So many of us spend weeks or even months eating well and working out to get our bodies looking a certain way before a holiday, but then when we’re away we eat and drink enough for a family of four, arrive back home feeling crap and think “sod it, I’m giving up”. Sound familiar? I’ve done this for years, repeating the process year after year, finding any excuse to stuff as much food into my body as I possibly can. I gained almost a stone after an all-inclusive week in Ibiza, I ate about 1.5KG of chocolate during our six-day trip to Switzerland, and I did a repeat of Ibiza in Zante last year. I’d work my ass off right up until the holiday, and then I’d completely throw it all away. I’m all for a bit of holiday indulgence, but instead of enjoying things in moderation, I go overboard. What can I say, stick me in-front of a buffet and I go wild!
When I came back from Zante last year I felt the worst I’d ever felt in my own skin, which prompted me to sign up to The Body Coach’s 90 Day SSS Plan. Ten months on I’m looking much better, feeling much healthier and have found real passion for living a healthy life, so whilst I’d love to go to Mexico and eat about 100 tacos and drink endless glasses of prosecco, it’s just not worth it. I don’t plan to be on a diet on holiday, not in the slightest, but I am going to make a real effort to stay fairly on track so that when I come home, I’ve not set myself back too far. I’ve worked too damn hard, suffered too many burpees and said no to too many slices of cake to throw it all away because of another all-inclusive holiday! You might be thinking “oh come on, two weeks won’t ruin it all”, but for me there’s every chance that it could. My body is the type that is a size eight with mini abs when it wakes up, but three meals and a few snacks later, I’m going to bed about two dress sizes bigger. This happens even when I’m eating totally “clean”, so you can imagine what I look like when I’ve had a beer and half a pizza, which for me are pretty standard holiday foods.
So, no more eating plates and plates of waffles and fry ups at breakfast, greasy toasted sandwiches with chips and ice-cream for lunch, mountainous plates of dinner and dessert in the evening, and endless fizzy drinks and cocktails. I can’t treat my body like it’s a temple, working out religiously and feeding it plenty of greens and protein, for ten months and expect it to react normally when suddenly I’m shovelling pancakes, enchiladas and pina coladas into my mouth, can I? I have more respect for my body now, which I’m proud of, so it’s time to make a few changes in order to have a healthier holiday.
START AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON
Who else gets to the airport at the crack of dawn for their morning flight and orders a whopping great cooked breakfast with a glass of prosecco on the side? Airport breakfasts are one of those little things in life that make me so happy, and they’re always top of the list on the ‘airport agenda’ for me. Food before shopping, always. Anyway, whatever I get is always a huge plate of calories, which is so unnecessary given that usually the sun isn’t even up and I have a breakfast waiting for me when I get on the plane. I’ll still have my little airport treat, but from now on, I want to start as I mean to go on and keep it healthy. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to indulge in something a little less diet friendly during our twelve days away! Make smart choices with plane snacks too. I used to take bags and bags of sweets, but this time I plan to take a small bag of sweets, some sort of healthy protein packed bar for energy and a pot of fruit.
MAKE GOOD CHOICES
Whether it’s a breakfast, lunch, dinner or the pool bar for snacks during the day ― make good choices. By all means get a bit of whatever it is that’s calling your name, but fill your plate with the good stuff too. That way, you’re not missing out. The best thing to get from the breakfast buffet is fruit, yoghurt and something with protein such as eggs, for lunch maybe something light like a chicken salad, and for dinner plenty of lean protein, so meat or fish, with a load of salad, veggies and some complex carbs on the side. Drinks wise, of course you’re going to want a few cocktails, by try to limit the sugary creamy ones and instead opt for wine, cava, prosecco, gin or spirits. They’re a lot less calorific, and if you choose diet soda to mix it with, the calories will be even less. Do this as often as you can and you don’t have to feel bad about eating/drinking your favourite treats every now and then! Live by the 80/20 rule, eating well 80% of the time and saving that 20% for your favourite foods, and you’ll still be feeling good in your bikini each morning.
KEEP AN EYE ON THOSE PORTION SIZES
Following on from the above, make sure you don’t over-eat. I used to pile my plate high and then go back for seconds, maybe even thirds. Eat slowly, enjoy your food, enjoy your company, keep your phone far away from reach and really consider whether or not you actually want more food after your first helping. This applies to buffets mainly, as in normal restaurants you get what you’re given and that’s that, but even so it’s important to listen to your body and know when enough is enough.
DRINK ALL OF THE WATER
Keeping hydrated, particularly if you are somewhere hot, is so incredibly important. In the past I’d feel thirsty and order a Fanta Lemon (aka the best things in existence), whereas this year I’m going to keep bottles of water in my beach bag and keep a nice drink, like my trusty Fanta Lemon, on the side for when I want a sip of something a little tastier. I don’t enjoy drinking water because I constantly find myself needing the toilet, but our bodies need it more than ever when we’re spending all day in direct sunlight.
GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
So you won’t be in bed for 10pm, it’s a holiday after all, but the more sleep you get the fresher you’re going to feel in the morning, which means you won’t be as tempted to drive into the pile of fatty bacon and sausages when you wake up in the morning. I find that the sun and heat makes me tired anyway, so by midnight I’m more than ready to go to bed! This probably makes me sound like a right Grandma.
MAKE TIME TO WORKOUT
Some people will agree with this, some won’t. I for one have never worked out on holiday, but in Mexico I will be. I now really enjoy working out and I genuinely don’t think I can go twelve days without doing so! I had to stop going to the gym for ten days recently because I was ill and it made me so irritable and grumpy. I won’t be doing full-blown, hour-long workouts, but I will make time for a quick HIIT session in the gym or on the beach every couple of days. This way I can still drink tequilas with dinner and eat cake for dessert, without feeling as though I’m about to become Mexico’s next beached whale.
BE AS ACTIVE AS YOU CAN
Workouts aside, make sure you move! Whether you go for walks, swim in the sea or get stuck into the morning pool aerobics class ― it doesn’t matter, just do it. You’ll feel so much better for moving more, and then when you do decide to have a lazy afternoon on the sun lounger, you’ll enjoy it ten times more. For me there’s nothing worse than feeling sluggish from sitting or lying down too long. I have to keep moving to stay sane! Remember, the more you move, the more calories you burn, which is something we could all do with when indulging abroad.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
This isn’t food or fitness related, but I believe it has a huge impact on how you feel and in turn, how you treat your body. We all want a tan, of course, but make sure you stay topped up with sun lotion, take breaks in the shade, keep yourself hydrated and give your skin a good scrub every evening to keep it feeling fresh and clean. We’re always advised to keep ourselves healthy on the inside, but what about the outside? I don’t know about you, but a sore, red, peeling mess of a body doesn’t make me feel too good, and when I don’t feel good about myself, I’m grumpy and turn to food for comfort.
I’m beyond excited for Mexico now! Going with a bit of a game plan to try and stay on track makes me feel much better about it, as before I was really nervous about how I was going to keep the weight off. I’ll definitely come home looking a bit ‘fluffier’ than I did when I arrived, but I’m ok with that if it means I’ve enjoyed my holiday and all the nice little Mexican luxuries that come with it. Two weeks and counting!