How to Avoid "Creeping Obesity" During Summer Vacation

Top Dietitian Has Tips to Reduce Health Risks Significantly
Courtney McCormick, Corporate Dietitian, Nutrisystem

(Fort Washington, PA, Thursday, June 22, 2017) - The average American gains 0.7 pounds while on vacation, according to a 2016 study. While that may not sound like much, the news when you drill down isn’t so great. Some of the 122 adults in the study gained as much as seven pounds. And that three-quarters of a pound hadn’t gone away when the study participants were weighed six weeks after they returned home.

It likely became another factor in what scientists call “creeping obesity,” the one to two pounds or more that you put on during holidays and vacations that sets up permanent residence and grows every year. It can push someone who’s just overweight into the obese category, upping health risks significantly. Here are some tips to avoid gaining vacation weight:

  • Watch your alcohol intake. People who normally had eight drinks a week nudged it up to 16 on vacation. Bodies don’t recognize liquid calories when doling out appetite-suppressing hormones.
  • Stay active: Walking on the beach burns almost twice as many calories as walking on a less giving surface. Walking around a new city to see the sights can burn more than 200 calories per hour.
  • Make special requests: Ask for salad dressing on the side or, request balsamic vinegar. Avoid fried platters; most restaurants serve the same foods broiled or baked. If a menu item says “creamy,” avoid it.

Some other tips include:

  • Order what you want, but only eat some of it: Eat slowly to allow time to register the calories. It takes 20 minutes before your brain picks up the appetite & satiety chemicals that eating releases.
  • BYO snacks and meals: Take advantage of motel fridges to keep low-fat yogurts, cheese sticks and veggies handy so you have healthy options at your disposal.
  • Weigh yourself the minute you get back: The only way to get rid of weight gain is to be aware that it’s there and to jump back on the wagon until it’s gone.
  • Have a post-vacation plan ready: If losing weight after a trip is a priority, have a week’s worth of meal ideas ready for when you return from vacation.
  • Stay busy: Figure you’re going to miss the daily ice cream treats, shipboard buffets and tropical drinks you enjoyed on vacation, so find something to distract yourself.
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