Spring Break 2014 : How To Indulge Without Derailing Your Diet

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(Healthcastle.com) Spring break and reading break are almost upon us, and with those vacations comes a lot of excess calories and often unwanted weight gain. Read on to find out how to both indulge and relax without packing on the pounds this vacation.

Why You Shouldn’t Throw Out All The Rules On Vacation:

I don’t know about you, but not only does all the indulging come with extra pounds for most of my clients, but  they also end up with massive cravings for the same salty or rich foods or for a few glasses of wine every night for a few weeks after they get back. When you prime your body to eat a certain amount of times (or all day long) and play with your blood sugar and metabolism on vacation, you end up dealing with the changes in appetite hormones and “habit” cravings long after you get back. For those who are working at losing weight or maintaining healthy weight and blood sugar or cholesterol, this can be a real pain!

So how do you enjoy your vacation, food and drink included, without throwing off your whole game? Try these three easy strategies to keep you feeling and looking good all year.

1. Eat At Regular Times

Try not to totally throw off your usual schedule. Do you normally have three square meals? Then try to stick to that with the odd light snack if you’re more active in the sun and surf. Do you usually find you need several small meals to prevent blood sugar dips? Make sure you’re keeping up healthy carbs like fruit or whole grains paired with a bit of protein throughout the day, especially if you’re drinking.

Totally overhauling your schedule by skipping meals while you’re on the beach or grazing on junk all day will mean you have to start over when you get home and fight through the hunger pangs and appetite hormones that control much of when we think to eat. Letting blood sugar dip too low frequently may lead to poor choices as your hunger overtakes you.

Habit plays another big role in controlling when and how much we eat, so keeping some semblance of your usual makes it much easier to return home and get back to normal without feeling deprived.

2. Pick Your Indulgences

Expecting to stick to a strict plan while on vacation is not just unrealistic, it’s a little sad! Vacation is a time to thoroughly enjoy yourself, and if food is one of your loves it shouldn’t be left out.

Pick an indulgent meal each day and enjoy each bite. Going out for brunch? Order the eggs benedict. Fancy dinner night on the cruise- take your pick of delights. Don’t feel even a little bit guilty about it! Planning for something special means you’re less likely to overdo it all day long. It’s also easier to say no to some of the junky stuff that you might pick at mindlessly throughout the day.

Aside from that though, try to keep your meals fairly healthy. Load up on fruit at breakfast, have a fresh salad with local seafood for lunch and try to choose more normal snacks like yogurt, a small handful of trail mix, or just enjoy the local bounty of fresh fruits and veggies.

3. Ramp Up Your Fibre Intake

Fibre is your friend on vacation! We’ve all experienced a less than happy gut at the end of a trip full of refined food and low on bulk. Keeping your bowels and their wealth of healthy bacteria happy on your trip can help to control weight, appetite and also keeps that lethargy away that comes when your normal schedule is disrupted.

Fibre also slows absorption of carbohydrates, stabilizing your blood sugar in the process. Avoiding those highs and lows helps normalize your metabolism and keep appetite steady. It fills you up earlier, helping you stay satisfied between meals.

How do you keep your fibre intake up? Choose lots of fruit at breakfast, snacks and dessert.  Fill up on a variety of veggies at every meal. Try to find starch veggies with skins on or look for entrees with beans and legumes, wild rice or other whole grains. Small portions of nuts and dried fruit to take on the road is also an easy way to sneak extra fibre in less than willing family members.

Moral of the story? Enjoy that vacation, food included but come back ready to hit the ground running with your usual healthy lifestyle to avoid the yo yo effect on your weight and health year round. 

What are your favourite healthy vacation food treats? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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