Recently I went to Italy and instead of looking forward to the trip, I found myself stressing over the probable weight gain. Not only I was going to Italy, which is known for good food, I was going to Sicily which is also known for its sweets. On top of that I was going for a wedding and to meet my husband’s family, two events that imply lots of eating. Knowing that on the trip I would not have access to a gym, nor the opportunity to exercise regularly and that a lot of my time would be spent around food, I decided to take some steps to avoid gaining on the trip.
Before the Trip
Since I knew the food would be amazing and I didn’t plan to deny myself the good food and sweets, I started preparing myself even before I left by eating fewer calories, especially processed food. I also increased the intensity of my workouts and tried to daily get a cardio workout, even if only for 10 minutes, and a strength training workout, even if just push ups. The former to burn more calories and the latter to build muscle and burn even at rest. On the weekends, I increased my physical activity with tennis, biking, swimming and runs on the beach, which feel less like exercise.
Day of the Trip
On the day of the trip I had three clients but for once it was so easy to get up at 6.30 AM. Actually I was happy to get up early and have more time for the things I needed to do before heading to the airport. I vacuumed and mopped the whole house, cleaned the refrigerator (much easier when it is almost empty), watered the plants, and was happy about the calories I was burning. To offset even more the many hours I would be sitting at the airport and on the plane, I went for a 30 minute run. By the time we headed to the airport, I was pretty hungry since I ate a light breakfast and instead of lunch I had snacked throughout the day on fruits, vegetables and nuts. We headed to a restaurant inside the airport where I ordered chicken and broccoli, protein to keep me full and a vegetable for a good source of fiber. While waiting for the plane I was still hungry so I munched on the snacks I had brought: baby carrots, apples, almonds and raisins.
During the Trip
Because of all the preparations I didn’t feel guilty about the extra bread roll and croissant I had for breakfast on the plane. I had finally reached the amazing European food and I was going to indulge but with some limits. If I ate a lot at one meal, I would skip or reduce portions at the next meal. The pasta might be amazing but two servings are enough. The sweets might be delicious but I don’t need a third slice. Even on a trip I think of how happy the food will make me. I know that the “denial” now makes me happier than the weight gain later on. Anyway I eat enough to avoid feeling deprived.
For the trip I had decided to take a jump rope and an exercise band with me, but in the end I didn’t as I could easily incorporated crunches, squats and the many exercises that only require body weight. However, only once during the whole trip I did dips, lunges and push up; when I had an hour to kill at the airport. But I walked a lot, hiked the mountains and when I was able to run, I purposely took routes that were uphill.
After the Trip
Coming back from a trip is never easy, the fun is over and there is a lot of catching up. But you enjoyed all the amazing food and now that you are back, you can skip the extra calories such as Thursday Night Ice Cream with the girls or the Sunday Beer and Chips with the guys. Eat more fruit, vegetables and grains and less bread and pasta. Be more physically active, whether that means dancing, attending more classes at the gym or longer runs. Being on vacation means eating more than normal so don’t deny yourself anything but set limits and plan ahead. Even if you gain few pounds, it is not the end of the world, after all it is called a vacation and you want to enjoy it.
About the Author
Aris Akavan, ACE certified Personal Trainer & Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, is owner of Body Fitness by Aris. Her mission is to assist others in leading a healthier lifestyle by balancing exercise and proper eating habits to achieve the ultimate body & mind wellness. Aris leads by example as she practices what she preaches. She leads an alcohol free and smoke free lifestyle and has worked out while following proper nutrition practices for over 10 years. In the last few years she also started participating in 5k races, adventure runs and triathlons. You can visit Aris at any of her following: