Gain relaxation, not pounds, this vacation season | SummitDaily.com

Gain relaxation, not pounds, this vacation season

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Written By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Kaiser Permanente

Remaining health-conscious while on vacation can be a challenge, but with a little discipline and diligence, a week away doesn't have to equal pounds gained.

One of the easiest things vacationers can do is pay attention to their food choices and calorie intake, said Dr. Patricia Dietzgen, Family Medicine Physician at Kaiser Permanente's Frisco Medical Offices.

"Restaurant foods have typically more calories than home-made," she said. "If there are groceries available, consider buying healthy snacks and foods so that you are not eating every meal at a restaurant."

As vacationers plan ahead by researching restaurants to try, it's also smart to determine in advance which menu items might be the healthiest, she said. Many chain restaurants post nutritional information online, for example, making it easy to select the healthiest options in advance.

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In local restaurants, order dishes that are baked or broiled rather than deep-fried, and order steamed or grilled vegetables instead of potatoes, heavy pastas or French fries. Sauces and dressings should be used sparingly, too.

Dietzgen said this doesn't mean that people shouldn't enjoy themselves while on vacation, but they shouldn't overindulge.

"It's OK to splurge, but do so knowingly, and make up for it with added exercise," Dietzgen said. "Remember, eating 3,500 calories more than you expend equals about a pound of weight gain. Eating just 500 more calories a day for a week means you've likely gained a pound."

Don't ditch your exercise routines

Anyone with a regular exercise routine should stick with it while on vacation. Dietzgen also suggests using the stairs, doing squats, push-ups and running in place in your hotel room.

Use the pool and walk on treadmills, and try walking on the sand or swimming if you're going to a beach destination, she said.

"Many travelers carry exercise bands in their suitcases and they are easy to use and lightweight," Dietzgen said.

Research shows that exercise improves mood, boosts energy and can help you sleep better — perfect for a vacation.

Summertime offers a lot of opportunities to get outside and be active, said Dr. Shannon Garton, Family Medicine Physician at Kaiser Permanente's Edwards Medical Offices. She recommends staying hydrated and wearing plenty of sun protection while doing activities outdoors.

For people used to exercising indoors, many strengthening exercises can be done outdoors or even in a hotel room, she said.

"Even small increments of exercise daily can help to keep (your body) conditioned," she said.

Ten ways to stay healthy on vacation:

  1. Resist the urge to splurge
  2. Make special requests in restaurants, such as ordering sauce or dressing on the side.
  3. Practice moderation
  4. Walk everywhere.
  5. Allow yourself one treat each day.
  6. Make healthier choices in restaurants.
  7. Resist the mini bar.
  8. Drink plenty of water.
  9. Try to get five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  10. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re comfortable.

Source: WebMD

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