I bet you didn’t know that the average weight gain on a seven day cruise is eight pounds! Well, I recently took an eleven day cruise, followed by a four day stint in Barcelona, Spain and I feared for my waistline!
A trip like this was the first of its kind for me and I made every effort to prepare for battle as much as possible. Vacations are tricky; more tricky than weekends!
Vacations come with the nature of being permissive of behaviors you wouldn’t normally exhibit. People are often quick to tell you that you’re on vacation and to, “live a little.” If you “live” it up at home, then going on vacation should mean something else to you. If you have a very strict diet when you’re at home and you go on vacation to let loose and go crazy for a period of days, know that ahead of time and prepare for it. Just remember – as soon as you get home from the vacation, the vacation-specific behaviors end and it’s back to the normal routine for you.
How do I prepare for a vacation, Guru Johnny?
About a month before the vacation, alter your workouts and start building muscle more than doing your cardio. Downgrade to “maintenance cardio” and increase your strength training. The metabolism can only be increased two ways, and one key way is to increase the amount of lean muscle mass you have while at rest. The muscle mass you have at rest is actively working to maintain itself, thus you’ll be burning calories without doing anything! Don’t worry about bulking up – just build that muscle and your body will take the shape it’s meant to be.
A week before the vacation, start researching what will be waiting for you when you embark. If you’re going on a cruise for example and it’s your first time, you might not know that you don’t have to shuffle off to the buffet up on the pool deck with everyone else. You can (at least on Norwegian) choose to hit the buffet or choose to have a relaxing, quiet lunch in the restaurant that is open at the time of boarding on embarkation day. “Cruise portions” in dining rooms are world-renown for being smaller than the American chain restaurant and even your typical cheeseburger is somewhere between the size of a slider and quarter-pound burger.
Be mindful of the “Swap-Opt™” available to you. A “Swap-Opt™” is an option to swap one choice for another. So, if you’re at lunch and you have these delicious waffle-cut sweet potato fries in front of you begging you to load them onto your plate, be mindful of the swap option that is available to you, such as a particular dessert or another carby side, etc. Once you’ve “weighed” your options, make a choice.
But I tend to want to take both because I’m not sure they’ll offer the other choice again while I’m there. What do I do?
Ask yourself, “Which of these choices is harder for me to find in my everyday life?” You may find that they are both readily available where you live and you can get them with ease. If it’s a dish that is specific to the place you’re visiting or is prepared in a way different than what is normal to you, choose the more abnormal option.
What should I make sure I do while on vacation and what should I absolutely avoid while on vacation?
Everything you want that doesn’t endanger your life.
Move. Yes, spend time relaxing, but move whenever possible. Take stairs instead of elevators; sit farther away from the buffet, etc.
Be adventurous! Try new foods and new activities!
Being redundant. If you’ve already eaten something, get something else. If you’ve already gone binge-drinking, try to do a little less. Don’t repeat yourself, unless it’s a piece of your wardrobe.
I am proud to say that after my vacation, I was certain I had gained 15 pounds by the time it was over. I only gained 7. For me, I can gain 5 pounds in 2 days just from a little extra and nothing crazy – so, 7 pounds, bravo! How did I keep from gaining the other 8 I thought I had? I followed everything I mentioned above. I have a three drink maximum, so no binge-drinking for me, but otherwise, it’s all there.
I literally ate and drank my way across the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. to Spain and to see that I didn’t do what I thought I had was marvelous! Go me!
As we embark on vacations this year, let’s make sure we take ourselves into consideration before all else. Don’t do things you’ll regret in life, especially, when you’re on vacation!
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