Dr. Birdie Varnedore was horrified to see the reading on the weighing scale. She had gained 14 pounds in a 7-day cruise. She weighed 153 pounds when she had boarded the ship and 167 when she got off. “14 pounds! Wow! Did I really gain 14 pounds?”
Is vacation weight-gain for real? Going by certain news sources, eating 500 extra calories a day during your extended stay in San Diego can add 2 pounds to your weight in as many weeks. The formula comes from the orthodox belief that one pound of human body fat contains 3,500 calories (which it does).
Dr Birdie had gained 14 pounds in one week. Conventional wisdom would say she must have consumed 49,000 extra calories in a week, or 7,000 calories per day, which means she had to be eating 3 to 4 times as much as a person of her age and lifestyle needs, around 2,000 calories. Considering that she was maintaining a healthy lifestyle before her 2-pounds-a-day cruise started, it is unlikely that she was eating 4 times her usual daily consumption. She wasn’t.
It turns out the relationship between weight gain (or loss) and calories is neither linear nor simple. Body fat is not pure fat, but contains proteins and water. When you start exercising, the weight loss during the initial couple of weeks is always very encouraging. This is because your body is losing excess water, wastes, sodium and other junk matter that has accumulated over a rather long period of sedentary living.
The opposite of this is also true. The weight that you gain at the end of a leisurely vacation in San Diego is not 100% fat. Much of it is the weight of the extra food that you ate and the water that your body retained in order to process that food. As you didn’t work out much during your vacation, your body also stored sodium and waste matters, which look depressingly heavy as you board the scale after coming back from your extended stay in San Diego.
Where the Extra Pounds Come From
The weight that you gain during your trip comes from the lack of exercise and excess of eating. Cocktails, hamburgers, shakes, steaks, pizzas, fries, waffles, chocolates, and other such irresistible temptations go hand in hand with an ideal vacation. You’ve got to indulge, for what’s the fun in a holiday that doesn’t break a few rules? Counting calories and abstaining from your favorite foods even during your rare vacation sounds a bit too unnatural and robotic.
If your stay in San Diego extends over more than a month and you are eating to your heart’s desire, you might find it very hard, if not impossible to regain the level of fitness you enjoyed before coming to San Diego. The city has a lot to engage you with, theaters, art galleries, public parks, bars, live music, boat cruises, tantalizing food, beaches, and more. Fitness may become a victim of excitement, as you abandon your workout routine and become a pleasure seeking slob. Ultimately, your San Diego vacation will be over like a dream and you’ll wake up to the hard reality reflecting on the weighing scale, and in the impossible to close trousers buttons.
How to Control Your Weight without Starving Yourself
While you may allow yourself to throw caution to wind if you are on a couple of week’s vacation. You can lose the pounds that you gain during a short vacation almost as quickly as you put them on. In the case of Dr Birdie, she lost half of the pounds she gained within a week. The other half might take a bit longer, as most of it is probably pure fat. She might need to work out for a month before she’s back to her usual 153 pounds. A month’s work out is not a big price to pay for the fun she had, she thinks.
An extended vacation demands to be treated with more respect. If you keep an unhealthy lifestyle for a month or two, the weight that you gain will consist mostly of fat. You’ll only lose a small fraction of it quickly when you resume your exercise and diet routine, and the rest may take many months to get off, or might even stay with you forever.
Extra pounds are extra pounds, whether they come from fats or water. Looking at your weight going up in double figures in a week’s time is shocking at first and depressing thereafter. Months of hard work seems to come crashing down right before you. ‘If I regain pounds so quickly, what’s the use of getting them off?’ you think to yourself. Vacation weight gain can disrupt people’s fitness routines that they had painstakingly established; it can make them throw their diet plans out the window, by making them feel their efforts are futile.
The key to making your trip away from home enjoyable is to keep a light fitness routine. There are plenty of fitness activities available in San Diego, especially if you are staying in one of the fully furnished resort style apartments. Taking a quiet swim in the pool for about 30 minutes a day should keep you in the best of shapes and would be enjoyable too. Or, if you’re not that much of a water creature, just walk or jog along the immaculately manicured green belts and lawns in the serene neighborhood. Joining a gym can help you stick to your fitness schedule.
While you should allow yourself to eat to your heart’s desire, do not overdo it. Eating junk food continuously will make you feel heavy and might even give you heartburn. Punctuate your extended stay in San Diego with healthy eating days. Bring in some fresh supplies to your apartment’s kitchen and try to cook most of your meals yourself. Packaged or restaurant food is usually laden with calories. Try to go for small portions of sweets and other high-calorie foods.
The bottom-line is, even if you are not eating healthy during your extended stay San Diego, keeping a light exercise routine would save you from gaining extra pounds that may be hard to get rid of later.
What’s your take at it? Would you rather abstain to control your weight during an extended vacation? Let us know in your comments.