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!!!