March is an exciting month for many people. The days are warming up and signalling nicer days are just around the corner. March also means vacation time! Some of us are students, parents or caregivers, and take advantage of this time off school to go on a trip. Others book travel in March for some rest and relaxation after the hectic holiday season and start to the new year.
Many people feel inspired by the change in seasons and want to shed any pounds they gained while in winter hibernation. Summertime is just around the corner after all! But, most are concerned their Spring Break travels might make things worse. If you’ve already gained a few pounds you’re hoping to lose before bathing suit season, your son’s wedding or that anniversary trip to Europe, then you might be nervous about going away in March.
I’ve seen this fear of vacationing in March affect many fasting clients of mine over the last several years. Many of them wonder if they should even go away because they have a weight loss goal they’re hoping to achieve by the summer, and they’re afraid they’ll pile on the pounds and lose momentum if they travel in March.
What do I tell them? I tell them to go and enjoy themselves! There are many strategies they can use while on vacation to ensure a successful trip. See them below:
1. Skip breakfast
Many people tell us how easy it is to fast in the morning because they don’t feel hungry. If that’s the case for you, then stick to coffee and tea in the morning. You’ll feel better later after skipping the carb-loaded breakfasts most hotels and restaurants serve.
2. Eat your carbs at lunch
After losing 60 pounds I was given the opportunity to go to Italy for a couple of weeks. As a former pasta junky, this totally freaked me out. I almost didn’t go. Back then it was too tough to picture a trip to Italy without bread, pasta or pizza. I made a promise to myself – I would only eat carbs at lunch. This would give me time to walk and burn off the sugar and starch. And what happened? I lost another 10 pounds.
If you’re going to permit yourself any indulgences, go for it! Just try to have them in your lunch eating window.
3. Avoid sweetened beverages
Sugary drinks are often the main culprit of vacation weight gain for people who travel to resorts. If you can pass on the liquor, great! If not, then try to avoid beer and mixing spirits with sodas and juices. Try seltzer water with lime instead. Even better – drink some dry wine. Red, white or rose are all OK! Just select ones that are dry or extra dry. Make sure to drink one or two glasses of water between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. I’ll often add ice cubes to white or rose wine to help with hydration!
4. Skip the fruit between meals
It’s perfectly OK to indulge in some fruits during your meals, but try not to snack on them between meals. Remember, fruit is nature’s sugar! Be mindful of when and how much you’re having it.
5. Don’t snack!
Whatever you do, don’t snack! Stick to your eating windows. They may be longer while you’re on vacation because you’re relaxing and enjoying the dining experience, but don’t eat outside of those eating windows! At home, I eat in two 60 minute eating windows. If I go out to dinner with friends or am travelling, I’ll stretch then to 120 minutes. You need to enjoy yourself but a meal shouldn’t last for hours.
Megan Ramos, Co-founder of The Fasting Method
By The Fasting Method
For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.
By Jason Fung, MD
Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.