5 Ways to Deal With Vacation Weight Gain



Courtesy of brunobucci via Flickr

My weight loss journey took a wonderful turn ten months ago. That’s when I decided I was going to lose weight just one more time, permanently, once and for all. Slowly, very slowly, I have gone from the 160′s to the 150′s and now the 140′s. Being 5′ 2″ my goal is to be comfortably in the 130′s for the rest of my life.

I used to dread going to parties. Parties were outside my comfort zone. My comfort zone was the realm of my home and kitchen that I could control. Now after attending a few parties and discovering that I could handle being social while respecting myself food-wise, they are not the danger zone they used to be.

But vacations still are.

I’ve lost weight using the tried and true formula of counting calories, keeping a food journal and exercise. That is actually the easy part. As Biggest Loser winner, Ali Vincenti says, “So many people out there want to know what’s the secret so I’m here to tell them, there is no secret. Counting your calories, exercising most days and surrounding yourself with positive energy will get the job done. Not secrets!”

The hardest thing for me is the work of keeping the extra weight off. That is trickier because it has meant delving deeply into my attitudes about my self, what keeps me from truly embracing who I am and not what others want me to be.

You’d think at 57 I would have that figured out by now. Nope. I have discovered dark corners of my mind that have weighed me down as surely as any Boston Creme Pie.

How many times have I decided that when on vacation my discipline was on vacation too? The diet cop has left the building! If your method for trying to lose weight has to do with restriction as punishment (which mine was for most of my life) then yes, that makes sense. Even dogs must be taken off leash once in a while.

But going with the dog analogy, if he is trained with love and consistency, even off leash, he is happy to stay close and not get into too much trouble.

So in the spirit of loving self-kindness, I am endorsing the following attitude toward my vacation weight gain:

1. Do not get mad at your self! It amazes me how easily we get all up in our own faces and say abusive things like, “OMG! You gained three pounds in just eight days! What is¬†wrong with you! Did you have to have the chocolate milk shake AND french fries at that diner? Ugh!” Being mean to ourselves when we are already feeling low is just cruel. Stop it!

2. Admit that there were some indulgences that were wholesome, healthy and enjoyable. Own it without guilt or remorse! Yup, I haven’t had a milk shake in that particular diner since my graduate school days. It was as good as I remembered. Heaven!

3. Be proud that you managed to eat some vegetables and fruit while on vacay. It wasn’t ALL carbs!

4. You walked your ass off to the point of blisters! It could be we actually move more during vacation than we do at home. Swimming, skiing, hiking, zip lining, bungee jumping, you name it. Exercise alone may not help us lose weight, but it does help us regulate weight gain.

5. Think of those pounds gained during vacation as unwelcome house guests. Real enough but, (thank God!) not permanent. After a few days it is time to shoo those interlopers away and  reclaim your space!

As Ali said, there is no big secret to weight loss: just calories in, calories out and a great, big smile!

One comment


  • SD

    Dr Aletta,

    One thing I have tried to do lately is to give myself a reasonable amount of time after the vacation to lose the vacation weight. I don’t know about you but for me it is so easy to gain 3 pounds in 8 days but not as easy to lose the 3 pounds. It takes much longer to lose it.

    2011/04/28

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