Holiday Strategy: Top 10 travel tips to reduce the gain

Are you one of the lucky ones who’s going on vacation? Though I haven’t seen the studies to prove it, I’ve heard that the average weight gain during a week of cruising nears 7 lbs. Certainly, I’ve seen plenty of folks gain 4 to 5 lbs at a weekly all-inclusive.

Those are some hefty numbers, as to gain 1lb a week, you need to eat at least 3,500 more calories than you burn. Most folks, especially folks who may have weight to lose, are likely burning between 1,800 and 2,800 calories daily. That means to gain those kinds of numbers, you’d need to be consuming in the neighbourhood of 6,000 calories a day. That’s the caloric equivalent of eating a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder each and every waking hour from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Of course, once you factor in alcohol, buffets, and disorganized eating, that’s all too easy.

So how to get by? Here’s my top 10 list of travel strategies:

  • Eat every 2-3 hours and make sure to get breakfast within 30-60 mins of waking up. Not eating frequently and leaving too long between meals and snacks leads to evening hunger. Hunger plus alcohol plus vacationing plus a buffet leads to boatloads of calories.
  • Control breakfast. Poached eggs don’t have added calories from oils or butter. Those with 2 slices of toast with a light smear of butter along with a large plate of fresh fruit is still an indulgent tropical breakfast, but not calorically.
  • Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. Or at least don’t drink it regularly. Yes, fresh-squeezed juices are a wonderful indulgence but figure that the tall glass of orange juice you just downed had the caloric equivalent of more than 3 oranges and drop per drop the same number of calories and sugar as Coca Cola. That giant pina colada? If it’s one of the giant ones I’ve had each one’s packing a Big Mac of calories.
  • Include protein with every meal and snack.
  • Try the a la carte restaurants rather than the buffets.
  • Booze after the meal. Alcohol is an appetite stimulant. If you can hold off on the drinking until after you’ve eaten you’re less likely to overdo it.
  • Consider packing your own snacks or buying them from the hotel gift shop. Prepackaged nuts are readily available and don’t melt by the pool.
  • Use your minibar to store fruits, cheeses and yoghurts pilfered from the buffet.
  • Grilled seafood is your friend.
  • It’s better to indulge thoughtfully and gain a pound or two than to be excessively strict and have you one step closer to abandoning your weight management effort altogether.

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