Holiday weight loss: it is possible

It’s holiday season. Hooray! Time to rest and relax. Part of this is often relaxing your eating pattern, or forgetting the rules. It’s especially so when you’re away from home.

One of our clients was reviewing a business conference followed by a trip to Thailand. The conference had supplied food – mostly carbs and sugar-containing foods. In Thailand she was not in a tourist precinct, had limited cooking facilities and very little choice in restaurants. 10 days of being out of routine made it hard to follow her eating plan; so hard, in fact, that she just had to make do with whatever she could find.

Before leaving, she stocked up on protein powder so that she had something for breakfast. Previous trips had told her that Thai breakfast was the hardest meal of the day, so being prepared was essential.

With breakfast sorted, she only had to look after lunches and dinners and it was difficult. Rice, 2-minute noodles with vegetables, an “egg thing” and bread all featured in her week’s menu. Plus, the stressful nature of her business dealings led to drinking alcohol – something she had given up when starting her program.

Out of all negatives comes some positives.

This is what she noticed:

  • Airline food is full of carbs. It’s almost impossible to get anything suitable to eat, unless you BYO.
  • When the choice is starving or eating food you know isn’t great, you’ll choose the food.
  • When you choose the food that’s not great, being aware means you eat less of it.
  • Thai supermarkets and stores have food available, but if you can’t read Thai you can’t check ingredients or nutrition information.
  • Bread causes heartburn. Of course, this is not true for everyone, but one of the side-effects of her new eating plan was no more heartburn. Eating some bread this past week saw the heartburn return.
  • Many Thai foods are sweet, even things that you wouldn’t expect. The bread was sweet. A canned espresso was sweet. Sauces are sweet. Sugar, sugar, everywhere!
  • Alcohol now makes her head spin. Where others were having three or four drinks, she could manage just one.

Before the week was up, she was craving her regular (new) eating plan. She missed the salads. She missed her bacon and eggs. Most of all, she missed the feeling of stepping onto the scales and seeing the numbers come down.

Now for the good news. Despite the food challenges she faced while away, she returned exactly the same weight as when she left.

She is understandably happy. In fact, she can’t quite believe it. How could all that bad food not show up on the scales?

There are many reasons. Being aware meant she ate less. One week is unlikely to undo weeks and months of control. Maybe she slept better. The time of her menstrual cycle may be playing a role – it works both ways, you know!

If you have holidays planned, be aware of your habits and food choices. Maintain your usual eating patterns as much as possible. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Make sure you get some exercise, even just walking. Sleep well. Return home and smile when you step on the scales.

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