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  • Letisha Hodges

Why Did I Lose Weight on Vacation?

Have you ever noticed that you tend to lose weight when you go on vacation? You're surrounded by delicious food and treats you've been longing for all year. Yet somehow, instead of putting on weight like you would if you were at home – you end up losing it! You may be wondering why this happens, and if it’s something that you can replicate in your regular life.

As a Weight Loss Dietitian, I have some insight into why this phenomenon occurs.

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Mango Sticky Rice Dessert (Khao Niaow Ma Muang) that Letisha ate in Thailand

Why You May Lose Weight On Vacation

More Activity Throughout Your Day

Most of us live fairly sedentary lives, even if we go to the gym or exercise regularly. Our work often involves sitting, some of us may sit during our commutes to work, and many of us sit during after-work hours (watching TV, watching your child play soccer, driving to get errands, playing video games, crafting etc). If we work from home, our daily movement is significantly lower because we don't need to commute or walk around the office. When we leave our daily routines behind and venture off on an exciting vacation, we naturally become more active without even realizing it.

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Letisha hiked & camped overnight beside an active volcano, Vulcan de Fuego, while in Guatemala

Maybe it's the hours spent exploring new cities, strolling through charming streets, or getting lost in the beauty of a new country. Perhaps it's the thrill of splashing in the ocean waves, playing beach volleyball, or challenging ourselves to breathtaking hikes and exhilarating water sports. These delightful vacation activities not only give us a wonderful sense of adventure but also increases activity without feeling like we live in the gym which could be one of the reasons you lost weight over vacation.

It's almost like Mother Nature's gift to us - a gentle reminder that embracing an active lifestyle through movements that you enjoy can bring joy, vitality, and a healthier, happier version of ourselves.

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Caroline enjoying satay in Bali
Less Access To Snacks

For many of us, we are fortunate to have an abundance of food available at home, work, and social gatherings. We are surrounded by food in our daily lives and may eat more frequently than we notice. However, when you are on vacation that changes because you are not fighting the afternoon slump by eating baked goods in the lunchroom or snacking out of habit or boredom while watching TV.

You may not even realize it, but chances are, you may get lost in the experiences instead of eating on a strict schedule or you may not pack as many snacks for your trip as you would for a day at the office or running errands back home.

As a result, we tend to focus more on meal times, and you might notice that there's less snacking throughout the day. But here's the silver lining: without those constant nibbles, we're actually cutting down on our overall calorie intake! It's amazing how a simple break from our snacking routine can make such a difference, and we don't even have to work that hard to achieve it. This is another reason why you may lose weight on vacation without trying! For once, it's a relief not to count calories or worry about constant cravings. So embrace this newfound freedom, and enjoy your vacation – your body will thank you for it!

More Sleep & Less Stress

Another benefit of vacation lies in the fact that it allows us to catch up on all those hours of sleep we've been deprived of, while also offering a soothing escape from the day-to-day stressors that can wear us out emotionally and physically. This blissful combination of ample sleep and reduced stress has a remarkable effect on our bodies - say hello to decreased cortisol production and a more peaceful state of mind! These very changes make it easier for us to resist the urge to snack mindlessly or make poor food choices, without food occupying our every thought. And isn't that a wonderful little bonus to our much-needed getaway?

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Letisha & her husband tried a platter of Pre-Colonial Mayan foods including fried crickets while in Mexico

Less Comfort Eating

When we're caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we may not even realize how often we turn to food for comfort, whether we're feeling bored, stressed, or sad. But as we venture out on that much-needed getaway, the refreshing change of scenery and a newfound sense of adventure seems to miraculously melt away the emotions or thoughts that lead to emotional eating habits. As we step back from our usual triggers and immerse ourselves in the excitement of exploring new places and experiences, we find that we are less focused on food which could lead to an unintentional drop in calories and results in weight loss while on vacation. If this is a pattern for you, you may want to consider working on emotional eating with a Dietitian or psychologist when you are back home. Check out our blogs for the hidden causes of emotional eating part 1 and part 2 for more insight on comfort eating triggers.

There you have it! Those are the common reasons you may lose weight on vacation. If you notice any of those patterns in yourself, it highlights that your daily routine and habit could use some fine-tuning if you want to get those results at home too!

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Caroline loves to take cooking classes whenever she travels!
Should I Try to Lose Weight on Vacation?

Taking a vacation is about getting away from it all, building memories, and feeling free! Our Nutritionists for Weight Loss believe that your focus should be on enjoying the experience, not worrying about counting calories. Setting a goal to maintain weight during travel is an ideal way to enjoy all that trips have to offer, rather than missing out on amazing experiences because you're too focused on food and exercise. We encourage setting realistic goals to maintain weight instead of trying to lose while traveling so you don't miss out on any lifesaving adventures or delicious eats along the way - our Dietitians live by this mantra when they travel themselves!

Should I Go on a Pre Vacation Diet?

If you're debating whether or not to go on a pre vacation diet, the answer isn't straightforward. It's all about how your body responds when freedom is in sight! Generally speaking, our clients have been successful at being mindful of their food choices while away - but that's only because they've spent time learning and honing healthy habits as well as repairing their relationship with food before departure. The risk of going too hard with your diet before leaving may result in an overindulgent feast once you arrive - so choose wisely!

How to Lose Weight on Vacation?

Again we don't recommend this but here are the strategies we help our clients implement to maintain weight on vacation. Depending on where you are on your nutrition journey, you may lose weight on vacation by following these strategies.