How I Got Through Vacation Without Gaining Weight!

The 5 Things I Did To Fight Off The Automatic 5 Pound Gain

By Jacqueline Wicks, PEERtrainer Co-Founder

I just got back from the annual summer vacation, and I thought it would be helpful to write about what I did differently this year. I felt pretty good about my decisions this summer and am using this article to outline the 5 specific changes I made.

Anytime people go on any sort of vacation, we get into a "zone" where we have a lot less control than we do at home. Eating at restaurants, airports and along the highway all present challenges. But there is no challenge quite the intersection of family and food.

I absolutely love the time we spend hiking and catching up with family and friends during the summer. It is our top priority. The one thing I dread is the family obsession with food.  It often seems like Dinner is the true religion of the family! Whether it’s dinner at home, or dinner at friends, the questions start right after breakfast: “What are we having for dinner?  How much wine do we need?”

Every year I am resolved to make “this year different”  but every year, I leave extremely frustrated and most of all, mad at myself.  I am “good” for the first few days and then, by day 3, after being relentlessly offered glass of wine after glass of wine, and the “famous macaroni and cheese” or the French triple crème cheese, I cave.  I “go nuts” so to speak. By day 4, I am eating everything in sight and this goes on for weeks.

You might be thinking, what is wrong with living a little?  I had many people say, "but you’re on vacation!  Why do you always have to be so disciplined?” For me, this isn’t about gaining a pound or two on vacation. I usually gain between 5 and 8 pounds and feel lousy even with all the extra activity!  I feel lousy about myself. I want go on vacation or really anywhere and have control.  I want to maintain the habits that have taken me so long to build.  Every year I come back mad and frustrated and ask myself, “Why did I do this again??”

Finally, this year was different.  Let me tell you what I did because it was only a few small changes, very doable changes and I came home feeling better than I ever have.

1.    I figured out how to have a “virtual” scale.  What I noticed this year though that the while the “food pusher” mentality was challenging, what my biggest problem was that I didn’t have a scale.  I have no way to measure how much damage I was actually doing.  I decided to try on a specific pair of jeans every morning as my accountability and knew how I was doing based on those jeans. Be creative, but find some way to measure.

2.    I stepped up the vegetables.  When I felt hungry, I immediately reached for a fresh nectarine or a bowl of blueberries.  I focused on high nutrient density fruits and vegetables and was sure to make that my default whenever I was grabbing my own food. We also went on some long drives and I made sure that we had a big bag of baby carrots in the front seat at all times.

3.    I complimented the “chef” on the healthy foods.  I raved about how much I loved the broccoli/spinach at dinner the night before and that recipe became a mainstay of planning of the next night’s dinner.

4.    I had a grasp of reality.  When the jeans were almost become too tight to put on, I went into ‘Weight Watchers points mode” and roughly counted my points.  I wasn’t exact and I didn’t want to be – this was more of a gage and a way to put some portion control around my day.

5.    I actually said “no”! We discuss how to gain the confidence to say no in the coaching program.  Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to say no and you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. But learning how to do this is a big step in taking control of your struggles.  I knew that whenever I drink wine, I tend to overeat so many nights.  A few of the nights I just replied with “no”.  Other times, I filled up a bar glass with sparkling water and lime so it looked like I was enjoying a gin and tonic.

I am psyched to say that I returned home and hopped on the scale and I was actually only .5 lbs up which could have been the extra water I had on the trip home!

In the Point Of No Return Program we spend a lot of time getting people to develop strategies for being outside their comfort zone. Once you have developed the ability to control virtually any situation, your belief in your ability to lose weight increases tremendously. This is why the program is called what it is, we get people to a point where they have a certain level of strength.

Vacations and especially eating at night require probably the greatest level of strength. We know that eating after 5pm is a huge issue for people. When you combine this phenomenon with being out of your comfort zone it can present one of the biggest challenges you face on the food front.

These are simply the five main things I did in the face of this challenge. I would be very interested in hearing how others deal with the challenges to their own comfort zones!

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