It’s holiday season, and many of us will have been hitting the diet and exercise hard in order to get bikini body ready. However, taking time off for a holiday doesn’t mean we need to take time off from healthy lifestyle choices and ruin months of hard work. With nearly a quarter of us looking to lose weight, your goals don’t have to go on hold either, with some simple planning, you can still enjoy your holiday, and come home happier, healthier and with benefits that long our last your holiday tan.
Here are my top tips for a healthier holiday.
Plan for snack attacks – Airports are famous for fast food restaurants and super-size chocolate and sweets. Plan ahead for the plane or car journey by buying healthy snacks that are travel friendly such as nuts and seeds, granola, apples or raisins. You could also make your own power balls or snack bars at home before you travel – try www.foodnetwork.com or www.thehealthychef.com for recipe ideas. Whatever you don’t eat travelling, you can save for sightseeing.
Stretch it out – Start your morning before each adventure with a good stretch – stretch your arms, legs, neck, back and shoulders for 5-10 minutes. On long flights, remember to do this as often as you can. Also, if you stretch before you go to bed, it relaxes your muscles and allows for a better night’s sleep.
Breathe Deeply - If you find travelling quite stressful, remember to breathe! You can do breathing exercises anywhere and anytime you feel you need to. Just take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and exhale. Repeat. This will help you to relax and counter the stress of travelling.
Inhale essential oils - If flying makes you anxious, have a tissue ready with 1 drop of lavender and 1 drop of geranium, and inhale deeply. This also works for people who get irritable on long journeys in the car or on a plane.
Ease travel sickness - A drop of peppermint oil on the tongue or under the seat can really help with nausea when travelling in the car or on a plane as it has a lovely calming effect on the stomach.
Make moving part of the fun – even on relaxing beach holidays, you could take a stroll down the beach, or enjoy lengths in the pool to help you cool down. For city holidays, walking through the streets while you are sightseeing instead of taking public transport everywhere can make you feel strong and supple.
Take the gym with you – don’t rely on the hotel gym, usually they open at rubbish hours anyway, but it’s not an excuse to stop working out. I usually pack a skipping rope and my gym trainers, so I can do cardio and body weight exercises anywhere, and there’s nothing more beautiful than an early morning workout on the beach before it gets busy. If space in your case is an issue, then just pack a few items which are light weight, easy breathable materials that can easily be hand washed on your trip.
Try cycling to get around - Ditch the public transport and hire a bike instead to fully explore your destination. Or ask the hotel concierge the most picturesque route for an early morning jog.
Mix up your training – not all of the family are interested in active holidays, but there are some ways you can still get your workout with the whole family. Use nature as your gym. Hire some bikes and go exploring together, it’s a great cardiovascular exercise. Try learning to surf; it works the upper body when paddling out, and the lower body when balancing on the waves, so a great all over workout, and lots of fun too. Sandy beaches add extra resistance to your running and beach volleyball games, or try board yoga to find muscles you never knew you had!
Opt for self-catering - if you are not good at resisting the temptation of the all you can eat buffet, they try self-catering options. If you are staying in a Villa as a group, you can take it in turns to cook healthy meals with sharing platters, salads and barbeque dishes.
Limit your courses - At the buffet restaurant, try the one plate rule; when we are grazing, we rarely think about what we are eating, so resist temptation with the one plate rule. Sticking to eating one plate makes us more mindful of what we choose to have.
Give yourself a break – being away doesn’t mean your diet should suffer, but constantly assessing everything you eat and drink affects you mentally, and leads to burnout. Just be more mindful of the foods you are choosing, eat lots of healthy veg and protein. I choose low carb dishes and spend some time each day exercising so I don’t have to watch everything I eat and can enjoy the occasional dessert guilt free.
Take advantage of local and seasonal food – if you are by the sea, eats lots of grilled fish. Oily fish like mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines are rich in Omega 3 which keeps your skin hydrated and encourages healthy digestion and weight loss.
Hydration is key – sitting in the hot sun all day, and drinking alcohol can make you very dehydrated. Apart from being thirsty, being dehydrated can lead to water gain and slow your metabolism. Make sure you up your water intake, and add some fruit juices to mix things up.
Add some extra salt to your dishes - this will help to speed up the rehydration and replace the salt lost through sweating.
Eat foods containing Omega-3 - such as salmon, walnuts and chia seeds which can also help keep your skin and scalp hydrated.
Night’s out – if you do decide to have a boozy night out, make sure you eat protein first, and try to alternate a glass of alcohol with a glass of water. Cocktails can be full of sugar; red wine is a better choice.
Remember to relax
Get closer to nature – a great way to de-stress and chill out is to find somewhere where you can totally leave the electronics behind and connect to nature. Try camping or boating holidays.
Switch off – try a digital detox! Turn off you phone for at least a few hours every day of your holiday which will enable you to switch off properly and keep stress levels low. I tend to keep my phone in the safe, and check for important messages at set times of the day.
Don’t forget to relax – after all that’s what your holiday is for; taking slow walks and relaxing by the pool are essential elements to any good break.
Catch up on some sleep – Holidays are important to catch up on lost sleep and allow our bodies time to recover and recharge, so don’t be tempted to stay up late every night of your holiday.
Make it part of your daily routine
Health and fitness should be part of your daily life no matter where in the world you are. Make small changes on holiday, like taking the stairs instead of the lift, or swapping desserts for veggie snacks, drinking more water, and walking down the beach every day.
Incorporate these changes into daily life when you get home.
It's time for a new adventure ...