Ester Marsh: Watch out for vacation weight gain

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2022

With summer travel and vacation, try not to gain a bunch of weight and lose the muscle you’ve worked so hard for.

I believe most of you have experienced the vacation weight gain. I know I have. I will soon be back in my home country and then Germany for three weeks. I can’t wait!

Initially I was going to stay with my dad, visit my middle daughter and her husband with their new baby girl (born May 17). The plan was to stay for eight days and be back with my dad and see the rest of my family and friends. As most of you know, things changed with a trip in March when my dad died the night after I got in — I know he waited for me.

To Americans, three weeks sounds long, but to Europeans, they say, “Why don’t you stay one month?”

Growing up at a bakery, we literally closed for three weeks and would go on vacation. Most European companies still do this.

Wouldn’t it be nice the American companies would so the same?

However, with vacation, eating differently and many times eating a lot more than usual, maybe being less active, the poundage can creep up. I know when I go home I need to watch what I eat so I don’t gain a bunch of weight. Yes, I can gain weight too just like everyone else!

At one point, I would eat all the things I can’t find here and gain the typical 5-10 pounds. I would get back, go pretty strict for a few weeks and be back on my normal weight. That doesn’t happen when you get older and I could tell after I turned 40. It came on the same but it took so much longer and was so much harder to get the excess weight off.

I also noticed that sometimes I was eating things I really didn’t want at that time but knew I wouldn’t be able to eat it when I would get back the U.S. So after that epiphany I was much more aware what I was putting in my mouth and questioned myself often, “Is it worth it?” And yes, many times it is but when I know I am eating a lot more calories that day I also try to increase my activity level that day.

The great part is that you can walk and/or ride your bike anywhere (safely) so much easier to get your “steps” in, than when you have to use a car to get from point A to point B as we must do here. So when on vacation or just on a different schedule this summer:

• Be aware what you eat

• Consciously get more steps in

• Plan your exercises ahead

• When on vacation check if there is a YMCA or gym nearby (YMCA has the reciprocity program where when you are a current YMCA member you can use any YMCA in the country. There are a few Ys where they might have it slightly different so call ahead to make sure.

• Watch your drink intake, especially alcoholic beverages pack loads of calories. (Drinking tons of low-calorie beverages adds up!)

Most of all, enjoy your time off! Use it to recharge your battery, clear your mind and relax your body. I will be gone for three weeks and not have a column until July 10 as I will have limited access to Wi-Fi and want to unplug for much of that time, truly enjoying my family and friends but most of all my new granddaughter Eisley, daughter Edie and her husband Cody!

Until then, thank you for reading and giving me the positive feedback that keeps me going!

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.