Seeming as I’m going away in a few weeks to two of my favourite places in the world, I thought it would be good to talk about how to do going away well! I actually think it’s one of the hardest things to succeed in. Ever since we were kids; holidays have been about having fun and enjoying yourself. For the 6-year old me that meant getting a triple scoop ice-cream whenever I wanted it, later nights and maybe the odd fizzy drink. As an adult, that meant having wine pre, during and after dinner (!) and amazing meals that were full of creamy pasta sauces and cheese galore! Not to mention the bread before every meal with my favourite spanish dip, Aioli. And let’s face it, it’s white french bread – not the good stuff! For those who don’t know what Aioli is by the way, it’s basically mayonnaise with A LOT of garlic, so typically not that good for you! Unless you’re doing it completely home-made and that can be a winner. Anyway, side-tracking…
So how do we keep the enjoyment of a holiday or a weekend break whilst not sending our bodies in a flat-spin spiral and coming back 10 Ibs heavier?! It’s a question I’ve slowly learned the key answers to over the past few years.
There are 3 rules I without fail stick to and they’re a great barometer to begin the holiday with. It ensures you still enjoy yourself, relax and don’t stress about being ‘exactly’ as you are back home but it also means you don’t come back from holiday with regrets of this and that!
1) Pack the Trainers…and use them!
I cannot count the times that I have gone for a weekend break, a week long holiday or any other trip where I have packed my trainers (step one accomplished) and not looked at them once – fail!
First, the hard work you’ve done prior to the holiday in the gym will rapidly disappear if you don’t continue to put your body under that kind of pressure. What happens is our muscles relax, including our cardiac (heart) muscle and because it thinks it no longer needs to work – in comes the slow metabolism, in comes the fat deposits and out-goes the muscle definition! At the very least, set yourself a goal of exercising 2 times during your week long holiday just so you can maintain the cardiovascular fitness you have worked so hard to get. However that’s worst case; best case and my rule for holiday trips:
Be active every day. By active I mean a walk to the beach instead of a taxi, a game of tennis or 30 lengths in the swimming pool mid sunbathing on the lilo! These are things that are actually enjoyable to do during the holiday and make you feel so much better when you’re tucking into some bread and wine that evening! Then on-top of being active each day, go to the gym 2-3 times during that week. I know that sounds a lot but it doesn’t have to physically be an indoor gym, just something that increases the intensity of the training. Go for hill sprints or get the family involved with a body-weight circuit, all things that will boost the metabolism, remind your body it does need to work and most importantly, counteract the possibly not-so-amazingly-healthy things you are feeding your body that week. It may sound like a lot but if you decide prior to your trip that’s just what you’re going to do, it’ll happen.
2) Shun the cocktails – have wine or spirits.
Cocktails are DEADLY. They can contain up to 500 calories in one drink. You may think they read healthy on the menu but it will be loaded with sugar syrup and are a sure way to pack on the pounds! I go for a Gin and Tonic (sometimes they do them with amazing exotic fresh fruits so look out for it!) or wine. Yes, wine is sugary and relatively calorific, but at least you know what you’re getting and chances are, you will drink cocktails far quicker than wine!
If you don’t mind a slightly sour taste then you can ask for the cocktail you like on the menu but just be really clear that you want NO sugar syrup or added sweeteners. Chances are you will have some fruit juice but it will be relatively small amount and far less calorific.
One more note..
Have a couple of drinks and by all means enjoy them however try not to drink solidly from lunch to evening, which I know can be very easy to do on holidays. It’s so awful for your body and it means you will not be able to get up and be active the next day which is a double whammy! You can enjoy an amazing meal just as much with one or two glasses of wine as opposed to three or four; fast forward a week and you’ll feel so much better for it!
I apply this rule to my every-day life. For those that have followed the blog for a while you’ll know it’s not all raw green salads and no meat with my lifestyle! I balance everything, but it’s not a counting game, it’s just daily choices that become very easy. So exhibit A) You’re out at dinner and have the choice of chocolate fondant for desert or grilled pineapple with some ice-cream or of course…none at all! Obviously none at all is the best option, and honestly after an amazing 2 course meal I find that can be an easy choice to make. However if you need to go for one, they’re both sweet and delicious but It’s easy to guess which one packs far more calories!
It’s the same with the bread before a meal – I don’t know where everyone is holidaying but certainly in Mallorca, it’s a given. Don’t load it up with butter (although a little is not going to be drastic) and stick with one piece max! Chances are you are about to eat an amazing meal so don’t fill yourself up on bread. No peanuts at the bar, these are deadly! And finally just watch the actual quantities that you eat. I find when I’m in holiday for some reason my stomach expands and it thinks it can happily consume a huge breakfast, a 2-course lunch and a 3-course dinner with all the snacks in-between and I wonder why I feel sluggish the next day! I’ve learned now that this isn’t the case and a simple thing like watching the portion sizes makes a world of difference.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and not to view a holiday as a chance to go completely off track and splurge. My whole philosophy is that eating healthy, training and feeling great is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix diet before a wedding or holiday. So therefore when it comes to going away, chances are if you believe in that thinking too, you won’t actually want the heavy chocolate desert and bottles of wine. It’s not about restriction, it’s just about knowing your body and what you want. That way holidays become pretty damn perfect!
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!