When you think of a bikini-clad vacation, is a paunchy belly the first thing that crosses your mind? Nope, didn’t think so. While you likely have images of your hard-earned toned abs and derriere flashing through your head, there’s something about having your toes in the sand and cold one in your hand that causes so many people throw their diet by the wayside. And we totally get it, the piña colada and exotic vacation food is hard to turn down! Why should you, you’ve earned it, right? Even so, indulging too much can be bad news for your belly and may result in you returning home looking a bit less chiseled than you did when you left. We know that none of this sounds so great, but the good news is that you’re not alone and there are easy ways to ditch the weight.
Although it's hard to make a general estimation, Leah Kaufman, MS, RD, CDN, a New York City-based Dietitian, says if she had to guess, some vacationers may consume up to an extra 500 calories a day. This translates to an extra pound on the scale (give or take) after a seven day trip— especially if hiking, kayaking, oceanfront yoga and other active excursions aren’t part of your itinerary. So what should you do to bounce back to your better-body self? Scroll through to find out. The tips are easier to follow than you might assume—promise!
Nix Added Sugar—At Least for a Few Days
A growing body of research suggests that sugar is super addictive, and downing daiquiris and crème brule on vacation only adds fuel to the fire. While it may be a little challenging, nixing the sweet stuff once you’re back home is a great way to shed the belly jiggles, says Kaufman. “Eliminating added sugars and foods made with white flour can help you get back on the weight loss bandwagon because it forces you to make swaps like blueberry muffins for plain ol’ blueberries and white bread for the sprouted whole grain variety.” Go ahead and give this tactic a go. It may just shock you how much it tips the scale in your favor.
You likely had a few too many while you were away, so taking a break from boozing may actually be welcomed, right? (Those hangovers are killer!) Alcohol, which packs seven calories per gram, can provide an excess of at least 100 calories in your daily intake, explains Kaufman. “Cutting out these calories will naturally accelerate your post-vacation weight loss. Plus, drinking can decrease your inhibitions which may lead to eating foods that aren’t so diet-friendly (think, pizza, burgers and fries) and derail your efforts.” No matter how you look at it, saying buh-bye to the bottle for a few weeks is a win-win.
Resume Your Exercise —and Amp Things Up
Getting back into an exercise routine will help you shed those pesky post-vacation pounds. “If you forgot to pack your sneakers or didn’t hit the gym during your time away, it is very important to restart your fitness routine as soon as you get back,” says Kaufman. “The most effective workouts are high intensity and combine a bit of cardio and weight training.” Cardio-pump and boot camp classes both fit the bill and can be found online and at most local gyms. Just remember, “no amount of fitness can undo a bad diet, but getting back into your weekly workout routine and adding a bit of extra intensity will help to fuel your diet-centric weight loss efforts.”
Make Sure to Hydrate!
Boozing on vacay and flying home from the trip both cause dehydration, which can increase hunger and cause poor circulation. In turn you’ll likely feel bloated and really sleepy, notes Kaufman. Add a calendar reminder or set an alarm every few hours to remind yourself to hydrate! Aim to consume half of your bodyweight in ounces throughout the course of the day. You’ll likely feel rehydrated after a few days of this regimen.
Catch Up On Sleep
If you don’t ever seem to sleep well unless you’re in your own bed, you may return home from your trip feeling totally pooped and a little softer around the middle. Why? When we’re sleepy, the production of ghrelin (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) increases, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Eek! To help the weight come off, be sure to fit in between six and eight hours of sleep per night once you’re back home, suggests Kaufman. You can also try these eight simple tips to fry additional calories while you snooze.