Why We Feel We Need a Detox After Vacation and How to Debloat
Coming home after a week of indulgences to step on a scale that tells us we gained 5 pounds can be all the motivation we need to find an aggressive workout plan and strict diet. But is following someone else’s directive and relying on limited willpower the answer? If we follow a healthy lifestyle 90% of the year ensures one week of vacation with zero workouts and unhealthy foods won’t derail all our progress.
The good news is an increase in scale weight is mostly a result of water retention from excess sodium, heavier foods, sun exposure and alcohol. Here’s a simple example of why it’s nearly impossible to put on several pounds of fat in a week.
Take a female who is 5"7 and 150 lb and exercises 1 to 3 times per week. She burns close to 2,000 calories per day, which is needed to just maintain her weight. A pound of fat is an excess of 3,500 calories over what she burns. To gain 2 lbs in a week, she would need to eat around 3,000 calories a day. To gain 5 lbs she would need to eat 4,500 calories a day. I don’t promote long-term calorie-counting, but the point is 3,000 to 4,500 calories every day for a week is an enormous amount of food.
To shed the post-vacation bloat, drink half your bodyweight in ounces of plain water with lemon. Try adding slices of lemon, cucumber, ginger, and mint. Drinking water will help flush the body of any retained fluids.
When I vacationed in beautiful Block Island this summer, I went 10 days without lifting weights. In the beginning of the trip I woke up and went for a six mile run around the island. I also walked throughout on the beach and around town during the week. But most of my physical activity was limited to paddle board surfing, beach naps and drinking the best top shelf mudslides on the island. I usually like to get in 2 to 3 workouts and follow the guide for staying healthy while traveling. But even I'm not perfect, and occasionally will go on a vacation with minimal workouts. The key is to just enjoy the moments and trust I can reset when I get home by getting back into a workout routine and eating healthy.
Hotel rooms are generally empty, making them a private playground with a variety of fun equipment. I always appreciate the alone time during a workout before being around people the rest of the day. For someone who travels several times a month for work, it’s important to find a workout routine that's easy to stick with on the road. For workouts to do at hotels, read this post which has a hotel gym workout and a bodyweight workout.
While there’s so many things for vacations to revolve around than just food, like building lifelong relationships, learning about foreign cultures, picking up new skills and gaining a fresh perspective, it’s inevitable when we eat out that we’ll over-indulge. Restaurants have meals that are higher in calories from both increased portion size and added oil and butter. All this heavy food combined with not being in our regular workout routine makes us feel the need for a post-vacation “detox”.
3 Tips to Bounce Back After Vacation
To get our body back after a vacation all we really need is to get back on track with a healthy lifestyle we can stick with year round. The first week back is the hardest, so prioritizing the below 3 tips to get back on track after vacation ensures success.
Sweat it Out
Get in a workout the first day you’re back home. This is always the hardest one since our energy levels tend to be lower post vacation. Schedule in the rest of the workouts for the week. Aim for at least 3 weight training workouts and 2 cardio sessions. Line up workout gear the night before. For a structured workout routine with zero guesswork, check out the brand new program Strong and Lean in 12 Weeks.
Hit the grocery store as soon as you arrive home. If you don’t have time to meal prep schedule a meal delivery service. Fill the fridge with cut up vegetables and fruit like leafy greens, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Cook lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs. Place meals for the next 3 days into glass containers with some healthy fat like avocado. We can only make so many decisions in a day, so why not set ourselves up for success by not having to make these unnecessary decisions.
Vacations involve late nights and fragmented sleep from unfamiliar beds, alcohol, eating late and heavier foods. Getting 8 hours helps promote a healthy hormone profile for fat loss and improved energy during workouts. We’ll also be less likely to reach for sugar and carbs as quick energy.
Enjoy the tan and the memories and take extra care of your body for a week and trust you can reset and fall back into the healthy lifestyle you live out 90% of the year.