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Nutrition Tip of the Week: Dropping Vacation Pounds and Getting Back to Normal

The following five tips will strip the “vacation tax” pounds, reduce inflammation, leave you energized, and return your digestive system to normal function within three days.

6/25/21 – Nutrition Tip of the Week

I’ve returned from vacation with memories to last forever and five extra pounds that I’d like to disappear immediately!

If you are like me, you set out on your vacation with the best intentions regarding your nutrition and hydration, but things don’t always go quite as planned. Though you had a great time and should be well-rested…you feel puffy, bloated, achy, and fatigued.

The following five tips will strip the “vacation tax” pounds, reduce inflammation, leave you energized, and return your digestive system to normal function within three days.

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Don’t wait until the next day; start drinking your water as soon as you get home! Chances are that if you were on a plane or in a car for a while, your fluid consumption was less than adequate. I mean, who wants to pull over every hour or run the knee and elbow gauntlet to get to the airplane’s bathroom?!?! Though counterintuitive, drinking water will help you reduce water retention substantially. Try adding lemon and/or cucumber slices to your water for a powerful antioxidant punch that is rich in many other health benefits.
  2. Grocery shop as soon as possible. I know that work, home chores, and endless responsibilities are waiting for you, but it is essential that you carve out the time to take care of yourself and your nutritional needs. If you can’t break away, have your groceries delivered. You might also consider picking up a few essentials to help you get through a couple of days on the way home from your trip.
  3. Don’t overcompensate by starving yourself or wallow in the guilt of meals past. Don’t spend a single moment fixating on how you may have overdone it or made poor choices. Instead, spend that time thinking about how you are going to succeed with getting back on your plan. Starving yourself for a few days to take off the vacation weight will often backfire by leading to binge behavior. The aim should be to get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible.
  4. Eat fiber for fullness and digestive health. Let’s face it, most of us are not fruit and veggie rockstars while on vacation. Sadly, cocktail garnishes don’t count as a serving of fruit. That tomato, onion, and lettuce slice that you had on your cheeseburger falls a little bit short in the veggie department, too. Set an intention on your first day back to have a fiber-rich breakfast, and fill the day with fruits and vegetables. My favorite post-vacation breakfast is a veggie omelet, a serving of oatmeal, and a water-rich, high-fiber fruit such as watermelon.
  5. Get moving! Despite being overwhelmed by everything you have to do and the endless pile of emails in your inbox, find time to be active. Don’t skip your workout just because you don’t have a dedicated two-hour block of time. Do something. Anything! Everything counts. If you don’t have a single large block of time to devote to a workout, try walking for 10 minutes after each meal. If worse comes to worst, it can be around the house while you multitask with unpacking, laundry, and house cleaning (Why didn’t I clean before we left?!?!). Speed vacuuming is a favorite of mine. With two dogs…it is always time to vacuum. Personally, I always feel better if I get up and do some form of physical activity when I first wake up in the morning the day after a vacation. I make a conscious choice not to hit the snooze button and get myself on my regular time schedule as soon as possible. Exercise will help get your body clock adjusted better than anything else.

Bottom line: don’t let the frustration from the “mistakes” you made on vacation impact your decisions when you get home. Come on; it’s a vacation! Did you really think you were going to hit your fiber goals and skip the breakfast desserts? Remember the good times, but forget some of those calorically dense choices. Every snack or meal is an opportunity moving forward. Choose wisely!


Coach Gillian Ward is Barbell Logic’s Director of Nutrition. She has spent a lifetime as a high-performing athlete, coach, and fitness and nutrition educator. If you have a question for Coach Gillian that you’d like to see answered in future issues of the Friday Five Newsletter, please fill out the form below.

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