Last updated: 11:00 AM ET, Thu August 11 2016

How to Stay Fit on Vacation

Features & Advice | Janeen Christoff | August 11, 2016

How to Stay Fit on Vacation

Photo courtesy Thinkstock 

Vacation is a time for indulgence. You want to eat what you want, when you want without worrying about the consequences. Inevitably, however, when one returns home, there is an uncomfortable tightening of the waistband. Perhaps there is an extra roll protruding from around the belly. Everything feels puffier, sort of like you brought home a pillow from the hotel but, somehow, you just can’t put it down.

What if you found out that there was a way to combat the vacation bulge before you got home? What if there were a few choices you could make while on vacation that would mean eating what you want and coming home with less of a paunch? 

It really comes down to making the right choices.

Enter Alexandra Miller. Miller is a corporate dietitian at Medifast, Inc. who is devoted to promoting optimal health through a balanced lifestyle. She encourages a healthy lifestyle through good eating habits, physical activity and a positive relationship with food – but finds nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence in homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

For those looking to develop a better relationship with food on vacation, Miller has some suggestions on how to make informed choices about food, allowing travelers to get the most out of their vacations without returning with the unwanted souvenir of a larger clothing size. 

Make Some Simple Food Swaps
When it comes to eating, swapping out some items for healthier ones will make a big difference. 

Here are a few of Miller’s suggestions: 

Replace the bun: Ask for a tomato “bun” or lettuce “wrap” instead of regular bread or wraps, she says. You’ll save calories plus get additional fiber, vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.

Avoid fatty spreads: Instead of mayo or any other creamy spread on your sandwich, ask for dijon or yellow mustard instead, Miller recommends. They’re lower in calories and offer a mouthful of flavor with just a small amount.

Start the day healthy: For breakfast, opt for an egg white omelet with veggies and a side of fruit instead of a regular omelet with cheese, high-fat meats, toast and hash browns. You’ll save calories but will still feel full due to the satiating power of protein and fiber.

The simpler the better: If you choose to have a drink, stick with one serving of either wine (5 fl. oz), light beer (12 fl. oz), or plain liquors (1.5 fl. oz) with calorie-free mixers or chasers.

What Not to Eat
Even if you don’t want to change up your meals, there are definitely some foods to stay away from if you want to avoid excessive calorie counts. 

READ MORE: How to Save for Your Next Big Vacation  

Miller says that creamy soups and sauces are definitely a no-go as are crispy, fried things. Fancy alcoholic beverages, such as margaritas, daquiris and pina coladas are full of added sugars and empty calories as are sodas, juice and other sugary beverages. Your best bet, according to Miller, is to opt for water, which is the best for staying hydrated.

Add in Some Activity to Your Day
One of the fastest ways to pack on the pounds is to remain stationary for your entire trip. Getting out and about is an easy way to keep fat at bay and there are some simple ways to do that. 

Get your stroll on: Park the car farther away at every stop you make on your trip and take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator — this is an especially handy trick on a cruise ship.

Stand whenever possible: If it is safe to stand while on public transportation, do it. Stand while you wait and pace while you make a phone call. 

READ MORE: Which Travel Credit Card Is the Best? 

For some more extreme weight loss efforts, you can add in some mini workouts. Miller suggests doing a quick, 10-15 minute workout at the hotel before your start your day. It can be as simple as doing a few strength training moves, like squats and pushups, right in your hotel room.

You can also try to do 10 burpees and/or pushups every time you stop the car for gas, food, or any other break.

Regardless of what commitment you make to staying fit on vacation, your number-one commitment should be to relax and enjoy your time away.


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