Weight gain on vacation is an issue – well, it isn’t really, but I am sure someone will point that out to you with a rather snarky comment to make you feel bad.
One thing I hardly get is why people bother reading articles on the latest diet followed by a seemingly well known celebrity; or about the new fitness routine that is used by another even more famous one; and articles which suggest easy work-outs to follow when time is limited, for example when traveling.
I even less get those who spend big money to go to all inclusive resorts to then do the exact same things they do at home, like diet, follow a strict schedule of yoga, pilates, massages, manicures and what not.
I am also weary of blog posts that target the other end of the traveling chain – the budget backpackers traveling on a shoestring and hippies wanna-be – that state what, to me, is the obvious: carrying a heavy backpack is a good workout.
Perhaps, the issue I have with that is that to me it is not a workout at all, something done with a clear purpose in mind, but rather a hellish task best followed when trying to score the cheapest room in Panama City, possibly under the blistering sun, when the heat and humidity make it all the more strenuous.
In fact, for as careful to what I eat and drink and how much I exercise when I am at home, a variety of reasons lead me to be the opposite when I travel.
When home, I am the one person to follow as a model of a moderate life. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, avoid carbonated drinks and only have the odd glass of red wine or small bottle of icy cold beer (great after a hike, to refill my body with all the salts and minerals I lost through sweat); I walk around, train in the swimming pool, hike, bike and generally stay active. I am almost a health freak, so much so that my family thinks I have a slight obsession.
Come to think of it, I do.
But, as soon as I get on a plane that takes me away from home, I indulge. So much so than whenever I get back home I have to start again on my kind-of strict routine to shed the few kilos that happily sit on my post-trip belly.
And if, after my first long term trip, I could actually find a benefit for the pain I felt after the surgery to remove my tonsils (I cried from the pain, and was unable to eat solid food for 2 over two weeks) in shedding the extra weight that I carried back from South America, the second time around I have had to actually find a more traditional way of getting back in shape.
I used the word “indulge” before with reason. Because I can pin point all the things I do wrong when I travel, that lead me to gain weight and lose shape. Yet, I keep doing them – because they are fun, they are relaxing, and they are part of the experience of traveling. And the best is that, even though I have figured out what I do wrong, I have no intention to change it.
In fact, not only I will keep having fun when I travel, but I have also put together a list of excuses to justify the weight gain on vacation. I am happy to share them with you, so that you can use them whenever someone observes that you have gained weight.
7 Ways To Justify Weight Gain On Vacation
Eating local food is part of the cultural experience of travel
I am sure you will agree with me that that a great deal of the culture of a country is found in its food, in the local produce and in its national dishes. So obviously if you spend 5 days in Rome you should do your best to to learn about Italian culture by trying all the local specialties – spaghetti alla carbonara, tonnarelli cacio e pepe, abbacchio alla scottadito, supplì – you name it.
And while you’re at it, you may as well want to add a good glass of wine. I mean – Italians drink wine with every mean, so you should definitely do the same, right?
So yes, the main and good reason for weight gain on vacation is a cultural one. Say this to whoever observes your rounded belly and I bet it will shush them.
Street food is cheaper – and better
This is especially relevant if you are a backpacker traveling on a budget, but – depending on where you travel, street food is the best way to go regardless of what you can afford.
You see, street food isn’t just cheaper. It actually often tastes better and fresher, because constantly prepared rather than being preserved for who knows how long. And yes, the prices of a meal you get off a cart in the street are definitely cheaper. Besides, it is also cool to observe the environment, the mix of locals and travelers, the eating habits and what not.
But – there is a but.
The reason street food is so tasty is that is it very oily and packed in carbs. Mind you, there are some nice street food and market stalls that do sell healthier options – corn on the cob, fresh fruit, smoothies etc. But I am pretty sure that if you see plantains chips or the rice and beans or a mouthwatering looking pad thai, you will go for that – and here’s explained your weight gain on vacation.
Yoga is not your thing
One of the most common ways to stay fit is by practicing yoga. There are many benefits to it, and yoga is easy enough to take with you while traveling – so that there is no weight gain on vacation. In fact, it is a thing many travelers offer to fund their travels around the world. That’s if you like yoga, of course. Because if you don’t, you’ll have to find a different way to stay fit on vacation. Or just accept that you won’t, and embrace it.
By the way, don’t feel guilty admitting that yoga is just not your thing. I have tried it multiple times – Antigua, USA, here in Italy, etc – and after the last one I think I am done. Really, it is not my thing. I find it terribly static, incredibly boring – I need action! I can’t possibly find my inner self as I breathe out trying to keep the happy dog (I am sure it was called that) position. I’d rather keep the extra weight. Or simply, opt for a hike, or to bike, raft, kayak, snorkel, whatever else.
You can’t find a pool
Speaking of practicing a different sport – I am a swimmer.
In Europe, every city, village, resort has a pool. A good size pool. A paradise for swimmers. You can subscribe for a month, or a year. Or just pay a daily fee and enjoy a great workout. Now, try to find a pool in a developing country. Try to explain to the receptionist of your hotel in Nicaragua that has gladly found out that there is a pool in town which you can use that a 12 meters one is actually not that big, that all a swimmer can do there is flip.
If you have a 25 meters minimum rule like I do, not any pool will do. But you may just get incredibly lucky, like I was in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, and find a hotel that has a 72 meters pool. It was swimming extravaganza!
Which means that chances are you can expect some weight gain on vacation.
You didn’t bring your running shoes
In an ideal world, people should wear the appropriate shoes to match the kind of training they intend to do. If you are into running, chances are you will have 5 pairs of different shoes, each for a different kind of performance and terrain.
But – unless your hotel will have a gym – you really can’t predict the kind of shoes you will need. See, it’s done? If someone notices some weight gain on vacation, you can easily tell them that you didn’t have the right pair of shoes for running; that you tried your best but the ones you brought with you were completely inadequate to the terrain; that you indeed went for a run but realized your feet would hurt because you were using the wrong shoes inadequate to run on the pavement.
It works, I promise you.
You packed light
So – if you look at the photo below you really will understand that I couldn’t use the “I packed light and didn’t have room for running shoes in my bag” excuse to justify weight gain on vacation. That photo gained me the nickname Turtle Tavani – and no, in case you are wondering I didn’t suddenly became very fit for carrying that backpack. I just broke my back.
But really, the “I only travel carry on” is a perfect excuse to justify weight gain on vacation, because surely nobody expects you to pack a pair of running shoes in a tiny bag, right?
Feel free to use that. Trust me, it works (well, I hope!).
You need a social life, after all
If you are anything like me, this will be a tricky one. Perhaps you aren’t the sociable kind. You like keeping to yourself. You are a solo traveler. You don’t mind spending days at end without communicating to anybody aside for the strict necessities.
But then there are times when you will feel like hanging out with other people, and that usually involves eating and/or drinking. So, when you get to a new place, or join a group of travelers and find out l and find out they are going out for drinks or for a meal, don’t question yourself – just go.
That’s when you will forget about your latest resolution to never drink alcohol again while traveling (or ever) and just go, promising yourself to only have one beer and knowing you are likely to have more than that (hangover attached). Besides, refusing a drink is kind or rude.
Really, it is! So really, if you are experiencing some weight gain on vacation and are worried that you’ll have to justify it, just remember that you decided to suddenly be more social.
Conclusions On Weight Gain On Vacation
There are some travelers who manage to actually shed a pound or two when traveling. I actually lost a whopping two kilos my first time in Peru out of not eating for being too busy exploring the amazing place; and eating rotten tacos in Mexico has also proved to be an efficient way of not gaining any weight – but I do recommend to make sure that you have a private room with a private bathroom for at least two days after that.
My overall recommendation is to relax and enjoy your trip: you travel to have a good time, so there is no reason to be as tough on yourself as you would be on a daily basis.
The fabulous blogging couple Nomadic Boys, on the other hand, know how to keep fit when traveling.
Do you gain weight when you travel? How do you justify that?