Summer Weekend Survival Guide: 5 Tips To Stave Off Weight Gain

A client recently went from chubby to fairly lean, losing over 50 pounds (+ adding 8 lbs of muscle) in four months.

But he sent me a long-winded email yesterday telling me how badly he screwed up this weekend.

He went off the rails with his diet, and his fears were realized when he jumped on the scale and saw a 10 lb increase. He was really down about things, but I told him if he commits to get back on his plan today, those 10 lbs will all but disappear by Friday.

Any vacation usually involves a departure from your routine – which means your regular exercise and nutrition habits go out the window.

Plus, there are emotional associations. It’s easier to pass up a piece of cake celebrating that co-worker’s birthday, but if Grandma made it just for you, it gets a lot harder, especially if your memories of childhood involve the same.

But instead of trying to be hardcore and setting yourself up for failure, plan for the fun… with some restrictions.

I just employed these five strategies during my four-day weekend in Gimli at the lake. I didn’t restrict myself at all, ate chocolate, drank beer, and jumped on the scale today at the exact same weight I went into it at.

Here are 5 rules to survive summer weekends:

Rule #1:  Stay in a calorie deficit
Achieve a consistent calorie deficit. As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, Tim Horton’s Iced Capps and Bud Light can fit into your daily fun.

The main thing is to eat about the same as you do at home (just with ‘poorer’ food choices)

That might mean eating less meals than you would normally (so they can be higher calorie).

Of course, creating a deficit through diet alone on vacation can be tough. Head to #2.

Rule #2: Don’t abandon exercise

Don’t pair your holiday calorie binge with inactivity.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Instead, commit to getting in some activity every day. Hell, you’re in a place where you should be getting out and seeing the sights.

Swim every morning. Go for long walks. Rent bikes.

Too often people associate vacation with downtime, choosing sedentary activities that involve food.

But activity can give you the energy to truly make the most of your vacation.

In a pinch, pack a resistance band and do some bodyweight workouts. These can take up only 10 minutes of your day, but set the tone for healthier choices later.

Rule #3: Watch what the kids do

According to studies, there’s no biological reason people get fatter with age—but we do, and it’s most likely tied to how sedentary our lives become as adults.

You know that rambunctious nephew of yours? Follow him around for a day and you’ll see what I mean.

If that means downloading Pokemon Go and getting your Man Card revoked, so be it. Do what the kids do!

Rule #4:  Give yourself some (loose) parameters to follow at dinner 

Nobody wants to skip dessert entirely. I’m not suggesting that.

But you need to set some limitations or “rules” to follow.

Maybe you’re a big pumpkin pie guy, or you prefer a cheesecake over anything else.

Tell yourself you’ll only sample TWO desserts.

Pick your two favourites and only eat a reasonable portion of each.

Seeing the party as a free-for-all can lead to calorie overload and physical and mental suffering later.

Rule #5:  Choose your alcohol… in moderation.

The same dessert rule applies to drinks.

Limit yourself to TWO cocktails.

Think rum and diet coke, dry red wines and low carb beers, not egg nog and vodka, Sangria or coke floats with rum etc.

Alcohol itself has 7 calories per gram, so don’t pile on needless calories by adding sugary mixed drinks.

Yes, two may lead to four which may lead to six. If that happens, don’t beat yourself up – just vow to limit indulgences the next day.

It’s in the details

Weight gain is caused by eating like crap all vacation long, not just a few dinners here and there.

When your vacation is finished, get to the grocery store and prepare to get some solid, home-cooked, nutritious meals in you the next day so your healthy habits resume.

And, don’t, whatever you do, weigh yourself the morning after your vacation. Wait a few days!

The excess stomach content, water weight from additional carbs and possibly whatever sorcery travelling and stress does to your body can falsely skew your scale weight.

It’s temporary – if you follow the rules above and get back on the horse the next day.

Happy vacationing.

Next Step?

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.