By Nikki Bayley
It's an inevitable fact of life for many of us that when we return home after our holidays, we're packing excess baggage in more than just our suitcase! Two weeks of sun, fun and an endless stream of cocktails, ice creams, heaped portions and treats can really pack on the pounds. But if you follow our easy guide, keeping excess weight off while you're away can be fun, not a chore…
1. All-inclusive does not mean all-you-can-eat!
It's hard to resist the temptation to 'get your money’s worth' when you're on an all-inclusive break, but all those heaped bowls of pasta salads glistening with fat-packed mayo, chips and stodgy rice aren't going to do anything but add weight. Go for portion control and don't fill up on bread! Pick a small plate (studies show that if you choose a big plate, you'll eat more, regardless of how hungry you are) and limit yourself to no more than one trip to the buffet! Go for grilled, BBQ and steamed foods over fried. Pick fresh fruit and veg over processed foods.
2. Set yourself a challenge
One new type of exercise a day. It could be beach volleyball, horse riding, trying a spot of body boarding or even visiting the hotel gym or joining in an aqua-aerobics class. The important thing is to do something which raises your heart rate, so no, crazy golf doesn't count!
3. Just say no... to lifts and escalators
You'd be amazed at what a difference taking the stairs could have and it's not just an easy way to keep your weight down, it could even lengthen your life. According to scientists from the University of Geneva, taking the stairs cuts the risk of premature death by 15%, by lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
4. Invest in a pedometer
According to the experts, for a healthy long life, we're meant to take 10,000 steps a day. Unfortunately, most of us tend to live pretty lazy lives and barely clock up even half of that. Challenge the family every day to see who can take the most steps. You're almost guaranteed to hear no moans if you make the prize a good one!
5. Introduce a new tradition of an after-dinner walk
Not only will it bulk up that daily step count, but it will also help you digest your food better, and boost your metabolism, which should help you burn fat faster. Your metabolism is slow at night and a 15-minute walk after dinner will help give your metabolism a boost.
6. Make a deal
Each hour that you spend lazing by the pool or beach will end with five minutes exercise. That could be cooling off by swimming in the pool, doing crunches or even hula-hooping! You'd be amazed at how it adds up, and that Pina Colada will taste all the better for being guilt-free!
7. Drink more water
It's easy to get dehydrated on holiday, so try to get into the habit of drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day. Some studies have shown that it's easy for your body to confuse the signs of thirst for being hungry, so have a glass of water whenever you're tempted to start snacking. Make sure that every meal begins with a tall glass of water too, a great way to feel less hungry, and also by keeping well-hydrated, your metabolism increases, which burns fat faster.
8. Pedal power!
One of the best ways to see any new place is by bike. Most resorts will have cycle-hire and many hotels offer free bikes to their guests. Have fun planning ahead before you go to find some scenic cycle routes. Nothing beats coasting along the seafront by bike - you'll keep cool, dodge the traffic, have no parking problems and you can indulge without packing on the pounds. If you're cycling on the flat, you'll burn around 40 calories a mile. To put that in context, there's around 120 calories in a small vanilla ice-cream cone, which you can easily burn off in 20 minutes cycling!