by Dr. Suzanne Bentz
Unfortunately, many travelers return with extra pounds as one of their mementos. According to Dr. Suzanne Bentz, a bariartric specialist, that need not be. “It is possible to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages while on vacation without the resulting weight gain,” she explains. Here are her tips on how to do just that.
Before you arrive at your destination, set a realistic weight management goal. Decide at the onset how many extra calories you are going to allow yourself daily. For example, “I plan to continue to eat as I do now, but I will also factor up to 300 extra calories per day of food and/or alcohol.” Monitoring your daily caloric intake will help you stay on track and prevent unwanted weight gain. Remember, it only takes 3,500 extra calories to cause a one-pound weight gain.
INCORPORATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO YOUR ITINERARY
In order to offset the increase in your caloric consumption, incorporate daily exercise and physical activities that you enjoy. If you are headed to the beach, there are a host of opportunities such as walking, running and biking along the shoreline, swimming, kayaking, beach volleyball, paddle boarding and surfing.
If you are visiting a city or an inland location, explore on foot. Walking is a great way to take in the local culture, architecture and sights. Instead of taking a tour bus or taxi to visit the attractions, opt for a walking or bike tour. With so many new and interesting things to see, you will not even notice that you are exercising.
Dr. Suzanne Bentz
Remember, exercise and physical activity will be your winning ticket to prevent weight gain while on vacation.
Stay away from the hotel room mini-bar…don’t even open it! It is filled with high caloric snacks, candy and beverages. Ask that it be emptied so that you can stock healthy snacks like fruit, veggies, low-fat yogurt and cheese. Sensible options will help you manage your hunger between meals and prevent feeling famished when you do go out to dine.
Avoid buffet-style eating. The tempting choices are overwhelming and guarantee that you will overeat. “But I have to eat my money’s worth” is never a good idea. You can easily consume your entire day’s calorie requirements at the breakfast buffet. Instead, order from the menu where selections and portions are more reasonable.
Known for serving a continuous stream of buffet offerings throughout the day, beware of cruise ship dining. Opt to eat your meals in the dining room where the portions and choices are more appropriate.
PRACTICE PORTION CONTROL
Even when you are on vacation, be mindful of portion control. Eat small amounts slowly so you taste the food and savor its complexities. Relish every bite so you feel a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. Limiting the amount you eat is an excellent way to control calories and make room for occasional treats.
MAKE IT SPECIAL
Do not waste waste vacation calories on foods that you can eat at home. Instead, save your splurge to experience the flavors and specialities of the locale you are visiting. The cuisine you enjoyed on holiday will remind you of your trip and add to your special memories of your travels.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
Feeling deprived is not fun, so indulge, but in moderation. This means having a few bites of your favorite main dish or a taste of your travel companion’s dessert. Eating small amounts of your favorite foods will help you feel satisfied.
When it comes to alcohol, the calories add up very quickly, particularly those frothy drinks typically served with an umbrella. So, when it comes to alcoholic beverages, select wisely. For instance, choose lower calorie options such as light beer, champagne, wine and spirits mixed with water, club soda or diet drinks. Additionally, to prevent weight gain, alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic choices such as diet soft drinks and fresh juices mixed with sparkling water.
Dr. Suzanne Bentz, D.O. is the Owner and Medical Director of Red Mountain Weight Loss. She is a Diplomate of the Obesity Medicine Association and Certified in Family Practice and Obesity Medicine.