Not Gaining Weight On Vacation

I just got back from my first European adventure and I didn’t come home with an extra 5lbs! Despite drinking wine, enjoying scoops of gelato and freely eating all the bread and cheese I desired. I was never stuffed and didn’t overeat, but there wasn’t a food opportunity I said no to. In fact, I might have just lost weight, however I do not know the exact number details because I have not been consistently using the scale as a tool to measure progress. I do know exactly what I did that led me to not gaining extra weight so I’ll share in hopes you too may be able to enjoy wherever adventures lead you without weight gain.

To bring you up to speed on my current metabolism and physique so you can first understand why and how weight loss while on vacation is possible, let’s briefly review. I’m a bodybuilder. I’ve been strength training for over 10 years (this means I have muscle mass which helps my metabolism). I compete in natural organizations in the figure division and dieted for 9 months from Feb – Nov 2017 competing in 4 shows. Dieting slowly preserves muscle mass which was my goal and in November my reverse diet started. In past experiences, it takes me as many months as I was dieting to feel normal again post show (so 9 months post show approx.). That would put me at August 2018 which seemed about right. I started to feel like myself again hormonally and my relationship with food around then. I did not put 20lbs on immediately, but slowly over a few months after my show. Our trip was in October 2018 and I will admit, I was maintaining a physique that was a tad heavier than I like. I was not tracking macros closely although I’d have to guess my protein was maybe around 100g, carbs around 150+ and fats blowing out of the water around 70g. I was strength training at 5-6 days a week with 1-2 low intensity steady cardio sessions of 20 mins or so. That was pre-trip.

We leave for our trip and I survive the 8 hour flight (motion sickness is real ya’ll), but I mentally prepared for an overnight flight in economy and was a rock star. I love coffee, but in Europe it just tasted so good, so 2 espresso coffee’s a day was the norm. Drip coffee or filter coffee is not common across the pond, everyone drinks straight espresso basically, I’m not woman enough to do that. Give me all creamy lattes with whole milk, #noregrets. We did stay in an Airbnb however the kitchen was small and we ate all meals out. Breakfast usually consisted of a coffee and small pastry or breakfast sandwich and protein bar for a snack sometime during the mid-morning. I thought I’d be much better about having a protein shake in the morning, but I was ready for water, coffee and real food when I woke up so there’s that. Lunch and dinner were meals out however I was always able to choose something reasonable from the menu. I drank more (alcohol) on the trip than I usually do which is still very low for most people’s standards and probably came out to 6-7 drinks for the entire trip. I didn’t set foot in a gym once for 7 days, but walked a TON, up to 30k steps in one day. #ouch

Notable London sights included:

The London Eye (not worth the 25€ IMO), Big Ben (although covered with scaffolding), Westminster Tour (very serene), Tower London & Tower Bridge (did not tour, but took plenty of selfies next to and on), Borough Market (foodie paradise), Portobello Market (all the things, all the people), Wimbledon (it was a love-love match), riding the Tube everywhere (public transportation is much easier & cost effective in Europa, except when you lose your Oyster card, cough Cody cough). Shout out to my brother-in-law and soon to be sister-in-law who got engaged on our trip! My husband and I were so happy to celebrate this milestone event, bling-bling.

Next stop, or ride, was the Eurostar train to Paris for two days for 75° and sunny weather, sorry London your weather stinks most of the time. We saw The Louvre (very cool but very confusing to walk around in) and Eiffel tower (did not go up in it) but bought some sweet key chains to remember the Eiffel tower by. We fell in love with the croque madame (hello fried egg with melty ham + cheese) and a side of chips (aka fries for you Americans). Never long enough.

With all that being said, I want to point out the reasons I was able to lose weight because reading all that you definitely might think I ate junk the whole time and there’s no way it could be possible.

  • I was eating more food when I left than during the trip. It’s easy to snack, have a spoonful of peanut butter, chocolate after your meal, etc, when you are home. But when I was traveling I didn’t have these sneaky extra calories and my three meals added up to LESS than what I was eating at home. Sort of shocking, although I knew that was the reality.
  • I wasn’t strength training, but I was doing a lot more cardio in the form of walking. Immediately after eating we were walking. Often when I eat at home, I sit after eating. I’m not a sedentary person, but there are times where my movement is less. Also since I wasn’t strength training it’s likely some of glycogen left my muscle cells and some atrophy happened which is why I felt “leaner.”
  • I didn’t drink as much water while traveling so naturally I ‘lost’ water weight which is what could’ve caused me to feel leaner even though I maybe really wasn’t leaner. I just wasn’t as full from the water.
  • Good sleep, low stress. Overall at home, I sleep pretty well and have pretty low stress, but when I was in an awesome place on holiday, I sure the heck had 0 stress. These two factors definitely contributed to my improved metabolism and overall well feeling.
  • Lastly, caffeine. I drank 1-2 coffees per day and maybe a diet soda or two. I was drinking plenty of caffeine, which is a natural weight loss agent. It helps with keeping your metabolism going and also keeps your bowels regular (too much waste matter in your bowels increases your weight).

Not everyone will be in the same boat I am when it comes to traveling. Often the opposite happens; people indulge and come home with an extra 5-10lbs. Instead if you practice a little mindfulness in your food choices, make sure you drink plenty of water, and move as much as you can, you will set yourself up for a much better place. Lastly, already planning my next Europe travels, where should we go next?

Camden-Market JavaU Eiffel-Tower Croque-Madame

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