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Marsh column: Don’t gain vacation weight

Q. Each year when we go on our family vacation I gain at least 5 pounds. Each year it is getting harder and harder to lose that vacation weight.
What can I do to prevent gaining weight on vacation?
A. I feel your “gain.” Over the years I have found that it becomes easier and easier to gain weight while on vacation and harder and harder to lose the weight upon return.
First, you need to evaluate your last year’s vacation. What did you do or not do that made you gain the weight? Did you exercise like you do when you are at home? Did you eat a lot differently then you do at home?
My guess is that your answers to both of those questions are yes!
Who wants to watch their diet on vacation? If you are like me, you like to read and chill on your vacation. I move all day long, and a vacation for me and my husband is relaxation.
Now, do I eat whatever I want and do absolutely nothing? No, I would gain a bunch of weight, too.
Years ago, when it took me just one week to lose that vacation weight, I did eat whatever I wanted and was a lot more active on my vacations.
I was an avid windsurfer, actually was a windsurf instructor back in the days. These days I really like to sunbathe and read. At work, I move all day long. On vacation, my husband, kids and I like to take long walks on the beach and enjoy a morning run (way less activity than my usual daily routine) and of course play in the ocean!
Are you active on vacation? If not, can you maybe squeeze in a daily walk or hike? Did you really want that “super duper” ice cream sundae or would the “teeny weeny” ice cream sundae have satisfied your craving?
It is all about choices you make. I choose not to gain weight on vacation. Do I have to make sacrifices? I sure do!
I have a huge sweet tooth and could eat sweets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And yes, even I would gain weight and become fat if I gave in to my cravings.
My body is used to exercise and moving all the time. Without exercise I would gain weight even faster. The older you get the harder it is to lose that weight! Is it worth it to gain that weight, take a while to get the weight off ó if you can even lose it ó and be upset with yourself the whole time because you keep asking yourself why did I do that to myself? Sounds familiar, right?
So plan your breakfast, lunch and dinners. Plan your exercise sessions, whether it is a swim in the pool, a jump in the ocean, a walk on the beach, or a bike ride on a mountain trail. Plan some fun, healthy activities you and your family can do together. Plan your “forbidden” foods; after all you are on vacation!
And watch your consumption of alcoholic beverages. Vacation tends to increase that too and boy, are we talking about taking in some calories.
So what is your choice? You can whatever you want, and later swear to yourself how you “shoulda woulda coulda” OR you can plan your foods (including some splurges) and plan your exercise sessions. The better you plan, the easier it is.
Next week: “Staycation” ó fun, healthy, activities you can do staying at home. And yes, the YMCA is part of that!
nnnContact Ester Marsh with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or emarsh@ rowanymca.com.

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