instead of spending the entire day with that Oprah Book Club novel. Games such as volleyball, Bocce, Frisbee, or even kite flying are fun for the whole family. Also, remember lower-key activities add up too. Collect shells on the beach or go sight-seeing on foot and take in the local culture.

Other summer articles you may like:

This post was included in the Diet Blog Carnival and the Carnival of Travel and Tourism.

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