Recently, I decided to get off the grid and away from my regular habits. Although I have over 35 countries under my belt, from time to time a girl just wants to sit on a beach without having to justify a beloved nap ritual. There may be a touch of defensiveness in my tone, but bear with me: I went to an all-inclusive.
As with cruise-ships, the all-inclusive falls under the umbrella of "travel lite." You can go away and have the option of seeing nothing but the pages of a novel. However, this doesn't mean that it is all in vain. In fact, after I came back a few pounds lighter, I realized that the all-inclusive travel experience can be the training grounds for anytime where there is lots of eating involved (like the holiday season!). Think about it: the end of the year is like one giant buffet.
Well, here is how I lost weight at an all-inclusive. Hopefully these tips can help you feel bloat-free, whether at the year's end "buffet," or any other food-filled occasion, really ...
1. Keep the morning simple.
With a buffet staring at me with everything from éclairs to mashed plantains to thousands of strips of bacon, it was extremely easy to be tempted. So before I entered the buffet, I thought about what I would make for myself if I was home (and I had all the time in the world). Whether that be pancakes, an omelet or a giant mound of sweet pineapple, I let myself have it. Just not all of it.
Having a similar attitude toward holiday festivities, or other food-centric social events, means that you can occasionally say no to those festive coffee drinks and cookies. Because quite honestly, they aren't going away as soon as you think (you lied to us, Starbucks). Establishing a more accepting attitude toward your cravings and desires will help you be more moderate in how you actually consume them. Plus, you'll feel a lot better, emotionally and physically.
2. Two meals leave room for snacks.
While at the all-inclusive, I listened to my hunger pangs (although sometimes they did get drowned out by the soothing waves around me). When you don't have your Smartphone alerting you of every text message, you are much more aware of the fact that when you are moving less, you are also hungry less.
I found that I was satisfied with two meals a day. You may be a five-meal-a-day person and that's cool too. Yet at the end of the year, parties often leave us more stagnant and yet we stick to our mealtimes like they are the rule. If you aren't hungry on your lunch-break, you don't have to eat at noon. If you're hungry in the late afternoon instead, eat then. Listening intuitively to your body is a beautiful way to respect yourself.
3. You can't take a vacation from moving.
I am normally incredibly active. I teach yoga and Pilates and I was looking to give my exhausted body a break. However, moving from beach chair to bar-stool to bed is not exactly healthy (and it doesn't exactly look good in a Speedo. Although very little actually looks good in a Speedo. Anyway).
During my vacation, I let my exercise be what I wanted, whether it was a long walk on the beach or a game with the ocean (guess who won). The holidays are a great time to let go and have fun. You can also have fun keeping yourself healthy, even if you don't have quite as much time.
4. Water before liquor: you ain't gonna be sicker.
It is inevitable at an all-inclusive that you will get tempted by the fruity umbrella drinks that some people suck back before they would be at the office. The same goes for office parties: it is just a matter of time before you get that glass of wine in your hand. Hold off and chug your water garnished with fresh fruit. Eventually you will join in the merriment, but that water will help to keep you from overindulging. Even if you do overindulge, your hydration habits will aid in the next day hangover.
5. Taylor Swift had it wrong: she meant "Sleep It Off."
We forget how healthy sleep is, until we get a chance to indulge in it excessively. I realized that on my all-inclusive, my biggest binge was with sleep. I slept long nights and often had naps. When I felt tired, I conked out unapologetically. Even within a healthy lifestyle, we forget that sleep itself can help to ward off weight gain. If we are intuitively eating, we also have to consider intuitively sleeping. In the winter, we have less daylight and more melatonin. In short: your body wants you to occasionally choose pajamas over party.