Vacations are meant for drinking, debauchery and enough food to make you feel like a beached whale.
If you go on vacation and don’t come back wondering what the hell you’ve done to your body, did you even really enjoy it?
Okay, maybe it doesn’t have to be full of drinking and outlandish eating, but for most of us, that’s simply the case.
For the health conscious, that can present a bit of a problem. Do you go all out, try to practice moderation or stay strict?
Everyone has a friend or family member who went on vacation, didn’t miss a workout and barely indulged in anything.
More power to these people; that’s some serious dedication.
As a fitness professional, I truly admire the people who approach vacations this way.
That’s just how I — or my clients — do it. I use a vacation as time to completely unwind. I enjoy delicious food in massive quantities, drink like a fish all night and wake up in the morning needing a coffee IV drip.
But, what about the post-vacation aftermath? How do you get back on track? And how do you deal with feeling like you’ve undone all your hard work?
A couple of things about vacations, weight gain and dieting:
- You’ll probably weigh more after a vacation. A very small amount of that weight gain is actually fat. Most is waterweight, thanks to the higher number of carbohydrates you’ve probably eaten, along with more sodium.
- If you’ve been working out hard and taking care of your diet, a vacation from working out and eating obsessively can be the greatest thing in the world. It can do wonders for your mental health, and can help your body recover from all the hard work you’ve been putting in.
The post-vacation solution: The diet reset.
A diet reset is perfect following a vacation, a long holiday weekend or any other time you’ve eaten and drank more than normal.
It’s a one-day solution to help you get back on track, reduce the calories you’re eating to reverse some damage and reduce the post-vacation bloat.
The diet reset has three main components:
Fast for a portion of the day.
We’re not talking about a 48-hour fast here, nothing extreme. Instead, the diet reset involves using intermittent fasting, or just an extended period of not eating.
Instead of having a normal breakfast, skip it and don’t eat until lunchtime.
Fasting has a scary connotation to it. In reality, it offers a ton of health benefits, from positive hormonal effects, a possible increase in life span and an increase in metabolism.
Fasting means no eating. Getting over the mental hurdle is the hardest part for a lot of people. You should be drinking plenty of water during your fast.
Coffee and tea are okay, too. If you’re someone who uses a lot of cream and sugar though, try and cut back on those.
Combine an increased metabolism, no food in the morning and plenty of water. What do you get? Feeling much less like a beached whale, and more like yourself again.
Eating a TON of leafy greens.
Dark, leafy green vegetables are some of the best foods on earth. They contain a ton of micronutrients that support health, are packed with fiber, super filling and barely contain any calories.
All of these are reason to incorporate them into your daily diet.
And, they’re even more important to eat during a diet reset. I like to make sure my first meal to break my fast is a gigantic salad full of leafy greens. It keeps the calories low but is filling, thanks to the bulk.
For the rest of my meals that day, I also like to keep at least 50 percent of my plate covered in leafy greens.
This ensures that my overall calorie intake stays low, the meal is filling and that I get plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Avoid refined carbs.
I may be a fitness coach and my life may revolve around helping people get healthier, but you’d be crazy to assume I don’t figure out ways to enjoy delicious foods. Those foods have no place during a diet reset, though.
I use this day to make sure I keep those foods at a bare minimum. No breads, pastas, rice or donuts. It’s not that I hate these foods or think they’re bad for me — I actually love carbs.
I just know eating fewer of them will help me drop some waterweight, get rid of the bloated feeling and my calorie intake lower.
Remember, this isn’t a weeklong thing, either. It’s a one-day process.
If 50 percent of your plate is filled with leafy greens and you’re not eating your first meal until lunchtime, you’ll find it’s hard to fit in rice or bread anyway.
What the diet reset isn’t:
It’s not a healthy idea to try and continually do a diet reset every week if you go out a ton on the weekends.
That’s not a healthy lifestyle. That’s swinging wildly from one end of the spectrum to another, and not anywhere close to practicing moderation.
The diet reset isn’t something you should depend on or practice often. You shouldn’t use it to “make up” for all the bad things you ate or drank.
A diet reset won’t undo all the damage you did on a vacation. That’s perfectly okay. Don’t even look at it as damage. It was a vacation, and you should enjoy yourself.
The diet reset is there to help you feel better and get back on track. Sometimes the most important thing is to get the ball rolling again.
Feeling like you’ve had a little bit of success with the diet reset can do wonders.