Have you gained weight on holiday? Here’s what to do for women over forty.
At this time of year, it’s really common for people to have gained weight on holiday.
Perhaps you’ve gone away for a week or two, only to come back and find you’ve gained half a stone or more. This can be really frustrating, especially if you’ve been making good progress towards your goals.
This can sometimes lead to giving up completely. In some cases, you might continue to gain weight for the rest of the year… and then start again in January with a LOT more weight to lose!
If you feel like your weight is spiralling out of control, it can start to have a huge impact on other areas of your life. For example, many women end up dressing to cover up ‘problem areas’ rather than wearing what they like.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In our most recent podcast episode, we gave our top strategies to get rid of excess holiday weight. Plus, we share how you can drop 1-2 dress sizes between now and Christmas! Here’s what we recommend.
Understand the scales are lying to you
It’s important to know that the weight on your scales isn’t reflective of your actual body fat content.
The human body is 60% water; so it’s like a sponge. Most of the time, a very small percentage change in the amount of water your body is holding can lead to a 3-5lbs weight gain – or more!
Any rapid change in body weight, especially over days rather than weeks, can almost always be attributed to water retention.
Things that affect water retention can include:
- Salt: Sodium binds with water and keeps it trapped in your body
- Carbs: Your muscles store carbs for energy. This is called muscle glycogen, and for every gram of carbs stored in your muscles you’ll store 3-4g of water
- Hormones: The rise and fall of oestrogen and progesterone can easily cause 3-5lbs water retention e.g. after ovulation or during the week prior to a period
- Flying: The pressurised cabin causes bloating and extra water retention
In most cases, a lot of these things happen during a holiday! In essence, it’s normal for your weight to increase – but that doesn’t mean you’ve gained weight on holiday.
Additionally, it’s more likely you’ve only gained 1-2lbs of actual body fat while away. The rest is temporary, which is easy to lose with the following strategies.
Don’t weigh yourself (give it a week)
Weighing yourself as soon as you get home, and finding out you’ve gained half a stone of water weight while away… is not really a helpful thing to know. So, there’s no point measuring it!
If you give yourself a week of getting back on track, you can lose a lot of that holiday weight straight away. This means that, when you weigh yourself, you’ll have a better indication of your actual progress. Plus, this will probably not be much higher than when you left!
Reset your diet with a WADS week
For most people, it’s normal for food choices to slip a bit whilst away. Perhaps you’ll be eating more dessert, or having more cocktails. You’ll likely be drinking more often and eating higher calorie foods.
This is not the end of the world! If these habits are just for a week, you won’t need to worry about weight gain. However, the problem is that it can be hard to break out of this cycle.
A lot of people continue the holiday eating for another few weeks, and then actually DO gain quite a bit of body fat that’s hard to shift! What works much better is to have a hard reset after a holiday.
What our members do is a Diet Makeover. This helps to break the bad habits and eliminate cravings for comfort foods and drinks.
Aim to cut out four problem foods that are almost impossible to moderate without going cold turkey – these are:
Sugar and alcohol are the biggest problems, as the more you have the more you want. So, you must do a reset to break the cycle and get the weight off fast. We recommend spending a week cutting out at least 2 of the 4 WADS foods.
Get back to being active ASAP
We always recommend that our clients stay as active as possible while on holiday. This minimises your chances of gaining excess body fat while away.
We do give our clients easy holiday workouts to do, but any activity is good! However, this is not always doable (which is also fine).
The key is to get back into the routine of exercising as quickly as possible. Any single week won’t make much of a difference, but 2 or 3 weeks away from exercising can have a big impact on both your results and motivation.
For women over 40, the most important thing with exercise, is that it works with your hormones rather than against them.
We recommend our clients do 3-4 LIST (Low Impact Strength Training) sessions per week. These are really effective for losing body fat, but also kind to the joints and don’t over-stress the body with high intensity exercise.
Plan your week and get prepared
All of this starts with a plan, and winging it after a holiday never works! Come up with a quick and easy plan of what you’re going to eat and when you’re going to exercise when you’re back.
Remember to plan in your food shop (online or in person). You must have the right foods in the house to succeed.
Additionally, we recommend to do a workout on the first full day you have back so you can feel good again, and shift back into a healthy mindset very quickly.
The quicker you get back into the good habits, the quicker you’ll feel better, the weight will fall off and you’ll feel full of energy again!
Bonus: Have someone to keep you accountable to this plan!
What we do with all our clients is plan their holidays with them. We plan what they’ll do once they’re back, to ensure they can still enjoy themselves without gaining unwanted weight.
We have a check in with every client as soon as they’re back, and we use this to ensure they stick to their original plan and get any minor holiday weight off as soon as possible.
It’s easy to fail alone, and make that holiday weight gain stretch to a whole month of eating and drinking too much.
But with the right support and accountability, it’s easy to go away without gaining much weight (if any) and get right back on track and lose the holiday weight within a week or less!
If you’re interested in finding a long-term, sustainable diet designed for women over 40, you can find out more about working with us here!