Holidays make me fat!
Hurray, it's holiday time! I love holidays, but for me, holidays spell trouble for my efforts to stay slim.
Since reaching target weight 18 months ago, I do ok most of the year, but on holiday my weight goes up and I really struggle to get it off again when I get back. Holidays don't mean points, they don't mean prizes. Holidays mean pounds. When I come back from holiday, I'm significantly heavier than when I left, and it really gets me down.
Last year I put on 5lbs over 2 weeks, much more than I'd expected. I was so demoralised when I stepped on those post holiday scales, angry I'd let the pounds slip on. I thought I'd tried really hard to be good and we'd done loads of walking. But of course the scales don't lie and there was now 5lb more of me.
Some folks just diet for a few weeks and take it off again, but for some reason, my mind doesn't work like that. I have to admit, I very nearly gave up trying to stay slim. I felt I'd lost control and my confidence took a knock. I was a failure, a weak willed fattie, so why not give in and just eat what I want?
But I'd worked hard to lose the weight and I didn't want to go back to being fat again. So I had to find a way to make this work. I decided not to fight myself, but to focus on damage limitation. I just had to stop putting on weight and whittle off the holiday weight bit by bit. Slowly, I got my confidence back and got back on track. Soon I was back to my healthy eating and my weight stabilised and gradually reduced. Phew!
That was all too traumatic so I decided this year I needed a better strategy. I was determined not to repeat my mistakes. Somehow I had to take control of my holiday weight and keep hold of my mojo. So I wrote down what I'd eaten on holiday last year and it was soon pretty clear what I'd done wrong.
Too much food - I'd eaten too much. I'd stopped keeping track of my eating and every single day I'd eaten almost double my usual calories.
Too many treats - I'd eaten too many high fat treats. Holidays are about treats but I'd gone a bit bonkers. I'd eaten chips, ice cream, cakes, wine - all things that I'm normally very careful with - not just as a treat but often several times a day.
Too much lazing about - I'd not done enough exercise. Because of all the walking and cycling I'd assumed I'd done more exercise than I usually do. But I hadn't. I was actually using fewer calories on holiday than I thought.
All this added up to a triple whammy of holiday excess and I was paying the price! I had a choice - do things the same and put on weight which I know will be hard to lose or try and keep the weight gain down.
I decided on a very simple and small change; I decided to keep a mental note of calories I was taking in. I could still eat what I wanted, I just had to have a rough idea of how many calories I was taking in. This simple thing worked wonders. Without thinking I found I was limiting my treats - I didn't want to eat thousands of calories a day! Saying no to those chips got much easier.
I made another small change too - I made time for a few short runs which over 3 weeks used up about 2,000 calories.
The moment of truth came when we got home and I got onto the scales. I'd put on 1.4 lbs. Okay so I put a bit of weight on, but this is a major reduction from last year and a totally manageable amount to lose in a week. I've already lost most of it in two days.
I'm ecstatic. My tactic worked. I managed to keep things under control and have a great holiday. I did lapse a bit - bread remains a problem and I have a serious binge eating problem round crisps. I deliberately did not read the calorie count on that massive bag of crisps. If I had, I know I wouldn't have eaten them.
But it's a start. As long as I stay aware of what I'm eating, I can keep things under control. I know as well what I need to focus on next. I'm beginning to think that weight maintenance over holidays is not impossible, I may even lose weight on holiday - what a radical thought! All I have to do is take my slim thinking on holiday with me and not leave it at home!
What happens to your weight on holiday? How do you manage? Do you enjoy all before you with abandon and then diet like mad when you get back or have you another cunning plan? Tell us!
Now back to the office and avoiding the post holiday chocolates...