As so many people escape the winter blues (SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder) in search of sunshine, beach fun and pool side relaxation, you begin to hear the following comments:
“I will definitely be coming back 5kg heavier”.
“I will have to diet when I get home”.
“It is impossible to NOT gain weight at a resort buffet”.
“My routine is going to fall off a cliff whilst we are away”.
And so on, and so on. Heard these excuses before?
Well, I am here to give you my guide and experience to staying lean, staying healthy and coming back feeling AMAZING, from a resort style break away. I recently spent 8 days at a stunning Bali resort of which I am very grateful. Endless pools, beach frontage and the most incredible buffet breakfast set up I have ever seen! The resort was called the Mulia…..and I can highly recommend it.
When I left for Bali I weighed in at 76.8kg. Light for me at the best of times, but an increased level of longer distance running has lightened me up. None the less, my challenge was to come back around the same weight, feeling rested and having been able to remain active whilst away. I did not want to come home with a cold or flu, tired and feeling bloated and lethargic. So what did I do? First let me say that what I did may not yield the exact same result for you….HOWEVER, the principles are sound, and the outcomes will be similar to the same in my opinion. Also, I enjoy being active and I am not a big drinker…so no ‘benders’ by the pool was easy.
- Only eating two meals a day so that I could enjoy a huge breakfast spread. This buffet was unbelievable. But, what did an average breakfast include:
- Oats with nuts and honey
- Scrambled eggs
- Chia seed pudding
- Meat – Bacon, pork, chicken
- Vegies – Either steamed or sautéed
- Most days I would have one sweet treat. A croissant or pastry
- Peppermint tea (but if you want, have black coffee or tea)
I ate a very big breakfast every day and I loved it! I never over did the sweet treats as this is an easy trap to fall into. But….having a sweet tooth, I did factor in one sweet session. On our last morning there I planned to go ‘all out’, and this meal looked like:
- Oats with nuts and honey
- Fruit toast
- 3 crepes
- 2 croissants
- 2 donuts
- Chia seed pudding
- Some hand made small brownies and cookies
- Peppermint tea
It was HUGE! However, I had also planned to now fast for 24 hours and would not be eating until when we arrived home at breakfast time the next day. Instead, just consuming lots of water and remaining active. My first meal was 25 hours later. I made this meal heavy on the proteins, greens, and fats.
In summary, I dropped to two meals a day. Getting large calories in during the morning, but still minimising the temptation to live on cakes and sweets. The meal in the evening was a protein focus. Lots of chicken and pork with a small amount of rice. A small dinner….eating to the point of feeling comfortable, not ‘full’. The body is better equipped to handle these ‘abnormal’ foods when it is in a rested state. Not being stressed allows it to process the carbohydrates much easier.
2) I trained every single day. I woke up at 5:30am (in bed by no later than 9:00pm each night as we were wrecked) and in the gym by 6:00am. 40 minutes every day and covering:
- Strength training
Often ‘movement’ is deemed ‘too hard’ to commit to whilst travelling, but that is just BS! 40 minutes out of a 24-hour day. In addition to the gym training, we would walk a lot. Around the resort, along the beach, exploring the area. Not one day did I do less than 10,000 steps. My best was close to 26,000 in one day. Lastly, pool time! I would be playing in the pool with the kids for 3 – 4 hours every day. So, what we see here is a constant level of activity each day, whilst still having fun with the family and lapping up the sunshine.
3) No excessive alcohol. I am not a big drinker anyway, so this one was easy for me. I don’t drink beer which helps as this is one of the worst alcohols to consume due to the calories per serve and how the body reacts to the yeast and sugars. I drank 1 – 2 cocktails each day. This was it. They were typically consumed in the evening with my meal, and I always opted for the ones that did not contain soft drink-based mixers. Managing your alcohol consumption has a direction correlation back to your sleep, your energy, your food choices.
4) Stress. Being consciously aware of how I was feeling. Taking the time each day to re-set and be present with my family. Lowering that cortisol level and being in the moment.
5) I continued to take some basic supplements to keep on top of my wellbeing. For me, this consisted of Zinc, an immune boosting supplement from ATP Science and a probiotic. I also ensured I consumed foods each day that were high in Magnesium.
6) And….of course, lots of Vitamin D from the sun. In a smart fashion of course.
So, this is it! Does not seem so difficult right? It’s simply about making some healthy choices each day, being strict with your alcohol consumption, avoiding the temptation of excess food throughout the day, lots of water and daily movement (lots of movement). So, what did it look like for me when I returned? I weighed in at 76.3kg, remaining lean, feeling rested, energy levels were high and muscle strength and definition remained.
So, when you head away soon, what choices will you make? Or will you find excuses to let it all go?