Oh, come on. You know what I mean. You’re feasting your eyes on a breakfast buffet which bears no resemblance to the porridge you have back home. There’s hams, cheeses, pastries, cereals, 5 types of yogurt, 10 sorts of bread (no, wait….12…you forgot the cinnamon and raisin loaf and the pumpkin spelt), 4 ways to have eggs, tomatoes, beans, hash browns, frittata, grilled bacon (the posh kind without all that white sulphur stuff on it) , then there’s the vegan bit which ver-r-r-ry interesting, black bean this, tofu that…on and on it goes.
More at lunch.
Double at dinner.
There are two ways of looking at this: you could think to yourself, it’s once a year, so what? It’s the annual blow-out and you’ll face the damage on the plane back home, wearing the same trousers you came in, but without the button.
Or you minimise the damage whilst you’re there and return home with conscience, hormones and trousers in tact.
1. Eat breakfast in a stuff-your-face kinda way. But miss lunch. Instead, get stuck into your book (send your partner to supervise the children’s pizza-fest), and happily spend the afternoon drinking loads of water and a cheeky beer. Then have dinner (and all that goes with dinner).
2. Find a place of interest (off campus…we’re talking minimum 4-8 miles away) and walk to it. Tell the rest of the family to get the bus and meet you there. Go armed with hat and sunscreen and your headphones. Do that every other day.
3. Use the pool. 2 lengths cruising it doing your favourite stroke, then one length much faster. No rest (the two easy lengths are your rest). Repeat a minimum of 5 times.
4. Stick to protein foods at breakfast, light salad at lunch, carb free dinner and use the alcohol (which you will undoubtedly have) as your daily carb fix. Not especially healthy but it will help minimise waistline damage for a week or so.
5. Do 2 x 10 minute bursts of high intensity exercise each day. How intense will depend on your current fitness.
- Run up 3 flights of the hotel stairs and walk back down. Do that 10 times.
- Do 2 press-ups (feet up on the bed), then 2 squat jumps, then 4 of each, 6 of each, 8 and 10. Then do the same with lunges on each leg and star jumps. Then repeat both going back the other way, so start with 10.
- Good for the less fit amongst your family: in the pool, lean both arms on the side of the pool with your legs outstretched in front of you. Kick really fast (from the hips, not the knee) for 10 seconds, rest for 10. Repeat 10 times. Next, heave yourself up onto the side of the pool using your arms, and back down again. Do that 10 times. Do 3 sets of both.
- Try running on sand – unbelievably good for strength and fitness. Sprint (or stagger) for 10 seconds, walk for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Do 10 squats or 10 squat jumps. Repeat all 5-8 times.
6. For god’s sake say NO to the bread basket, salty biscuity snacks, peanuts, crisps, any foods which you suspect may processed. As for ice-creams, have one , but have it as lunch. I checked the calories of Haagen Dazs Peanut Butter Crunch ice-cream. It was 290.
That’s two scrambled eggs on a piece of toast. Or half a bottle of wine. Almost.
7. It’s ok to be hungry. Just because you’re on holiday, doesn’t mean you have to be full all day. Fast if necessary to help the calorie deficit along. Miss a meal but have tactics in place so that you don’t look like the party-pooper. Failing that, if you’re on holiday with another family who want to make a big deal of three meals a day, then make sure that breakfast and lunch are as light as possible. Provide on the family dining table, large bowls of leaves, giant sliced tomatoes, big bowls of local fruit and vegetables…all of which will fill your plate, not your fat cells. It will also ensure the other guests (especially female ones) feel that you are also part of the habitual holiday feeding frenzy and that self-discipline is something you leave back at home.
8. It’s utterly obvious but still worth saying, swap sugary mixers for the low calorie ones. There are 74 calories in a 200ml small bottle of Fevertree Tonic Water and only 30 in the Naturally Light version (or zero in the Schweppes low cal version). It’s difficult to find in some countries, so for your pre-dinner tipple try vodka, lots of fresh lime juice and a dash of soda. Delicious.
Don’t get anxious, just decide how you want to play it. If you’ve worked hard all year at achieving a certain level of fitness and clothes size, then it’s not going to be all undone in a week, or even two. It’s likely to mess more with your head, than anything else.