I have to admit, when I got the idea for this article, I checked about a dozen of similar articles on the net, and what can I say – most of them are rubbish. Rubbish because they are giving you a general list of things you can’t eat and occasionally, an exercise plan you have to follow. But who cares about this bla bla bla, daily routine that you normally do when you’re on your diet? You’re on a holiday – you want to actually enjoy the food and the sun! Nobody wants to break their mood with calorie calculations and emotional frustrations when they’re on a holiday. So what about some real stuff? I am going to give you some real advice and some helpful tricks. You will be able to have some of the “forbidden” foods, enjoy your nights out and stay fit at the same time. I can’t promise you weight loss, and I must say, the extent of your “staying fit” depends solely on you. I am here to help, so here we go.
Before I rush into telling you all my secrets, I’m going to put you through a test. I want to see your ability to distinguish between low and high calorie meals. So here are 2 types of breakfast: 1) a creamy cafe latte with chocolate chip muffin and 2) 2 sunny-side-up eggs, 3 oven-baked chicken nuggets with 2 slices of grapefruit and ham on the side. Which one, in your opinion, has the most calories? 20 seconds – GO!
Drumroll and …THE RESULTS! Option 1 has about 700 calories, while Option 2 has just 450 calories. Are you surprised? It’s all about the cooking methods and the ingredients used in these foods. This, my friends, are the basics of your summer holiday survival, and if you are aiming at having fun and holding your weight down – let’s start!
The cooking method:
Regardless to whether you stay at a resort where the buffet is usually overloaded with food, or whether you decide to cook together with your friends – this should be the first trick you should make use of. Deep frying, pan frying, any frying is not a good option. Choose for grilled, oven baked, boiled or raw food. Surprisingly, that would already cut down your intake in average by about 200 calories. You can even chose to make some fries and as long as they are oven- baked, they can have a go.
This should be your weapon number 2. Whether they are shelves in the supermarket or layers on your international buffet, they are overloaded with food choices. You are on a holiday and it will be hard to eat spinach and drink carrot smoothies as long as your friends are savoring on desserts and snacks. Therefore, your portion size is of CRUCIAL importance. If it is a portion of chili tacos or a chocolate croissant, try to half the portion. If you’re not able to do that, have your dessert at least one hour after your main meal. If you’re a truly impatient person and you can’t handle waiting, my biggest advice is – don’t fill up your plate with excess of food. Rather fill your plate with only a half of what you think you’re able to eat, and come back for more later if you will need it. It is in fact a psychological factor – people tend to empty their plate regardless to the amount of food that is in it. Your psychological hunger is usually bigger than your real physical hunger. Taking a smaller portion will enable you to eat a smaller amount of food and will give you the chance to decide whether you want to have more or your figure is more important.
Re-think your snacks
I am not saying that holiday is the time of total restrictions and control, however you should keep some rationale behind your food choices. Nobody wants to tackle the depression and frustration of weight-gain after they’ve returned from their holiday, and for this, it is important that you keep some sort of control over your diet. Snacks are a perfect opportunity to diminish your daily calorie intake without too much stress. Instead of having a hot dog or a fat cheese sandwich as an afternoon snack, try to save some space for dinner by having fruit, veggies, yogurt or a few nuts instead. It is a snack – not a meal, so try to take advantage of that and throw something healthy into your stomach.
The weather is on your side! It is already hot outside which is to your benefit. By drinking a lot of water, you will sweat more – which will release the toxins from your body and assure a neat flow of nutrients through your body. People tend to confuse the feeling of thirst with the feeling of hunger and start snacking as soon as they think they feel hungry. In fact, during the hot season it often happens that your body is actually craving for water instead of food. If you’re feeling hungry and dizzy, try water first – doesn’t work? well then have a piece of fruit!
The consumption of soft drinks (sweet drinks) may disrupt your diet considerably. It is unbelievable how your body can pile up weight just because of the excessive amount of sugar that is present in all those famous sodas as well as in the “light” versions of them. My advice to you – cut down your calorie intake by around 300 to 400 calories just by drinking amazing, refreshing and natural drinks. Examples of such drinks include: Lemonade (sparkling water with squeezed lemon), ice-cold fresh fruit smoothies (made of plain yogurt and fresh fruit) and even fresh juices mixed with sparkling ice water are a better replacement for the regular soda’s. Just make sure that there is NO additional white-sugar added to your drink.
Chose the right dessert
This should be the last one. I know that the temptations are high when it comes to desserts, and nobody will neglect them especially during a holiday. My only advice is: pick the more “innocent” desserts if I may say. Avoid desserts made solely of butter , cream and excess of sugar. Chose something lighter, for instance jelly desserts, fruity desserts or yogurt-based desserts. And yes, avoid using extra toppings! The absence of chocolate, caramel or chocolate sprinkles will save you at least another 150- 200 calories. If none of these sound appetizing to you, well then you’ll have to miss on the size of your dessert.
Sport, sport, sport
As bad as it sounds, when your diet is suffering, your exercise has to compensate to a certain extent. Try to find fun ways to spend your calories such as swimming for an hour (about 600 calories), playing tennis or volleyball (about 800 calories in 1 hour), or just by going for a jog in the morning/evening (about 600 calories in 1 hour). It is worth the effort since then you can enjoy more of the foods you love without having to blame yourself afterwards. Remember though: you can’t out-exercise a bad diet! I will have to repeat myself and say that you do have to maintain a certain control over your diet and eating everything at once and in big amounts can’t be repaired by any exercise!
I hope this has been helpful and I promise to come up with even more tips on how to stay fit during the season of HOT TEMPTATIONS! Enjoy the sun everyone!