Where’s worst for your waistline?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 Permalink

I’d like to say I’m about to jet off on some exotic holiday for weeks on end. But… that would be a big fib. However, I am excited about a trip I am taking tomorrow. Despite the destination.

Not that there’s anything wrong with my hometown, but well… you know… it’s a regional Queensland town with little to offer other than some beautiful old buildings and houses and my mum!

I’m looking forward to seeing my mother despite having already seen her a few times this year, but since my father’s passing I find I cling to my remaining family more than I once did.

However… my biggest fear about returning to my childhood home is whether I’ll be able to stick to my no-binge-foods goal. I’ve mentioned it before, but for some reason – no matter how well a diet or weight loss program or healthy eating regime has been going – once I get to my childhood home it goes out of the window. My mother is great so removes temptation, but I convince myself that I NEED these things and so go and buy them. Once upon a time it was the place that got me started on tins of caramel with meringue and yoghurt. Oh, and cheese flavoured rice cakes (supposedly a healthy option to my corn chips – until I started to binge on the rice cakes and they became a regular habit!). I’m not sure what it is about the ‘journey’ home that causes my downfall. I suspect it’s something to do with revelling in a sense of comfort and taking me back to my childhood. Or something.

Fortunately (though only from a weight perspective) I’m there for just 3 days – although that is time enough for me to veer off-course into a world of decadence and revisit many MANY bad habits.

I know many people assume they will gain weight on holidays or when travelling. Certainly easing up on one’s exercise and being out of routine can be VERY problematic. Couple that with unusual temptations and basically you’re screwed! As a reader of MANY blogs I’ve read of many who’ve returned home after a holiday with a bit of excess baggage – and I’m not talking about suitcases.

An email arrived yesterday which got me thinking about the hidden dangers of holidays (left). I haven’t travelled overseas much recently but – at one point – I lived overseas and did a bit of travel. I must confess to NOT being a great tourist. I’m a bit like, “Well, you’ve seen one castle, you’ve seen them all,” sort of thing. However, I love just absorbing the culture of other places. My dream holiday at the moment involves traipsing about Italy – a week in Tuscany, Cinque Terra and the like. I visualise myself lolling about cafes drinking wine and eating fabulous pizza and pasta. Of course, I’d struggle more nowadays (as a coeliac) but I’m not one to let practicalities ruin a good carb-fest fantasy.

The culprits of weight gain (or weight loss!) on holidays are fairly obvious. Eating out, trying new things and a lack of exercise were three of the biggest causes of weight gain in a survey of 350 Brits abroad conducted by Fly Thomas Cook. Unfortunately (for me and my plans of wining and dining my way across Italy) drinking more was also up there on the list.

Some of the results of the survey surprised the hell out of me. In terms of weight gain, Italy fared quite well… unlike Cypress and Turkey. And who would have thought that travelling in the US was the culprit of more weight gain than foodie heaven(s) Italy and France. Amazingly Australia actually fared relatively well.

Bizarrely, although about 26% of the survey’s participants gained weight while on holidays, 21% of people lost weight. In addition to things like more exercise and poor quality of food, I thought it hilarious that – if the locale involved required that one wear skimpy clothing – one was more likely to lose weight than gain it! (This is obviously why I don’t holiday at beachside resorts!)

 

 

Of course, I must confess that when I went to live in Africa in the mid 1990s, I had visions of myself being conscious of the poverty around me and having to do without. I would return home strong and lean, I thought. Sadly, 18 months later I returned home about 30kg (66lb) heavier after a diet of beer, rice, potato, creamy sauces and expensively procured chocolate. Hmph!

So, although I may just be going to my hometown for a few days, there are some lessons here for me – or anyone travelling. I know from past experience – even if my eating has been a bit chaotic – I’ve maintained my weight IF I’ve kept up some exercise. Although I didn’t have access to a gym and my usual classes, when on holidays at Christmas I walked almost daily; my only saving grace despite the amount of crap I was eating.

My own goals for this weekend involve: getting in at least one walk over the three days; AND continuing to stay away from my binge foods.
(Are you reading this mum? Please remind me and I promise I won’t pout when you do!)

Have you been able to control your weight while on holidays?
What are your secrets?

*This isn’t a sponsored post… I’m just stoked to have vaguely scientific data to share for a change!!!

15 Comments
  • Jo Tracey
    July 11, 2012

    When hubby & I spent 8 weeks in Britain & Europe (Ok it was like 15 years ago) I came home 5 kgs lighter. Why? In Europe we ate as the Europeans did. Smallish brekkies & black coffee, pasta for lunch (with wine) & a small portion of meat & lots of veg for dinner (& more wine). With a side serve of a lot of walking, all was good. More recently I tend not to put weight on when travelling, but certainly don’t lose. We eat well, but always locally, do lots of walking & it seems to balance out. Bali has been the exception- too much beer (although you pee a lot of it out within a couple of days…too much information?) and tourist food is quite often fried. Take the backroads & eat authentically & things are better. So my motto? Eat & move like a local, not a tourist.

  • Jo Tracey
    July 11, 2012

    oh & re the habits? The astrologer in me would put that down to Moon memory ie comfort and self nurturing…I’d love to see your chart some day 🙂

  • Jo Tracey
    July 11, 2012

    and one more “oh”…love the scientific data…

  • Jo Tracey
    July 11, 2012

    I even made it off a 10 day cruise at with a gain of just 500g- the average for 10 days is apparently, weight for it, 7-10kgs! I walked the deck each morning, did a spin class each day & ate only the amount I would eat at home rather than 3 courses 5 times a day and plate sizes that came with engineering degrees. Pity I’m not as disciplined at home. There’s an idea, if I was on holiday for ever, maybe I would lose the weight!

    • Debbish
      July 12, 2012

      Jo, it’s interesting isn’t it… what works and what doesn’t!

      Deb

  • Karen@WaistingTime
    July 12, 2012

    My spot like this was my mom’s lake house. She sold it last year and I breathed a sigh of relief. I’ve sometimes eaten well on vacation or trips, but often not. It IS possible. I know one “diet” blogger that loses weight when she travels!

    • Debbish
      July 12, 2012

      It’s true that it IS possible! I think you just need to be conscious of it!

      Deb

  • KCLAnderson (Karen)
    July 12, 2012

    I am actually surprised that the U.S. isn’t at the top of the list, what with all our Super-Sized portions and food available at every turn, at every moment.

    I think the key to it all is that you’re aware that being at your mother’s house brings on temptation. In each moment you will have a choice. There’s power in that, even if you think you make the “wrong” choice. Owning it in that regard will make a difference. You can also frame it this way: just because you have “given in” in the past during visits to your mother, doesn’t mean you have to this time.

    • Debbish
      July 12, 2012

      Very true Karen… I chatted with mum last night after she read my blog and she said she had nothing in the house that I would usually binge on, so I’d have to make a point of going out to get it. Hopefully I’ll just enjoy my fave foods that she cooks (and possibly overindulge a tad in them!) but not go any further!

      Deb

  • AnnalisaW
    July 12, 2012

    Love this post! For me it’s going to Canada – where my husband comes from. As we usually go there for Christmas – there is all the celebratory Christmas food, drinks everyday, chocolate, cake etc etc. If that weren’t bad enough, my MIL is Ukrainian by descent so there are perogi (stodgy delicious dumplings served with butter and sour cream) and cabbage rolls and countless other dishes with a gazillion calories. And. To top it off, being elderly, she likes to eat at nana hour, so we eat dinner at about 4.30, followed by a million more drinks and sweets. Then by the time we get back to our motel hours later – we’re hungry again! Of course it’s snowing too, so getting out for a run is near on impossible. Every time I go there it’s a weight gain of AT LEAST 5kg. But seeing her smile having the family around is worth it.

    But this year – we’re bringing her out here!

    Good luck at home Deb, but don’t beat yourself up. xx

    • Debbish
      July 12, 2012

      You’ve made me hungry!!! It all sounds lovely. I’m sure I’ll have a great time at home and will try to focus on moderation!!!

      Deb

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    July 12, 2012

    Hi Deb, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t – not much help am I?

    • Debbish
      July 13, 2012

      Liz, I completely understand… kinda depends on where you go and what you do, doesn’t it?!

  • Marion
    July 16, 2012

    The reason why U.S. contributes to weight gain more than you’d expect is because our restaurants try hundreds, yes, literally hundreds, of recipe variations until the carb/salt/fat balance is perfect and the food is irresistible. I understand that the Cinnebon recipe was developed after months of trying over 200 trial and errors.

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      July 16, 2012

      Oh well… it’s a nice to know people still strive for excellence!

      Deb

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