As we near the end of the summer break, chances are that your holiday and warm weather get-togethers may have led to the abandonment of your usual healthy routine.
Unlimited buffets or meals out, cocktails by the poolside, and an ice cream (or two) every day have left you feeling bloated, lethargic and craving a sense of normalcy (and vegetables!) when you return home.
Combine the lack of activity due to the heat and, there’s a good chance you’ll return from your holiday with some extra weight along with your souvenirs.
According to a University of Georgia study, adults gain an average of one pound when they go on a one- to three-week holiday – and that weight tended to stay on after they returned home. While a pound may not seem much, remember that an average person only gains around one to two pounds per year.
So what are the best strategies for a healthy homecoming and getting back on track? Here’s my top tips.
Face the facts
Although it may be daunting to weigh yourself after a week or two of indulgence, consider it a starting point-no judgement involved. Don’t beat yourself up if the scales have creeped up a few pounds. Remember that some of the weight gain is likely to be water weight from bloating and inflammation. And the remaining weight gain can easily be reversed if you follow these tips.
Revisit and, if need be, reset your goals. What are your main motivators for getting healthy or losing weight? Make or update your list of all the reasons these goals are important. Be as specific as possible and write them down. Revisiting your goals daily, or even multiple times a day can help keep you motivated.
It’s likely you emptied the fridge of all perishables before jetting off for a week or two in the sun. Returning home to an empty fridge will inevitable lead to snacking on the not so healthy foods left in the cupboards or a takeaway. Schedule a home delivery of healthy foods for the day you get back off holiday. Amazon Prime offer same day delivery and early morning slots, so you can ensure that only healthy food choices are available when you get back.
Even though mounds of washing and your usual busy schedule awaits, prioritising exercise is essential. Whether it’s a 10 minute walk, a Yoga class, or a 30 minute home or gym workout, plan daily activities to burn extra calories, re-energise, and boost your mood.
Chances are, your holiday dining lacked in high-fibre foods. No wonder you’re craving a salad! Now that your fridge has been restocked, fill your plate with lots of fruit, veg and whole grains. The fibre will keep you feeling satisfied and get your digestive system back on track, too.
The plane journeys and extra servings of alcohol may have left you a bit dehydrated. Fill a large water bottle first thing in the morning and take sips throughout the day. Keep it with you even if you aren’t leaving the house – it’s an excellent reminder to hydrate.
Track your food
Post-holiday, the worst thing you can do is drastically cut calories, skip meals, or detox in an attempt to undo damage. Extreme diet “fixes” only set you up to slip up again.
Instead, use an app such as MyFitnessPal to to refocus your efforts and become aware of your eating habits.
MyFitnessPal allows you to set realistic calorie goals according to your current weight. I recommend selecting your weekly goal to no more than ‘Lose 0.5lb per week’ and activity level as ‘Not very active’.
This will calculate a sustainable calorie target for you to work toward that won’t leave you feeling hungry or restricted. You can always update the calorie goal a week or two later once you have reviewed the movement on the scales.
It can be a struggle adjusting back to your normal routine after a week or two out of it. Set yourself reminders on your phone for drinking water, getting up to move and preparing for your usual bedtime. Getting enough quality sleep is key to keeping consistent and motivated.
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