I'm writing from the Outer Banks in North Carolina; sitting in a beautiful beach house with 19 other people in my family. It's fun times! But how does one have all that fun and not gain 5 or even 10 pounds while on vacation?!
Everyone is different so what works for me may not work for you. But here I offer some tips that should help you at least MAINTAIN your weight while on vacation.
1. Put weight LOSS on hold
It is possible to lose weight on vacation, but do you really want to? If so, simply continue what you have been doing. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to continue to follow your normal lifestyle while vacationing but it might be nice to take a break and let loose a little.
My main reason for putting this here is that I work with many people that get extremely disappointed when they don't lose weight while they are away. So, consider saving yourself some discouragement, and focus on simply maintaining your weight and not gaining. It takes the pressure off!!
2. Skip one to two meals per day
You may be partying it up at every meal but chances are there is at least one meal per day where you can easily not eat and/or eat very lightly.
I recommend skipping breakfast because it is the meal that is usually (but not always) the least social. If for you dinner is less social and breakfast is where everyone gathers or you have a favorite restaurant, then skip dinner. It doesn't have to be the same meal every day. You can switch it up based on your needs. But the point is, get at least 14-18 hours of "fasting" each day (or as often as you can).
This extended period of time not eating will give your body an opportunity to utilize any extra calories you consumed the day before and will keep your fat-burning up. It also adds a degree of "control" to your day.
One of the main issues on vacation is getting "out of control" with eating and feeling like if you ate poorly one day you might as well "give up" and eat whatever. This daily intermittent fasting gives you a chance to reset each and every day and get back on track. And it's easy to do if you are used to doing it in your daily life.
3. Continue to exercise and just be super active
Before you go away, set up and commit to an exercise routine. You may be going somewhere with a state-of-the-art gym and exercise classes. If so, that's easy! Just map out your plan and stick to it, no matter what!
If there is no gym or classes then rely on the great outdoors. It could be sightseeing in Rome for hours and hours or cycling through country roads or jogging and swimming at the beach. Whatever it is, do it! And make sure to do some strength training every day. If you don't have a gym or weights then commit to 3-5 sets of properly executed push-ups, lunges, squats, and planks every single day. These can be done anywhere!
In addition to regular exercise, get up and move around as much as you can. Be the one doing the dishes, go on a few extra walks to see the sights and scenery, do the kayak tours, play with the kids more, etc. This level of activity will heavily enrich your vacation anyway.
It is highly satisfying to get active in a new environment. Here in the Outer Banks I have been cycling daily, taking long walks on the beach, riding the waves, and kayaking. It allows me to more deeply experience the wildlife and nature here.
4. Always have a PLAN!
Whenever you are working to lose weight you always need a plan. Without a plan there are just too many forces that could pull you off track. This is particularly true when dining out, going to parties, and being on vacation. Map out what you will eat, when you will eat, and how you will eat ahead of time. This is absolutely imperative!
My plan here is as follows:
Skip breakfast daily. Just have plain, homemade bone broth
Lunch is a salmon burger with my "Juicy" (fresh veggie juice in a smoothie) OR sardines with a large salad
If I have a snack it will be fresh fruit or my homemade date bars
Dinner is where I allow myself to eat more loosely. I only have small amounts of grains but I do allow some dessert. Or vice versa, depending on what there is. I am still super mindful of my portions and make sure to really enjoy my food so I don't overeat.
With this plan I know what I need to do AND I know I won't feel "deprived". I'm allowing myself to indulge when it matters most to me. Otherwise, I don't really care. For me lunch and breakfast are the times when it is super easy and effortless to either not eat or to eat really well. Dinner is my weak spot and I know that. So I plan accordingly.
So, it IS possible to be on vacation and to indulge and not feel like the oddball that isn't eating any dessert and also to maintain your weight. Remember also that on vacation you will usually (hopefully always) feel more relaxed than in your daily life. This too will help keep the extra pounds of fat tissue away!