For many, a vacation in Greece ends with the pleasant surprise of unintended weight loss. But for others, vacation results in just the opposite. Here are some tips to avoid vacation weight gain.
Vacation weight gain
The clean air, beautiful beaches and overall relaxation results in the loss of a few pounds with minimal or no effort. For others though, a trip to the motherland results in unwanted weight gain, casting a shadow on their reflection of their trip as soon as they’re back to their daily routine.
If you happen to be one of these unlucky ones, here are a few tips to help minimize or even avoid any unwanted weight gain while in Greece.
Tips to avoid vacation weight gain
Identify your hunger
Many times people confuse thirst with hunger. The warmer Mediterranean climate coupled by
increased activity levels such as visits to the beach, result in our bodies increased need for water. The general rule of thumb when it comes to how much water to drink daily is ½ your weight in ounces; if you weigh 150 lbs. you should drink about 75 oz. of water per day. Any additional physical exertion and or raise in temperature calls for more.
Paying attention to your hunger and differentiating between thirst and real hunger AND satisfying your thirst first, is a great first step for the prevention of weight gain.
TIP: If you feel hungry, drink some water first.
Eat smaller amounts
Many people find themselves eating a lot more often while in Greece either as a result of social
functions or family environments. We’re all familiar with Greek hospitality and the overabundance of food offered. Have a lot of family to see in a short period of time? You’ve now gone from having the typical three-times-a-day food in front of you, to five-to-six-times-a-day.
While eating small frequent meals may benefit some people by raising their metabolism and assisting in weight loss, for many the opposite occurs; weight gain. The more times you have food in front of you the more opportunities you have to overeat.
Remaining conscious of the fact that you’ll most likely be eating a lot more often during your trip will aid you with keeping your portions small; allowing you to fully enjoy the Greek hospitality and still keep your weight the same.
TIP: Keep portions small.
Practice proper food combining
Many individuals that struggle with digestive issues (resulting in weight gain) benefit from practicing principles of food combining. While there are loads of conflicting information available as to what proper food combining is, the general rule of thumb and the easiest to follow, is to consume animal products (i.e. beef, pork, eggs), grains (i.e. breads, rice), and legumes (beans) separately; vegetables can be eaten together with all three.
TIP: About to order souvlaki with pita and salad? Pass on the pita (or keep it minimal) and enjoy your meat with plenty of greens.
Different enzymes are used to digest different food groups (such as protease for meat, amylase for grains) and by eating both food groups at the same time forces our bodies to produce enzymes that compete with each other during the digestive processes, significantly slowing down and hindering them. For many, this results in bloating and weight gain. Practicing basic food combining principles may help prevent this from happening.
Bring digestive enzymes with you
More and more research is showing that certain cultures have specific enzymes that help
them digest certain foods specific to their culture. Not only as a result of genes, but also influenced by the food and environment they’re accustomed to. Consuming supplemental digestive enzymes has proved helpful to many. While buying a box of high quality enzymes from your local vitamin store probably won’t provide the specific “Mediterranean” type enzymes that have yet to be discovered, however they will allow you to digest certain foods more effectively; especially if you lack in specific ones.
Remember: food that is slow to be digested as a result of lack of enzymes, produces gas, bloating and weight gain.
TIP: Purchase digestive enzymes to see if that aids your digestion. If yes, pack them in your suitcase.
Eat a traditional Greek fermented food daily
If you find yourself with an opportunity to eat some homemade Greek yogurt, take it! Homemade yogurt, tzatziki, freshly cultured olives, and even homemade wines, are all examples of traditional Greek fermented foods. The same research described above in regard to enzymes is also currently being conducted in regard to our good bacteria — probiotics. Specific strains of probiotics have been linked to exist in specific groups of people. Probiotics are an absolute must for proper digestion in the gut and the more diverse amount of probiotics one can consume, the better their digestion will be.
TIP: Eat yogurt, drink wine. (Do drink responsibly)
Leave stress at home
While many people fully enjoy themselves while in Greece and come back renewed and reenergized, others have a hard time letting go of their daily stressors. If possible, log off, set up an autoresponder, and try to remain present to your surroundings. Many people actually find themselves more stressed when on vacation and attempting to conduct work. The act of trying to find Wi-Fi and or time to work while in a remote village in the mountains surrounded by well-intentioned family members, contributes to a rise in cortisol levels (stress hormone) which then proceeds to throw off all other hormones, ultimately resulting in unwanted weight gain for many.
Have no choice and still have to work while on your trip?
Try to mentally prepare yourself for the worst case scenario and have your regular de-stressing
techniques at the forefront of your mind. That way you can be prepared and immediately negate any possible hormone fluctuations that are due to unforeseen stressors that may arise.
TIP: Unplug. If you absolutely cannot, bring your stress ball or practice de-stressing techniques. Also, set specific hours for work so you have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy.
These tips work!
These tips can be easily and effortlessly implemented daily while vacationing in Greece. If incorporated with a healthy amount of physical activity, plus food consumption to comparable to what you would regularly eat at home, you can very easily maintain your weight. As a result you’ll be able to enjoy the amazing sun, beautiful beaches and wonderful “parea” without having to worry about the possibility of gaining weight too. ΚΑΛΟ ΤΑΞΙΔΙ! Have a great trip!
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She trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis, and is a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She’s also the proud mom of 4 little boys. Roula is currently accepting new clients in her office, at home, over phone or Skype. Email: Roula@MyHealthySoma.com
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