The relaxation synonymous with vacations make the downtime well worth the wait. But, most vacationers over indulge in commercially prepared, high-calorie, sodium- and sugar-intensive foods and alcoholic beverages, and don't exercise; this causes rapid weight gain. Five pounds may not seem like much, but the pounds could become a long-term problem if you don't act quickly to get your waistline in check. Get on the scale as soon as your vacation's over and develop a plan of action to lose the weight, which could take up to one month.
Re-establish your normal eating habits as soon as your vacation's over. To do this, throw out or freeze any fattening foods lingering your kitchen, which may be the case if you spent your vacation at home, such as during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Fix home-cooked meals with healthy ingredients, and avoid eating out while chipping away at your vacation weight gain. Take a trip to the grocery store as soon as possible and stock up on foods that help you lose weight. Such foods include, but are not limited to, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes -- such as chickpeas and lentils -- and lean proteins. Avoid sugary and salty snacks altogether. Instead choose healthy snacks, such as a handful of almonds, apple slices and cottage cheese.
Drink lots of water to rehydrate your body, which eases water retention, depending on your overall health condition. Drinking two glasses of water before meals can help you shed the five pounds more quickly, according to the American Chemical Society. Until you lose the vacation weight, avoid soft drinks -- even diet ones -- and fruit juices.
Restart your normal exercise routine if you slacked off during your vacation. Start working out at the gym, running, swimming, biking or walking daily. Intensify your workout, since you may not burn as much fat if you return to the exact same exercise routine as before you went on vacation. To do this, walk, run or bike just a little bit faster in the same amount of time, writes Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D. in "Psychology Today." You also can chart your path up steeper inclines, or set workout machines to simulate such terrain. Diversity your workout routine -- for example, use different cardiovascular machines at varying intensities -- to encourage your body to let go of the pounds.
Keep track of the data to monitor your progress. Generally speaking, you must create a 500 calorie deficit per day in order to lose one pound of fat in one week. So, you can consume calories as you normally do without creating a deficit and exercise vigorously to burn 500 calories. Alternatively, remove around 250 calories from your daily intake -- which could be as simple as cutting out your daily cafe latte -- and engage in moderate exercise to burn the remaining 250 calories.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about engaging in physical activity or modifying your diet.
- The American Cancer Society: Calorie Counter
- University of Wisconsin: Step Conversions
- Obesity Action Coalition: Tips for Losing “Holiday Weight”
- American Chemical Society: Clinical Trial Confirms Effectiveness of Simple Appetite Control Method
- Psychology Today: 10 Ways to Improve Your Weight Loss Potential In Less Than a Minute