Are you worried you’ll (re)gain weight on holiday?

Are you worried you’ll (re)gain weight on holiday?

Holiday season

The schools are about to break for the summer as we approach peak holiday season in the UK.


A break from routine

A change of scene and a different pace of life mean the chance to recharge your batteries and decompress from whatever else has been going on in your life.

However, holidays can pose challenges around eating because your regular routines are suspended.

If you’re losing, or have already lost, weight you might be apprehensive about regaining it. So how can you best enjoy your holiday catering without a side order of angst?


Your eating holiday mind-set

Whether or not you arrive back from holiday feeling rested and relaxed will be influenced by how you ate.

And how you ate will be a function of the mind-set you have around holidays. Some of the stories I’ve heard on people’s return from holidays are here… does any of these resonate with you?

  • Holidays are all about eating and drinking

Your approach to vacations:

You love the social side of holidaying, and in your social circle, holidaying means eating and drinking. As much as possible. It’s a chance to go wild with abandon. Inhibition is left behind as the alcohol flows.

The holiday itself

A riot of sun, sea and socialising, your annual break is high in energy and fun. There may be a voice in your head telling you you’ll regret the extra cocktail but it’s nowhere near as loud as your real voice saying “I’ll have another mojito!”

When you return home

You’re pretty exhausted and feel the need for another break to recover from this one. You loved the time away but feel down on yourself that your weight is up a few pounds.

  • Holidays are all about VFM

Your approach to vacations:

You prefer the all-inclusive option to ensure no hidden surprises on the financial front. Once booked, your focus is on getting maximum Value For Money. If you don’t go back to the buffet for seconds, it feels like you’re missing a bargain. Enjoying the meals is absolutely key to enjoying the holiday.

The holiday itself

With eating and drinking centre-stage, much of your time in between is a mix of reading your Kindle by the pool, dozing and the occasional burst of activity.

When you return home

You have lovely memories and most of your holiday snaps feature meals and sightseeing trips. You find yourself recommending the resort to your friends on the basis of the quality of the buffet. You’re quietly worried about whether you’ll be able to lose the weight you gained.

  • Holidays are all about letting it all hang out

Your approach to vacations:

Holidays are your one opportunity for a break from your punishing schedule at home. You don’t want to have to think about anything, including what you ‘should’ be eating.

The holiday itself

Your aim is for minimal effort and maximum relaxation. Whether you get that or not isn’t actually guaranteed, but you know that your energy is sapped and you badly need this R&R. You want to enjoy meals whilst you’re away, but the priority is minimal effort. If you’re in a hotel you’re super-grateful that someone else is doing the washing up. If you’re self-catering your aim is minimal food prep.

When you return home

You’re straight back into the maelstrom of everyday stress. The holiday feels like a distant memory in no time at all. You aren’t sure what happened to your intention to avoid overeating and over-drinking, and the weight you gained, but you’re too busy now to focus on that.


Eating challenges depend on the type of holiday you’ve booked

Whether you recognise any of these stories, there may be particular challenges you face this year if you manage to get away.


Whatever your eating arrangements, here’s a fabulous tip

There is one very simple, calorie-free way to enjoy your eating more, and which may help you to consume less.

That is to really show up and be present whilst you are eating. The way to do this is to:

  • slow down
  • tune in to all your senses (they are all involved in eating)
  • look around you at who is with you, the place you’re in, and the scenery beyond
  • notice what you can hear – the sounds nearby and the sounds further away
  • breathe in and smell the food and the atmosphere
  • as you breathe in, inhale the companionship, fun and love around you
  • look at the table you’re eating at and the food
  • taking a bite, savour the flavours and textures of this special meal
  • drink it all in and relish this moment

As you do this, not only will you really enjoy the moment but you’ll be laying down a rich, multisensory memory of this moment in your holiday. The chances are that this moment will, because you have so richly captured it, be one you remember years from now.

I know this works from my understanding of psychology. But I also have a powerful example from decades ago. It wasn’t on holiday – it was my wedding.

A wise older friend wasn’t able to attend the wedding. The last time we met before my Big Day, she said, “Take it all in, at moments during the day. Pause and notice everything. That way, you’ll have memories of the day to treasure. Otherwise it might fly by in a whirl of excitement.”

She was absolutely right. Thanks to her I do have those memories as I paid deep attention at points when I remembered what she had said. And the day did fly by, but as well as being caught up in the joy and celebration, I captured moments of profound personal meaning.

I’d invite you to do the same at times you want to treasure for the future.

And, because of the way our brains work, you may find that in focusing on the lovely meal, you don’t feel like snacking later or that you notice feeling full sooner than you might have done eating mindlessly.

Any questions?

Feel free to drop me an email at


Photo by Humphrey Muleba for Unsplash

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *