How to keep summer vacation weight off

For many adults, the summer vacation to a beach, an amusement park or going on a cruise is akin to Halloween for kids: mass consumption,…

Don’t gain weight on summer vacation this year. (Shutterstock)

For many adults, the summer vacation to a beach, an amusement park or going on a cruise is akin to Halloween for kids: mass consumption, ramifications be damned.

SEE ALSO: Can you lose weight and fat by lifting weights? 

There’s something about being away from home and routines that allows us to forget about our cholesterol and sugar levels. However, it’s that first post-vacation scale visit that often leads to regret followed by depression and a knee-jerk diet attempt that may or may not work.

This summer is about taking a different approach: How to avoid gaining weight while on vacation.

“Some of the things I talk about with patients is to make sure that you plan ahead,” Mayo Clinic Health System Registered Dietician Grace Fjeldberg told VOXXI. “Fast-food dining is certainly convenient but it does come with extra calories at times.”

“The reality is it doesn’t really save time to leave or allow for the fun that you want to have on vacations, so actually packing a small cooler of healthy snacks – like yogurt, string-cheese snacks and some of those hardy fruits or veggies – that last a while in coolers can be really nice, especially when you’re running from one event to the other.”

Cleveland Clinic Registered Dietician Laura Jeffers told VOXXI that when staying at a hotel request a refrigerator to keep the aforementioned snack items accessible. She added that when driving long distances in the car, healthy snacks are recommended but instead of having a big bag of something, choose for individual serving sizes that are an arm’s length away to keep from binging. 

Dietician Grace Fjeldberg spoke to VOXXI about diet during the summer months.

Registered dietician Grace Fjeldberg wants to remind people that eating fastfood does come at a cost. (Courtesy: Grace Fjeldberg)

As far as when you arrive to your destination, the desire to exercise is important but Jeffers stressed not to set the bar too high.

“If you’re going to be somewhere for seven days, maybe say you’re going to do a formal exercise three or four days and the other days you’re on a leisurely walk,” Jeffers said. “Instead of laying on the beach, go for a walk on the beach, that way it’s not an all or nothing thing.

“It’s not like, ‘I didn’t run eight miles every day.’ Just make that commitment before you go. You need to make time for exercise, so you don’t talk yourself out of it once you get there.”

Overall, the secret to not gaining weight while on vacation is simply being accountable.

“I’m a pretty realistic dietician and in my mind I think it’s possible not to gain weight while on vacation,” Jeffers said. “You need to again think about what matters to you before you go. Just know every single meal you have that choice. It’s just all about, if it’s important to you, you’ll be able to do it. And if not, don’t cry about it later because I don’t want to hear about it.”

SEE ALSO: The real danger to Hispanic children during the summer months

DO’s and DON’Ts on vacation


• Be sure to incorporate low-fat cheese, yogurt, nuts, seeds, trail mix, veggies and fruit into your vacation diet. “Those snacks can also be really nice additions to a meal if you do chose to go through fast food,” Fjeldberg said.

• Drink a lot of water to keep you energized and feeling full.

• Try fresh foods available in the area that you normally wouldn’t have at home.


• Don’t skip meals because you’re going to overeat. “You want to make sure you’re having small frequent meals that will tide you over,” Jeffers said.

• Avoid buffets where you may feel compelled to eat a lot to get your money’s worth.

• If drinking alcohol, avoid sugary beverages like margaritas and piña coladas. Fjeldberg said, “It’s certainly easier to take in quite a few extra calories because those beverages empty from the stomach quickly, they don’t make people feel full very long and of course after several beverages you don’t have any filter in what or how much you take in after that.”