All sunshine and PTO, summer vacation is unequivocally blissful… that is, until the vacation weight gain sets in. Whether you’re back from a week of binging on baguettes, fromage, and champagne in Paris, or a long weekend throwing back margaritas and guacamole in Mexico, you can dial back the digits on your scale and reclaim your pre-vacation weight. Read on to learn how to lose that vacation weight sooner rather than later.
By simply being active and going back to your normal diet, your vacation weight will come off eventually (so long as you practice clean eating and moderate exercise). However, you should be careful not to diet aggressively or restrict your calories. As nutritionist Dr. Mike Roussell told Self, a binge-and-restrict diet pattern “may or may not have negative impacts on your metabolism in the short term, but over the long term it lays the groundwork for an unhealthy relationship with food.”
The Post-Vacation Eating Plan
A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that what’s called “calorie/carb cycling” is almost twice as effective with weight gain as a restrictive diet—and it’s safer. Essentially, you’ll be alternating between low carb-/low-calorie days and higher calorie days throughout the week. Here is how it works:
Five days per week, follow a Mediterranean diet.
- 1500 calories/day, 40/30/30% ratio of calories from carbs/protein/fat
- This is sometimes called the “Zone diet,” or eating foods at every meal in the right proportions.
Two days per week, follow a carb- and calorie-restricted diet.
- 650 calories/day, fewer than 50 grams of carbs/day
- Low-carb, low-calorie foods to try: non-starchy vegetables, wild-caught fish, light proteins like chicken or turkey breast, eggs, sunflower seeds
Though you can select which days of the week to follow each diet to suit your lifestyle, Roussell advises choosing “nonconsecutive and non-training days” for your restricted diet.
Other Things to Note:
Stay active. Our daily fitness routines have a peculiar habit of flying out the window at the sight of a beach towel, so don’t be hard on yourself for not making it to the hotel gym! Now that your vacation is over, get back in the groove of exercising at least three to four times per week. Integrate strength training into your routine, so you burn calories while you’re at rest.
Eat in. It’s much harder to control your intake when you’re eating out, so don’t over-schedule yourself with too many lunches or dinners out. Make a point of making your meals at home, and even bringing your lunch to work if you can.
Cut down on cocktails. You don’t need to give up rosé for 40 days (hey, it’s not Lent), but post-vacation, it’s a good idea to cut back on the cocktails after your vacation. Alcoholic drinks tend to be high in sugar and calories. Instead, try low-calorie beverages like tea, water, or flavored water.
What are your tips for a post-vacation reboot? Share below.