9 Reasons you're probably going to gain weight while you're on vacation

9 Reasons you're probably going to gain weight while you're on vacation

If you like piña coladas, you're not much into health food, and you're really into champagne, your next vacation could be a flat-belly nightmare. While vacations are usually a much-needed, well-deserved break from life at work and home and you may feel you have to treat yourself, the free-spirited high can come crashing down when you realize your R&R is taking a major toll on your waistline.

Remember it's not just the alcohol, between skipped workouts, lazy days by the pool, and extra-indulgent restaurant meals, there are plenty of vacation mistakes that are wrecking your body goals. Before you pack for your next escape, have a look at the worst vacation habits so you can come home feeling fit and not fat.

1. Your hotel lacks amenities 

While complimentary WiFi and a flat-screen TV are nice, we’re talking about the amenities that will help you maintain your body goals. Picking a hotel that has a fridge in your room will make it easier for you to stock up on healthy snacks like Greek yogurt, veggies, hummus, cheese, and fruit. No fridge? You can still load up on non-perishables like granola bars, beef jerky, popcorn, and nuts. Just as important as getting a room with a kitchen (and a view) is choosing a hotel that has a gym. While running outside or doing an ab routine in your hotel room will suffice, it’s easier to stick to your daily routine with a gym. Plus, having one won’t give you another excuse to not work out.

2. You picked an all-inclusive break

All-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink options are equally dangerous as they are fun. Why? Unlimited access to unhealthy choices and the "I'm on holiday" attitude make for a bad combination. Eating more often, eating multiple helpings, and eating dessert at every meal doesn't have to be done. Try and go for fruit and incorporate a couple healthy snacks in between meals - and no, a strawberry daiquiri doesn’t count.

3. You Eat Airplane and Airport Meals

The thought of packing food for a 7 am flight would never cross your mind so you can't really be blamed for it. But the options at the airport or on the plane are rarely ever flattering; the average airline meal has 1,054 calories, and some snack boxes pack a higher caloric punch. It gets worse: because the change in pressure at altitude numbs one-third of your taste buds, and food has to be prepared 10 hours before it’s eaten, those dishes are most likely packed with flavour enhancers and sodium-laden, belly-widening preservatives.

4. You don't stay hydrated

You bring your reusable water bottle with you everywhere, right? Why don’t you bring it on vacation? Whether you spend the day touring, hiking, or lounging by the pool, if you’re in the sun or being active, your body is steadily becoming dehydrated. That’s because your body has to work hard to stay cool and because you’re losing fluids and salts through sweating. When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to confuse thirst as hunger, leading you to overeat. I know the idea is to leave all you worries at home but this one will probably fit into your carry on luggage without much fuss.

5. You bring work with you 

Your job is already making you fat: you don’t need to bring it on vacation with you. To keep up or get ahead, many people feel the need to continue to work on days off. Not only does this prevent you from being able to relax fully and destress - which means your cortisol levels will continue to trigger hunger and fat storage - but it’s a huge time sink, leaving you less time to be with your loved ones and enjoy your free time and planned activities.

6. You go on a "see food" diet

Whether it be endless buffets or trying a bunch of new, foreign dishes, vacations often revolve around food. It’s certainly tempting to try everything and never reject the food that is offered to you. But just because it’s in front of your face (or free), doesn’t mean you have to try everything. It might be a little taste here and there, but those calories can add up over the course of the day. It’s fine to give into indulgences - in fact, it can help you lose weight - but you have to choose them wisely and plan accordingly.

7. You sleep away the morning 

Yes, your vacation may give you time to catch up on sleep, but sleeping in every day of your trip is one of the worst vacation habits for your waistline. According to a recent study, sleeping those extra hours can make it difficult to get rid of belly fat: people who woke up around 10:45 a.m. consumed 248 more calories a day, half as many fruits and vegetables and twice the amount fast food than those who set their alarm earlier. Besides gaining belly flab, you’re also more likely to miss a workout if you sleep in. Maybe keep to a wake up time closer to your regular life and nap in the day. Late night snacks still count on holiday too.

8. You don't snack

Without your fully stocked pantry and kitchen, it will certainly be more difficult for you to snack on anything healthy—or anything at all, for that matter. With tours, shopping, family activities, and travel, it’s easy to forget to pack a snack. When you don’t snack or have healthy snack options, your hunger might lead you to reach for unhealthy options, or it can lead you to overeat at your next meal. The three major ingredients of a perfect snack are protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and all three can be found in abundance in a good trail mix. Mix up your own high-protein snacks from a selection of nuts, seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, and dark chocolate pieces.

9. You don't splurge on food

Vacations can cost a lot of money, especially when you’re paying for your entire family. But when you choose what to nickle-and-dime, don’t make it your food. While fast food restaurants are conveniently cheap, it’s not worth the additional pounds brought on by burgers and fries. Not only will you save yourself some calories, but you’ll also save some guilt when you spend a little extra on food. According to researchers from Cornell University, restaurant goers who pay more at restaurant buffets think the food is tastier than the same food offered at a lower cost. And those customers who paid for the cheaper buffet were more likely to report that they felt guiltier about eating the meal.

You are on holiday, so please do enjoy yourselves: however, when you feel like you've overindulged, don't be too surprised when you come back and you don't look as lean as you remember. Prioritise healthy foods and exercise for the most part and incorporate a couple of these into your holiday, and you could look good enough for an Instagram "wellbeing and lifestyle" page to pay for another one.