After clients return from their holidays many dread checking their weight.
“Oh no, this is going to be awful, I've eaten so much on holiday”
“I've been sunbathing by the pool all day”
However, many clients are pleasantly surprised that their food or alcohol binge has not been as damaging as they thought: some turn out to have maintained, or, even more impressively, lost weight!
But how can this be?
Firstly we focus on the negative or ‘bad things' we've done, or not done, rather than the things we've done well as you'll see below...
Most jobs nowadays are almost completely sedentary. So despite lounging around the pool or on the beach we forget about all the walking we do in between: perhaps visiting new places or even just around the airports dragging suitcases! We also forget about the swimming in the pool or sea. This general activity can turn out to be much greater than we would have done in a normal working week counteracting (some!) of the additional food and alcohol we eat and drink.
One client who recently returned from holiday was surprised to find he had walked up to 22k steps some days - that was significantly more than his normal weekday average around 6k.
Ever come back from holiday feeling refreshed? That's because many of us sleep better when we're on holiday. We don't have every day life and work stresses constantly on our minds and we often have more hours in bed so we're sleeping deeper and for longer. If our body is better rested it's able to better regulate weight by controlling our appetite.
Another factor is water. Quite frequently when we have a weigh in just after holiday the weight we have gained is due to water retention. This is from the different foods we are eating and also flying. (Ever noticed your feet swell on an airplane?). Usually we lose this water weight within a week of being home.
“The food tastes so different abroad”. Yes - because it's often much fresher and not as processed compared to some of the food we have here in the UK. The dinners we eat are freshly prepared and the fruit and vegetables are much more nutrient rich making us feel more energised. If foods are less processed they generally have fewer calories than we think as well.
We don't eat as much as we think. I for one only had two main meals a day on holiday. I had such a big breakfast I simply couldn't stomach lunch a couple of hours later. Another client agreed saying they were never up early enough to make breakfast so they only ate Lunch and Dinner!
So a number of factors can actually positively affect our weight when we're on holiday. Unfortunately the above is unlikely to make up for a full days eating and drinking on an all inclusive holiday though. If we have developed good year-round habits you can relax and not have to worry so much as you will unknowingly maintain many of those habits on holiday.
A holiday is usually 1 or 2 weeks out of 52 and consistency is key to weight maintenance. (Remember weight is simply a number that we shouldn't get fixed upon and we should listen to how we feel).