I’m Going on Vacation and Afraid I’ll Undo Weight Loss: Advice

  • If you lose weight over the course of a few months, you won’t regain it in a week, a personal trainer said.
  • The scale may spike after a vacation, but that won’t be all fat gain, according to Jordan Syatt.
  • You can set some health boundaries, but your main priority should be enjoying yourself, he said.
  • Read more Working It Out here.

Dear Rachel,

I’ve lost about seven pounds over the last couple of months and would like to lose the same amount again. I’ve been counting calories and doing home workouts with dumbbells, as well as some dancing and climbing. I’m going on vacation for a week soon and am worried about ruining my progress. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for ages and really want to enjoy the food and drinks, but I’m nervous. I know I’ll feel annoyed if I put on loads of weight and go completely off-track, but I don’t want to regret being too strict on vacation. How do I find the right balance?

— Nervous Vacationer

Dear Nervous,

Firstly, huge congratulations on your weight loss. It sounds like you’re going about it in a healthy way and have lost weight at a sensible rate, so kudos to you.

Secondly, how wonderful to be going on vacation. I completely understand your fears about “undoing” your progress, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to stress about it.

There’s only so much weight you can gain in a week, and even if you do gain some, what’s a week in the scheme of your life? You just get back on track afterwards.

You didn’t lose the weight in a week

Personal trainer and fat loss coach Jordan Syatt told me it’s helpful to remember that you didn’t lose all your weight in one week, so you won’t regain it all in that time frame either.

“You don’t ruin your progress in the course of a week,” he said.

You may very well see a higher number on the scale when you get home afterwards, but a lot of this is likely to be water weight.

“Even if you went completely off-track and gained a bunch of weight back, it wouldn’t be fat,” Syatt said. “You don’t gain fat that quickly.”

While your weight may increase temporarily, this will be mostly due to simply having more food in your stomach and carrying more water weight from, most likely, eating saltier, higher carb foods — for every one gram of carbs we eat, we hold three grams of water, Kara Mockler, a registered dietitian and coach at RP Strength, previously told Insider.

This happens to me pretty much every Monday morning after a weekend of enjoying food and drinks with friends, and the number on the scale always goes back down within a couple of days.

“Your weight will be up, but that doesn’t mean you ruined your progress,” Syatt said.

Setting a few boundaries might make you feel more comfortable

Unless you’re an athlete or physique competitor, life’s too short to count calories while you’re on holiday.

However, setting boundaries that help you keep your health in check while still enjoying yourself might be comforting, registered nutritionist Scott Baptie told Insider.

Examples of these are only drinking alcohol after 6 pm every day, hitting a daily step goal, only having a starter and main or main and dessert rather than all three at lunches, or sticking to calorie-free drinks during the daytime.

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“You don’t want to have a crazy long list of ‘rules’ but three or four simple ones that are easy to follow (and remember) should help you to find the balance,” Baptie said.

While it’s normal to want to relax and indulge a little bit, think about what holiday treats might actually align with your goals. Is there lots of fresh fruit and local salads you can try? Can you swim in the sea or a pool every day?

I don’t stress about taking a break from the gym when I’m on vacation, but I do like to keep active in some way, even if that’s just walking along the beach or exploring a town on foot.

Get back on track afterwards

If you’ve been counting calories and dedicated to your weight loss for two months, the chances are a little break will be helpful for your state of mind.

Diet fatigue is real, so relaxing on your vacation might be a refresh that allows you to reset and get back on track with renewed vigor afterwards.

Even if you do gain some fat, you don’t need to panic as you have all the tools to lose it again.

“Let’s let’s just say for the sake of argument that you gained all the weight back, cool,” Syatt said. “Then you get right back on track and you know exactly what to do to lose it.”

Enjoy yourself and don’t worry

Your main priority on this vacation should be enjoying yourself, Syatt said.

When you’re 90, you’re not going to look back and feel glad you didn’t go, or glad you went and meticulously tracked your calories, he said. But you might look back and wish you relaxed, had fun, and enjoyed it more.

He likens it to taking a break from work.

“Vacation is a time where you relax. You let go of your normal life stresses and you can just do what you want to do and have fun,” Syatt said. “So I don’t know why people think they should still be tracking their calories meticulously and still be on track on vacation. Enjoy it.”

Drink the cocktails, eat the ice cream, and don’t feel guilty about it.

Wishing you well,

Rachel

As a senior health reporter at Insider and a self-described fitness fanatic with an Association for Nutrition-certified nutrition course under her belt, Rachel Hosie is immersed in the wellness scene and here to answer all your burning questions. Whether you’re struggling to find the motivation to go for a run, confused about light versus heavy weights, or unsure whether you should be worried about how much sugar is in a mango, Rachel is here to give you the no-nonsense answers and advice you need, with strictly no fad diets in sight.

Rachel has a wealth of experience covering fitness, nutrition, and wellness, and she has the hottest experts at her fingertips. She regularly speaks with some of the world’s most knowledgeable and renowned personal trainers, dietitians, and coaches, ensuring she’s always up to date with the latest science-backed facts you need to know to live your happiest and healthiest life.

Have a question? Ask Rachel at workingitout@insider.com or fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.

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