One of the hardest things to do is to go on vacation and still keep yourself on point in the diet and exercise department…especially over a holiday. Here are 10 ways to stay fit this Thanksgiving while on vacation:
1. Find a trail/go for walk/go for a run:
You don’t need a gym membership for this. Get up early and take 30 minutes to an hour to explore. Niagara Falls is a great place to travel in that we have many hiking and biking trails such as the Niagara Glen and the Niagara Parkway. Get up early enough so that not only do you have enough hours in your day to get it done, but also so that you can avoid any large crowds. Even if you travel to a spot that doesn’t have any trails or landmarks to explore, as long as there is a sidewalk, just find time within the day to get out there. Take the whole family and make it a Thanksgiving ritual.
2. Keep yourself accountable:
If you have a smartphone, download a diet and fitness app before you leave on vacation and stick to it. I like My Fitness Pal. Enter in the foods you eat, the exercise and duration, and it will keep you accountable. Best of all, it’s a free app and includes many restaurant specific menu items as well. That way if you are eating out, you won’t be left wondering.
3. Don’t skip out on breakfast!
One of the worst things that you can do is arrive at any meal starving because you thought that skipping breakfast would save yourself some calorie intake. People who are super hungry will tend to overeat much more during a Thanksgiving feast than those who are not. If you are worried about finances while on vacation and skipped breakfast in order to cut costs, look to stay in a hotel that offers free breakfast. Our hotel on Clifton Hill, the Comfort Inn Clifton Hill, offers a free deluxe breakfast during each day of your stay. Bonus: look for a hotel with a gym and/or a pool as well.
4. Drink plenty of water:
A lot of the time when you think you are hungry, you are actually dehydrated. If you’re craving a midday snack and want to make sure that you’re not really just thirsty, have a glass of water first. Then see if you’re still hungry 30 minutes later. A lot of the time you will find that you are not.
5. Don’t overload on alcohol:
I know this is easier said than done, but stick to a couple glasses of wine over dinner and that’s it. Sip it slow. One glass of wine can run between 110 to 300 calories. For me personally, this means that 2 glasses of full-bodied wine is the equivalent of having to burn off 600 calories — or a 10 KM run.
6. Avoid hidden fats:
When you are preparing your own meal, you know what you are cooking with. When you are eating out at a restaurant while on vacation, it will be harder to stay fit this Thanksgiving when you are going in blind-folded and putting your trust in another person’s hands. Ask before you order about any “hidden fats”. Harmless foods such as green beans, mashed potatoes and some soups may be laden with butter and other fats. You may think that you are choosing healthy, when in fact, you are not.
Tip: If you are cooking, cauliflower has fewer calories than potatoes – Mix cauliflower into the mashed potatoes to save some calories. Check out my Pinterest board “Holiday Recipes I Like“. I pinned some recipes on cauliflower mashed potatoes, as well as some other healthy Thanksgiving options.
7. Avoid the turkey skin and gravy:
Turkey skin is almost all pure fat and loaded in calories. Lose the skin and substitute the gravy for cranberry sauce. It’s less calorie rich (unsweetened) and still loaded with flavour.
8. Go heavy on the veggies:
Fill most of your plate with vegetables. You want to see lots and lots of colour. Gram for gram, veggies pack a lot fewer calories than meats or carbs. And along with that, be mindful of your portions. If you can, if you are on vacation and eating out, stick to a restaurant that offers a buffet so that you have the control. If not, only eat what you can. Many restaurants use massive dinner plates. It will trick your eye into thinking you are eating a regular amount of food, when in fact, you are going overboard. Avoid finger foods. There’s some evidence behind the fact that using a knife and fork means that you are eating slower — thus, minute by minute you are taking in fewer calories than you would if you were pounding back some chicken wings or french fries.
9. Skip the dessert or choose the lighter option:
You are on vacation after all and it’s a holiday — if you absolutely must have the dessert, remember this: pumpkin pie is less calorie rich than pecan pie. On average, a piece of pumpkin pie is approximately 243 calories (100 grams). A piece of pecan pie of the same amount is approximately 412 calories — and this is without the “extras” like whipped cream or ice cream.
10. Men: Go into a meal on the tightest loop on your belt, Women: Wear a tight dress:
Here’s a tip that I use personally that helps me anyhow. Men, when you start to feel uncomfortable and bloated, it’s time to stop. Women: when you feel or see a baby bump brewing, it’s also time to stop. You’ll start to feel uncomfortable and conscious of your body at that point. That may be enough for you to put the fork down and reach for the after meal cup of tea or coffee.
Don’t beat yourself up if you fall of the wagon. It is Thanksgiving after all, and it’s only for one day out of the year. Start small by following one or two of these tips, and then move forward — there’s always next year!