Are extra pounds an inevitable consequence of a fun-filled vacation? They don’t have to be. Here are some strategies.
Are extra pounds an inevitable consequence of a fun-filled vacation? They don’t have to be, according to Harley Pasternak, an exercise physiologist, nutritionist and personal trainer in Los Angeles. “Gaining weight on vacation is common, but it’s possible to go away, enjoy yourself and not come home heavier,” he said. Here, he shares his tips on how to do just that.
Travel with an activity monitor
You don’t have to bother with a gym on your getaway but it is important to stay active, and a wearable fitness tracker like a Fitbit or a pedometer is an easy way to quantify your efforts, Pasternak said. “In fact, you should be moving much more when you’re on vacation than at home because you aren’t bound to your desk,” he said. On urban getaways, walking to see the sights instead of using public transportation and taxis counts as activity. On beachcentric trips surfing, snorkeling and hiking are great ways to stay fit and get a sense of your destination. To keep pounds at bay, Pasternak suggested hitting at least 12,000 steps a day, about 6 miles.
A vacation isn’t a pass to eat high-calorie foods all day, every day and may even be an opportunity to make healthier choices. “People tend to mindlessly eat when they’re working because they are so time-pressed, but on vacation, when you’re rejuvenating yourself, you have the chance to choose your meals with more thought and really savor them,” Pasternak said. That said, sampling local specialties is a pleasurable part of any trip, so feel free to indulge in them but in moderation. Choose foods the area is known for, such as gelato in Italy, croissants in France and steaks in Argentina.
Go easy on the alcohol
Too much alcohol is an all-too-familiar vacation pitfall, and if you have even two drinks a day, a weeklong trip adds up to 14 drinks and thousands of extra calories, especially if you’re sipping sugary cocktails such as margaritas. If you want to imbibe, Pasternak said, count the drink as your one daily indulgence, and choose lower-calorie drinks such as a vodka soda with a wedge of lemon.
Unplug from technology
Most Read Life Stories
- 11 more restaurant closures in the Seattle area, including a couple of longtime-beloved spots
- We tested 12 varieties of Cup Noodles so you don't have to. Here are the best ones
- A big-name barbecue pit expands and 13 other new restaurant openings around Seattle
- Celebrated chef David Chang launches his long-awaited fried chicken sandwich in Seattle
- Rant & Rave: Who is really benefiting from those annoying tabs on yogurt lids?
Yes, minimizing the time you spend on your cellphone, tablet and computer when you are vacationing will really help prevent weight gain, Pasternak said. “The artificial light from these devices plays havoc on our brain and triggers stress, which increases the hormone cortisol, which, in turn, causes us to gain weight,” he said. Instead of turning to technology, he suggested reading lighthearted books and magazines; they’ll help you decompress and lower your stress levels.