Why You Don't Diet for a Holiday

We have all been guilty of this… Planning a great holiday to a tropical location, beach getaway or cruise and decided 12, 8 or 6 weeks out to commence some form of dieting to better our physique for that beach body we want when we are away.

Sounds great right?

We feel good, look good.

The photos look good, but the 5kg we have put on since getting home is not that great.
Does this all sound familiar? Why is it that we always put on weight while away?

Simply put when we undertake a last minute (6-12 week) diet right before leaving for our holiday, we have put ourselves in a calorie deficit for that chosen period of time. This means our body is used to performing daily activities at a below maintenance intake of calories. Then we you go away for a week or more and eat and drink plenty, potentially over consuming most days. Your body goes into a state of shock not being able to process the higher intake of calories having been used to deficit the body before the holidays started. The only possibility, if the extra calories cannot be utilised for energy, daily functions or waste, is to turn it into storage (body fat), hence the excessive weight gain.

The deeper and longer the calorie deficit, the more potential weight will be put on during and after the holiday… And then what happens? You enter another diet to attempt to remove the weight you gain and so on and so on and you find yourself in a never-ending state of dieting.

That doesn’t sound like fun does it? So how does one overcome gaining weight while on holidays or at least minimising the impact of weight gain?

So as soon as the holiday is planned or booked, a dieting strategy needs to be implemented. We live in a world nowadays whereby everyone is so busy we try and plan family holidays, vacations well in advance to not only be organised but to get the best deals also. If this is the case this gives you the best opportunity to be in the best shape for the holiday without impacting your weight too much.

Current month is January
Holiday is booked for September
Timeframe is approx. 9 months
Dieting commences in January at a steady rate, nothing excessive with a weight-loss/physique goal set for March. This is the first goal to be met. We diet down to that initial goal weight and then reassess upon achieving that.
3 months down and few kilos down and still 6 months until the holiday. We decided a few more kilos can also go so we alter the calorie intake and diet for a further 12 weeks for June with another goal set. Nothing drastic, nothing excessive, no excessive training or cardio.
We reach June and achieve our desired goal weight and we are happy with this current position and physique and we are now 3 months still out from our booked holiday.

Now we commence what’s called reverse dieting, whereby calories are slowly reintroduced to bring them up to a maintenance level and potentially beyond. This is done on a week by week basis ensuring there is no excessive eating, good consistent training, remembering the goal is the holiday. Over the course of the next four weeks we have double the calorie intake with very little weight gain and maintaining a great physique but also improving overall training performance.
We are now in August with four weeks until our holiday, we are in a very good metabolic position with our body performing at a high level and continuing to reverse diet into the holiday hoping to further increase calories.

We reach September and our holiday with our calorie intake 2.5 times more than when we started and a great beach body to take away.
Furthermore, the calorie intake is so high at this point means any drinking or excessive eating will have less impact on the body than it would have had, had we dieted right up to the day before the holiday and been in a deficit when we departed.

The recommendation is to still exercise and train while on holidays to maintain a level of expenditure but at least the body’s metabolic performance is now at an optimum level.

This scenario may not play out for everyone, as there are a number of variables to consider including timeframe, body type, starting weight, nutritional history, training regime, time management etc, however with correct guidance anyone can potentially plan ahead for a holiday with a dieting strategy to minimise any weight loss while away and still enjoy their holiday knowing they won’t come home to face another diet.