I have just come back from a week of vacation and was able to maintain my Lifetime Goal weight at Weight Watchers when I weighed in the week following. How was I able to vanquish weight gain during vacation? I was able to maintain the hard fought 175 lbs. (actually lost a pound) using 6 simple tricks!
- Wherever I Went I was Walking! One of my favorite movies is Forest Gump and the line I love the most is when he starts the jogging craze in the 70’s – “From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running!”. Being on the backside of fifty and with somewhat creaky knees, I modified Forest’s plea to walking. It is low impact and allows you to take in your vacation at a more leisurely pace. Almost all the tours I took in Washington and Virginia historical areas were walking tours – averaging over 15 k steps a day with the peak day over 30 k. Walking the streets of Williamsburg and the hills of Monticello and Montpelier allows you to take in the sights and sounds of our Founding Fathers and Mothers the way they did. It also allows you to eat some more food and counter it with exercise.
- Indulge but count. Which brings me to point to. You should indulge a bit on vacation. The new Weight Watcher’s program allows you to do just that. While on Vacation, I shared a few deserts with my wife for the first time in a long time. But I was also careful to track everything I ate to know that I was in striking distance for the week. By tracking and not attacking the buffet line, I was able to enjoy some of the colonial recipes and comfort foods in Virginia in a controlled manner. I was able to indulge and avoid the bulge!
- Drink water to counter the beer. One thing that I indulged in during the trip was beer. I love microbrews and the beer recipes from earlier times (Williamsburg has beer based on 300-year-old recipes that are off the charts!). Besides counting the points for each beer, I was careful to drink water to remain hydrated and trigger my metabolism. Beer dehydrates you, so it is important to balance your beer with water that is clear! (A little Dad joke for you all!)
- Destress, rest and learn something new. This fourth point is a critical one. You are on vacation and the purpose is to destress and rest. It is therefore important to put work on hiatus or at the very least plan the times people can reach you if critical tasks are at hand. Here is a case in point. I really needed to take a work call but there was a show about Martha Washington that I wanted to see which overlapped the call. I got to the show early to get a seat that would allow me to listen to the first hour of the show and then sneak up to a hill that had a great view of Williamsburg but was isolated enough to take the call. It is better to turn off on Vacation but in my case, I get more stressed if I do not balance critical work with fun. By planning, I was able to destress by learning about Martha Washington for the first hour and still was able to take a critical call. A little planning on vacation goes a long way!
- Vacation with someone that has your back. It is also important to vacation with someone who understands how far you have gone on your weight loss journey and wants to help you. My wife Colette is great in this respect. She has always been able to maintain her weight (I envy her metabolism). When we go out to eat, she is very accommodating in the places we select and does not push me to eat something that would push up the points. On the flip side, she does not nag me not to eat something if I make a choice to indulge. Lastly, she knows how important it is to me to track my Smart Points, so she allows me to use my phone while at dinner.
- Wait to weigh in. This last point is the most important one. The best way to maintain your weight on vacation is to not obsess about the scale. I did not weigh myself until the Sunday evening after I returned. In addition, I was mentally prepared to be higher than I normally am on a Sunday evening prior to my next Saturday weigh in. In this case, I was 3 lbs. higher than my normal Sunday weight but had confidence when I hit Weight Watchers the next Saturday, I would be at the goal weight I needed to maintain.
So, there you have it. Vacations are for fun! You can control and ultimately vanquish the vacation pounds by applying these and other simple rules from Weight Watcher’s Freestyle and other lessons learned.