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Stop the Fatcation: 6 Tips to Prevent Vaca Weight Gain

Fatcation/fatˈkāSHən/ (n) While on vacation, you do more getting fat than sightseeing.

I just got back from a fatcation, I mean vacation. 😉 Vacations can be scary for dieters, but just because you go on vacation doesn’t mean you have to take a fitness vacation too. You can still have a ton of fun, try new foods and “cheat” while not completely losing your mind – and your progress.

Here are 6 tips to help control your vacation eating – and help you bounce back quickly once you get back home.

tasting1. Taste, don’t gorge. More is not always better, but when you are on vacation, it’s fun to taste foods you normally don’t eat. Key word: Taste! Grazing all day is actually better than pigging out a couple of times a day. When you are on vacation, share plates and appetizers so you can taste more, but eat less.  

2. Be picky. Just because something is sitting on a plate in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I actually ordered 3 meals that were a disappointment to me. After I tasted it and discovered it wasn’t what I hoped, I just opted to skip it altogether because it wasn’t worth the calories to me. If you are trying to lose weight, it pays to be picky. If it’s not worth 1-2 hours in the gym to burn off, then it’s not worth eating.

 hotel gym3. Make room for more calories. When I say “make room”, I’m talking about making room for more calories. We typically consume a lot more calories on vacation than we do when we are back in our normal routine at home. However, many times people workout less. If you are watching your weight, account for the extra calories you are eating and try to stay active so you can “afford” the extra calories. Whether you hit the hotel gym, go for a jog, or you just try to walk everywhere instead of taking a cab, increasing your activity while on vacation will help you decrease your chances for vacation weight gain.  

4. What happens on vacation stays on vacation. What I mean is, the overeating, drinking, laziness, etc ends when your vacation ends. It’s very easy to let your vacation habits come home with you. Instead, make a mark in the sand and decide to jump right back to your normal routine as soon as you get back. So, as soon as you get home, hit the grocery store and start planning and cooking for the week so you are ready to eat clean again.

oops5. Forgive yourself. I’ll be honest, I feel fat as a cow right now. That’s how I FEEL. Is that reality? No. I know good and well there is no way I can erase months of training and hard work in just a few days. Can it set me back? Sure, but if I hit it hard (with both diet and training), I’ll be right back where I want to be in no time. That’s the reality. No matter how bad you feel, forgive yourself. Realize, it’s just a vacation. You deserved the break and, often times, you will even hit it HARDER when you get back. Ironically, it’s those kind of cheat days that can make you double your intensity and the drive you need to take your routine to a new level.  

fitness goals6. Set new goals and guidelines. In order to reach a goal, you need to have a goal to strive for. Once you’ve set a goal, you need to plan to get there and that requires setting some rules. Often times people set some pretty stiff rules but they have just as many exceptions as they do rules. For instance, they diet and train hard all the time except for special occasions or weekends. The problem is, many people have a lot of special occasions. Between dinner dates, birthdays, Holidays, events, etc – someone can easily have something that interrupts their routine every week if they are ont careful. My suggestion is to not allow for any cheating for 3-4 weeks so you get a really good powerful start. Then schedule one cheat day. Then go right back at it. Once you get closer to your goal, your cheat meals can be closer together. Setting rules like this keeps you accountable and on schedule to reach your goal.

Vacation from Work – and Diet

It’s been so quiet here at PFITblog for the last week. Why? Because I was on VACAAAATION!! Woo Hoo! But now I’m back and I’m ready to type until my fingers bleed! 😉

NPC Southeast Classic

Carnival CriuseAfter our Team Max group (pictured above with me in the center) competed in the NPC Southeast Classic on April 6th, Steve and I jumped on a cruise ship and headed for Mexico. To be honest, I was a little nervous about going on vacation. Not because of the recent Carnival cruise disasters, but because I was afraid of the enormous amount of food I’d be facing and I didn’t want to blow all my hard work. Cruises are known for their never-ending buffets and all-you-can-eat gourmet meals.

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterOn prior cruises, I remember the amazing food and knew I’d be tempted to go crazy. Surprisingly, either my taste buds have changed or my emphasis on food has changed. I honestly missed clean eating and was craving a simple grilled piece of meat and steamed vegetables. Everything was so oily and saucy. The chefs were clearly not concerned about my waistline.

Searching for the “Food High”

Everyone does it – it’s the search for a new “food high”. That’s that moment you’ve tasted something new or more amazing than ever before. The problem is, when you aren’t dieting, that food high can be harder to reach. But, when you eat clean (simple, healthy whole foods), you taste more of the actual food you are eating and rely less on all the sauces and fillers to entertain your tastebuds. As a result, even a little goes a long way. However, if you are eating rich foods all the time, you almost need even richer foods to wow you. It’s almost like a drug. The more you are used to, the more you need to taste to get your food high. However, if you eat clean, it takes very little to excite you.

ALBERTO'S Although I admit, I had enough chips and salsa to kill someone, the other thing I missed was smaller portions. Since I ate more than I would at home, my belly was constantly fuller. I am not just talking about my stomach, I’m talking about my entire gut. The more you eat, the more you digest. This alone makes you feel fat, even if you don’t gain one pound of fat. I tried to graze all day, but when it came to Mexico, I couldn’t stop eating the guacamole! ha!

three amigos restaurantAfter a day exploring Cozumel and tasting every pico, salsa & guac they had on the island, we ended at Three Amigos Restaurant, where we finished the night eating even MORE chips – and posing in this fun Three Amigos prop (left). 🙂 Left to right: Dawn Borders, Christopher Borders & the last happy face is ME!

Lastly, sometimes it’s just best to say no. I don’t know why we feel the need to try everything. It’s almost like we are scared of missing out. I believe it is healthy to have limitations even when eating out or on vacation. Despite how much food I DID eat, I still had rules and still tried to improve my choices. For instance, I had 1/2 a burger with no bun, I tasted some fries but didn’t finish them. Cozumel MexicoI ordered some spinach stuffed mushrooms but didn’t eat them all. I tasted desserts but only ate what I loved and ditched the rest. Most mornings I skipped over pancakes and greasy breakfast items for egg white omelets, ham and fruit. I still had PLENTY of goodies, and STILL overate, but my “going crazy” still had limits.

So, here I am, back at home sharing my experience with you. Although I am no longer on vacation, part of my vacation came home with me –  and it’s time to shed my vacation fat and jump back into my healthier routine.

See: “6 Tips to Recover from Fatcation“!

Bonnie Pfiester

Do you take a vacation from your diet when you go on vacation? Or do you still try to be good?

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