Arriving off the plane, maybe you’d get to your resort, drop your bags and look forward to the second you can sit by the pool and drink something tall, slushy and fruity…oh and don’t forget the alcohol in that bad boy, right? Head on over to the buffet, order that chunk of cake, eat the bowls of pasta and hell ya, I’ll have another glass of vino for dinner. I mean you’re on vacation, so live it up, right? Problem is by the time you get back, your pants are tighter, you may even be constipated and you’re thinking, wow, I really need a vacation from my vacation.
So after spending about two weeks on the gorgeous island of São Miguel, Azores, I thought I’d give you the goods on how to lose weight on vacation.
And no, this has nothing to do with deprivation. Because baby that just isn’t how I roll…
Let me preface this post by letting you know a little bit about São Miguel, just one of the nine islands in the Azores which are a part of Portugal and known as the "Hawaii of the Atlantic".
Their Azorean government who is at the ripe old age of 39 is spending a boatload on increasing tourism. So no wonder tickets from Toronto are just under $600 with Sata Airlines (or under $400 if you’re not checking luggage). This very green island boasts mountains, waterfalls, beautiful beaches and incredibly friendly people. So during my vacation, I figured out the formula to staying and feeling sexy from the inside out during my time there:
Book through Airbnb.com
After discovering this gem for travel I will never book an all-inclusive vacation ever again. Call me a control freak, but I want to control what I’m eating versus be at the mercy of a compounded resort, plus I want to experience the culture first hand. By booking through Airbnb.com I’m able to rent a gorgeous apartment for less than a hotel that has more space and a little kitchenette where I can make some of my own meals. We rented a beautifully designed apartment in Ponta Delgada and a treehouse in Furnas. Simply put, we were in love.
This becomes easier on the wallet and on the waistline. In our tree house cottage in Furnas, São Miguel, we made a spicy garlicy-tomato chicken stew, a lemony chickpea salad with black olives,tomatoes and red peppers and couvé (a traditional collard green sauté with garlic and lemon).
It was not only delicious but we had left overs. Now this isn’t to say I never ate out, or didn’t indulge in natas (custard tarts), because I did, but rather I felt that I could balance out my meals to that I didn’t feel guilty for any of my choices.
Incorporate some adventure
Listen I'm no Tarzan, but I feel a good vacation (for me at least) will incorporate three things: adventure, relaxation and some good ol’ partying. If you book an all-inclusive vacation and do nothing but sit in a pool bar, then you will come back with extra pounds. This isn’t to say I didn’t drink on my vacation (I mean hot damn, have you had Portuguese wine??), but I also decided to book in some adventure. I went canyoning and jumped off of 40-50ft cliffs, hiked 21km with an elevation of almost 2,000ft and went bike riding.
I did all of this with Azores Adventure Islands, which is a small but very experienced company that deals with small groups from adults to even family. I can’t even begin to tell you how highly I recommend owners Dionisio and Rui. They were incredibly knowledgeable, patient and supportive. I know my activities sound intense and trust me it was, but you can work with the owners to create the adventure that’s right for you. I pushed and scared the shit out of myself but left sore the next day but a major sense of accomplishment. Hmmm…natas with coffee? Ya damn straight I’ll have one!
I realize this always sounds so basic when I say this, but please drink a ton of water while on vacation – and not from the tap (you have no idea what critters might be in there). If you booze it up and catch to much sun, your body will be dying of thirst and you’ll run the risk of not only getting sick, and yes, gaining weight. Especially when on the plane, you need to hydrate. It is one of the main cornerstones of beauty.
Ever feel constipated while on vacation? In many cases I’ve seen patients grapple with digestive issues when they get back. And let’s face it feeling constipated and bloated will make us feel like we’re carrying extra weight. So my go-to is Triphala, a blend of three herbs that are not habit-forming. Instead it helps to nourish and tonify the bowels. Begin with three capsules before bedtime and if that doesn’t move things, increase it to another three capsules upon waking. As I came back from vacation, my clothes felt exactly the same.
So if you’re coming back feeling worse then when you left, then something about your vacation needs to be reanalyzed and rebalanced. Challenge and shift the way you see your vacations and trust me when I say it will pay off in more ways than one.