Extra weight is the last souvenir you want to bring home from your holidays! Post vacation weight gain is a problem for many travelers. Feeling chubby and flabby after a beach holiday – especially after a long overseas flight – is normal (but no fun). How do you lose the weight you gained on vacation? More importantly, how do you find and maintain your body’s healthiest size and shape?
These free and easy tips for losing weight after a vacation are for travelers of all personality types. You can adapt them to suit your lifestyle, daily activities, fitness routine and energy level. And, since you may be coping with post-vacation depression or exhaustion, I also included a few tips for bouncing back into the daily routine. At the very end are five weight loss tips from Dr Oz – some of which may surprise you!
Whether you gained weight on vacation or have been carrying additional pounds for years, what and how you eat is more important than how much you exercise. It’s much easier to eat lightly and healthfully versus inhaling whatever you want and trying to burn the calories later. Your body was designed to hold on to every calorie. And if you have a 50 year old woman’s body like mine, you’ll find it even harder to lose weight after a vacation.
Here’s my favorite post-vacation weight loss tip: Listen to your body. She is trying to tell you something. If you feel fat and constipated, your body needs special attention. She is smarter, stronger, and healthier than you realize. But she needs your help. She doesn’t want to carry around those extra holiday pounds. She doesn’t care what she looks like; she only cares how she feels and how much energy she has. Your body wants to be light and lean, joyful and energetic. Honor your body.
Here’s an example of honoring your body:
“I keep myself motivated to exercise regularly by choosing activities that meet my emotional and spiritual needs, in addition to my physical needs,” said my friend Susan. “For example, I take ballet lessons. I love the music and the movement. I love the ballet clothes and social aspects of it. Oh, and ballet happens to be really great exercise too!”
13 Post Vacation Weight Loss Tips for All Body Types
Feeling fat and constipated is related to vacation weight gain. Your belly bloat might be caused by lack of exercise, dehydration, mounds of French croissants or Mexican tacos, or too many Bahama Mamas (my weakness at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica).
I recently returned from a trip to Nepal, Dubai and Hong Kong, and found that jet lag contributed to my belly bloat. I wasn’t sleeping properly so I spent a night gathering tips on how to overcome jet lag. I also found myself snacking throughout the night, which made me feel even fatter and more constipated! Luckily, my research taught me that drinking hot lemon water before breakfast helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. Now a big mug of hot lemon water (no sugar, just the juice of half a lemon or a generous splash of lemon juice) is my morning ritual.
1. Know your personality – are you introverted or extroverted?
Believe it or not, your personality affects how successful you’ll be at losing your vacation weight. If you’re an introvert (like me) and you’re forcing yourself to work out at the gym or in a spin class, you won’t want to keep going. Then you’ll feel even more fat and constipated, which will make you want to work out even less. It’s a vicious downward spiral. If you’re an extrovert and you’re trying to go for a morning solo run at 5 am, you’ll get similar dismal results. Your fitness and nutrition habits have to match your personality. Remember Susan, who was taking ballet lessons? She went to every class because she loved it.
If you don’t know if you’re introverted or extroverted, take this Test for Introverted Personality Traits. It’s free; I excerpted it from a book called The Introvert Advantage. The more you know about your personality traits, the easier it’ll be to lose the weight you gained on vacation. Be warned, though: losing weight doesn’t always help you stop feeling fat or constipated. I weigh about 110 pounds, and I often feel fat and constipated. But, losing your vacation weight will make you feel a lot better.
I share more info about personality and weight loss in the last tip. For now, let’s keep active!
2. Choose fitness activities that match your personality
Ok, are you an introvert or an extrovert? If you don’t want to take the personality test, here’s a quick and easy way to figure it out: Introverts feel drained and tired when they’re with people, especially groups. Introverts need time alone. They can easily travel solo – but that doesn’t mean they don’t gain weight on vacation :-) I’m a skinny introverted writer who has bad belly bloat. Extroverts, on the other hand, are energized by groups of people! They love being the center of attention. Extroverts don’t enjoy being alone as much as introverts do. Some extroverts hate being alone.
What do personality traits have to do with vacation weight loss? Everything! If you want to stop feeling fat and constipated, you need to get moving. Get your heart pumping, your blood traveling through your veins, your digestion perked up, your brain sparked. You’ll feel less bloated if you get physically active. If you’re introverted, pay attention to how you feel when you’re working out with groups of people. I’m not talking about if you feel fat and constipated, I’m talking about how comfortable you feel in an exercise group. Maybe you’d be happier running on your own, biking, or swimming. If you’re extroverted, you may prefer intense workouts with groups of people. You may love going to the gym or fitness class every day; maybe you even crave excitement and lots of activity. You want to go, go, go – which would make you think you’d be less likely to feel fat and constipated after a vacation. But just because you’re constantly active doesn’t mean you’re physically healthy.
3. Sleep in your workout clothes
When I was trying to lose weight (which I didn’t gain on vacation, I was just always a chubby girl), a personal fitness trainer told me to sleep in my fitness clothes. “Sounds crazy, but in winter I wear my sports bra and workout T-shirt to bed so it’s super-easy to get out the door on cold dark mornings,” she said. I tried it, and I love it! I don’t wear Lulu Lemon workout clothes, I just wear an old T-shirt and leggings when I walk/jog. They’re comfortable to sleep in, and I don’t have to force myself to get dressed when I get up.
Do you wear tight-fitting fitness clothes or baggy T-shirts when you feel fat and constipated? Some women don’t like the sloppiness of baggy workout clothes; they’re more motivated to lose weight after a vacation if they were fitted fitness gear. This is another reason it’s so important to know yourself. What helps you get your body moving? Pay attention to what feels good and right to you. You may feel constipated and fat, and you may even regret everything you ate on your holidays because of the weight you gained. Let it go. It’s time to listen to your body and give her what she needs now: TLC (tender loving care). Listening to your body isn’t just about vacation weight loss, it’s an important sign of self-care and self-love.
4. Don’t take your workout clothes off. Ever.
If you work from home, you can wear whatever you want, right? I’m a writer. I wear my workout clothes all day long. I weave exercise into my daily routine: I walk at 5 am, 11 am, and 4 pm. I used to run, until I fell and broke my shoulder. Now I walk instead of jog – and surprisingly, I haven’t gained weight. Walking outside helps reduce belly bloat, and so does walking inside on my treadmill.
A related tip for vacation weight loss is to keep your gym or fitness class bag packed. Try to minimize the obstacles that prevent you from getting the exercise you need. The more complicated or time-consuming it is to get your body moving, the less likely you’ll do it! Make it easy to lose weight by creating habits that help you get and stay organized. “Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time,” said Mark Twain.
5. Give yourself three weeks to achieve your initial weight loss goal
Losing weight after a delicious French vacation or Mediterranean ocean cruise isn’t something you do fast. Don’t believe the weight loss lies! You can’t lose 10 or 20 pounds in a week or two, and expect to keep it off until your next vacation. It can take six weeks before you see physical changes in your body. Yes, it can even take that long before you stop feeling constipated and fat after your vacation. It sucks, I know. But the time will pass quicker than you think.
Adopt a long-term view – a slow, patient perspective that relaxes your body and releases anxiety. Give yourself three weeks to adjust to being home after traveling, and another three weeks to notice changes in your body. “To avoid getting derailed,” says fitness instructor Amanda Vogel, “follow this six week approach: In the first three weeks, expect mental and emotional changes – more energy or a confidence boost. Expect to start seeing a slightly slimmer, tighter body after three weeks.”
6. Trust the long, sloooow process of post-vacation weight loss
Yes, right now you feel constipated and fat after a vacation. Yes, you may have gained 10 or 20 pounds on your holidays. And yes, it’ll take time to lose the weight you gained. Instead of focusing on weight loss for your next vacation, create a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel good. For example, when I eat too much heavy food (sugar, fat, meat) at night I don’t sleep well. I wake up feeling full and sluggish, fat and bloated. This isn’t just while I’m on holidays, though some of my worst “pig out” memories were on vacation. Now I am very careful not to eat rich food after 6 pm – or any time of the day, to be honest. I learned how to listen to my body, and she doesn’t like a dump truck of food in one sitting. Took her a long time to teach me that.
If you’ve dealt with vacation weight gain in the past, remind yourself that you’ve been here before. This isn’t the first time you’ve felt constipated and fat after a vacation, and you lost the weight before. Or maybe you didn’t. Did you? This is where a travel journal would come in handy! If you journal your food and exercise habits while traveling, you become more in tune with your body and spirit. Pay attention to your body’s rhythms and seasons. Perhaps holiday weight gain is simply how you roll. If you accept your body for who she is – especially when you feel fat and constipated after a vacation – she will relax. And the process of slimming down and feeling good again will be much easier.
Do you journal about your vacations? Read Travel Gift Idea: 10 Best Travel Journals for Solo or Group Treks.
7. Pay attention to your body’s best times to eat
“How or why a person gains weight is very complicated, but it clearly is not just calories in and calories out,” said neurobiology and physiology professor Fred Turek, director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology. “We think some factors are under circadian control. Better timing of meals, which would require a change in behavior, could be a critical element in slowing the ever-increasing incidence of obesity.”
Your metabolism slows down at night; your body wants to sleep and is conserving resources. This is not the best time of day to eat if you want to lose weight because your body won’t process the food quickly or efficiently. To stop yourself from snacking at night, picture the potato chips or ice cream going straight to your bottom and belly and turning into blubber and bloat….ugh. Imagine how constipated and fat you’ll feel unless you listen to your body. Your daily cycle of eating, moving and sleeping is your circadian rhythm. This internal clock pays attention to external dark and light cycles. Your body is monitoring you and the environment without you even knowing it. See how smart she is?
As you’ll soon see in the last five post-vacation weight loss tips, Dr Oz agrees.
8. Learn how your personality affects your weight loss motivation
Neurotic people are least likely to exercise. Ironically, they’re most in need of exercise because it reduces anxiety and depression. Neurotic people tend to do cardiovascular exercises indoors, but not in a gym. They prefer home treadmills and low-intensity workouts, both on vacation and at home.
Conscientious people are motivated enough to schedule their own fitness plan – and stick to it. They are often very self-disciplined people who strive to achieve something. Conscientious people want to take charge of their own exercise routine to make sure it will get done, and are less likely to work with a personal trainer.
Agreeable people like to exercise first thing in the morning, to get it over with. Since they’re compliant and friendly, they have a tendency to help others and acquiesce to requests.
Introverts – like me – tend to like to run, cycle, or work out alone. They find groups of people draining, so their fitness goals need to involve “me” time.
Extroverts prefer intense workouts with groups of people, and often exercise fairly often. Extroverts often crave excitement and activity, and also prefer to listen to music while exercising.
6 Questions to Reveal Your “Exercise Personality”
You don’t need a long personality test to determine how to get and stay motivated. Simply answering these questions can help you find the exercise plan that works for you.
- Do you prefer working out in the morning, at lunch, or after supper?
- Do you want to learn something new, or stick with your favorite activities?
- Am you motivated by a personal trainer or people working out nearby?
- Do you like to work out alone, so you can set your own pace?
- Is exercising your way of socializing and meeting new people?
- Do I like to schedule my exercise into your day, or spontaneously choose an activity?
Choosing activities that align with your personality and lifestyle will help you lose that post-vacation weight.
5 Weight Loss Tips From Dr Oz
“Losing weight can feel like a full-time job,” said Dr Oz in a recent weight loss rerun of his show. “There are weight loss shortcuts, and your body is more receptive to losing weight at certain times of the day.” Here are several of Dr Oz’s weight loss tips (vacation or not). My favorite tip from that Dr Oz show was to have a “pig out day.” One day a week, you can eat whatever you like! Just like your vacation :-)
My least favorite weight loss tip was having a bath in icy cold water.
1. When is the best time of day to exercise to lose weight?
First thing in the morning! Exercising in the morning, says Dr Oz, helps you burn calories from different parts of your body. When you wake up and expend calories right away, you’re burning fat and are more likely to lose the weight you gained on vacation. If you exercise later in the day, you’re burning the food you ate – not the fat you put on while you were away.
2. What is the best time of day to eat your meals?
The best time of the day to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner is to follow your natural circadian rhythms. If you get up at 6:30, for example, eat breakfast at 7:30. Eat lunch about 4 ½ hours later (1:30 pm), and dinner about 6 ½ hours later (6:30 pm). Have dinner about 3 ½ hours before going to bed. This will stop you from getting too hungry.
3. When is the best time to boost your metabolism?
The best time of the day to increase metabolism is 8 am, says Dr Oz. Drink a glass of ice cold water at 8 am. It’ll help you burn calories and make you feel full. According to Dr Oz, you’ll lose a pound a year if you drink a glass of ice cold water every day. That’s a long time to lose weight after a vacation, but you may keep it off!
4. What is the best time of day to go food shopping?
Surprisingly, when you shop for groceries can affect your vacation weight loss. The best time to grocery shop is at 10 am. You’re still full from breakfast and the glass of ice cold water. Your blood sugar levels are at a good level, which will help you make good grocery shopping decisions.
5. Does it matter when you eat fiber to supplement vacation weight loss?
Here’s Dr Oz’s weight loss tip for fiber supplements: Take one at 6:15 pm, before you eat dinner. This will help you feel full and thus eat less supper. Even losing as little as 70 calories a day can help you lose 70 pounds of weight a year. Just in time for your next vacation!
If you’re reading this article because you want to help a loved one lose weight after a vacation, read How to Deal With Your Girlfriend’s Weight Gain. The tips are applicable to many different types of relationships – and the comments section is more interesting than the article itself!
Travel in faith, my friend. Even when you feel bloated.