The Women's Journal

Resisting Weight Gain While On Vacation

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By Gail M. Wynn, MD, FACS, Medical Director,

Saint Francis Bariatric Surgery MBSAQIP Accredited Comprehensive Center 



When on vacation many people, including those who have undergone weight-loss surgery and those who have not had the surgery, think that it is a time to overindulge and stray from a healthy, balanced diet. You may feel like it is okay to gain weight while on vacation and say to yourself, “When I get back home I will go on a diet and try to lose it.” As you age, your metabolism slows down. You will notice that the pounds come on quickly, but come off much slower, if at all. It is important to remember that healthy eating is a lifelong habit – one that does not go on vacation when you do. It is important to enjoy traveling and dining out, but here are some tips to avoid weight gain and still enjoy.

Resist Splurging

If you know the kind of foods you want to eat, make a list ahead of time and plan where you will eat your favorite meals. Space it out over the course of a week so you aren’t trying to eat too much in one day. And remember, your first bite tastes the best. Savor your food. Eat slowly. Take a few bites, but if you are full, stop eating.

One way to avoid overeating is to drink a glass of water 30 minutes before you eat your meal. Not only will a glass of water help you feel full, but it will help you stay hydrated throughout the day and avoid sugary or alcoholic beverages that are packed with calories.

Share Your Meals

If you have had weight-loss surgery, you cannot eat large meals since your new stomach can no longer hold large amounts of food. Instead of trying to eat large meals alone, share your plate with family and friends. Sample the food rather than feast on it. Try appetizers if you’re looking for smaller plates. Remember, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to signal that you are full, so try to stop eating before you feel full.

Limit Your Intake

Limit alcohol and desserts to one standard drink or serving per day. Although healthy, fruit should be limited. If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with fresh fruit. If you’ve had weight-loss surgery, you should have only one fruit a day.

One way to avoid weight gain on vacation is to count your calories. Most restaurants have the nutritional values for all of their meals. You can check online before dining out, or ask for a copy at the restaurant. It helps some people to keep a food journal or calendar to track calories for the day/week.

Focus on eating every 3-4 hours, and avoid snacking in between. Focus on consuming high protein meals. Protein sources include fish, like salmon which is also packed with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, skinless chicken breasts, beans, and dairy like milk, cheese and yogurt. Limit carbohydrates like white rice and dinner rolls, and focus on eating protein and dark-leafy vegetables.

Get Moving

Lastly, get out there and walk! Explore. Get fresh air! If you cannot find a walking trail or a walkable area on your trip, check your hotel for a fitness center or search the area for a gym. Most gyms offer a short trial period to use the facility before you’re required to sign up for membership. Take advantage of this and see if you can exercise for free.

Enjoy your vacation, but avoid the excessive weight gain. You will be much happier in the long run.

If you would like to speak with a dietitian about healthy eating or would like to schedule a consultation with the Saint Francis Healthcare Bariatric Surgery MBSAQIP Accredited Comprehensive Center, please call 302.421.4221 and mention the article in The Women’s Journal.

Photo by Shannon Adelson, Adelson Media, Inc.