The majority of dieters are not just waving off loved ones at the airport as 73 per cent ditch the diet and put on weight whilst on holiday, according to new research by XLS-Medical Fat Binder.
More than over a third gain at least seven pounds and a shocking 12 per cent pile on a stone or more, the results also suggest where you choose to holiday affects the amount of weight you gain. Not surprisingly, the US topped the chart for ‘fattest holiday destination’, with almost a third gaining weight state side, however the current staycation trend brought the UK into second place.
Although difficult financial times mean Brits may be watching the pennies and staying in the UK, few appear to be watching their waistlines. Even when holidaying at home it would seem that UK dieters are giving into temptation and indulging in ‘binge holidays’. It’s is not just the obvious culprits causing holiday weight gain as mainland Europe and the Mediterranean were also cited as popular locations where diets were thrown out the window.
Leading UK dietitian Helen Bond and Consultant Dietitian to the ‘123 hello me’ programme, comments: “Holidays are often thought of as an unhealthy, indulgent time when weeks of pre-holiday hard work goes out the window. In fact, just a few small changes mean you can still enjoy your holiday without feeling you’re on a strict diet or missing out. Simple things such as sharing dessert if the temptation is too much and meal planning if you’re self-catering, all help keep the holiday pounds from creeping up. Take fresh fruit to the beach or poolside, so you’re less enticed by unhealthy snacks and if you’re not able to follow your usual exercise pattern on holiday, try fitting something new into your daily routine – hire a bike, swim in the sea if it’s hot or go for a leisurely jog along the beach, taking in the sights as you go.”
Those who are looking to keep the pounds at bay whilst abroad may want to consider more exotic destinations as the research revealed the Caribbean, Asia and Africa caused the least weight gain for holiday makers.
In fact, it is not just your holiday destination which can sabotage the weeks of hard work shaping up for the swimsuit season, but also the type of holiday. Beach holidays caused dieters to gain the most amount of weight, with nearly half piling on the pounds sunning themselves on sandy shores. Whilst holidaying in the sun, the warmer weather was named as a key reason for weight gain with over one fifth saying it was too hot to exercise. City breaks ranked second in the types of trips dieters are most likely to see the weight creep on followed by sightseeing and touring holidays. In light of this new research, when planning your break in the sun dieters may want to be extra mindful if planning a beach holiday in the US as this is the worst combination for holiday weight gain.
Helen Bond’s top holiday diet tips:
Side orders. Don’t be tempted to order extra side dishes such as chips. Choose lots of salad or vegetables to help fill you up and get you on your way to your five-a-day. Go easy on creamy salad dressings or mayo or you could end up with more calories than if you’d had chips. If you fancy a little dressing to liven up your salad, you can always ask for the dressing on the side. One teaspoon of mayonnaise adds around 80 calories and 9 grams of fat!
Drink up. If you still feel hungry after your main course, try drinking a couple of glasses of water. Not only will this hydrate you, help fill you up and reduce the amount of alcohol you are drinking (and help avoid a hangover!), it is well known that we often think we’re hungry when we are actually thirsty.
Be wary of food buffets. Portion control can be difficult for even the most determined healthy eater at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The sheer variety of foods available at buffets is hugely tempting. If you’re out for a buffet meal, rather than trying a little of everything, stick to a few healthy choices. Studies have shown that when we are presented with a wider variety of foods, we tend to eat more without even realising it.
Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter. You never know what’s gone into your food, and even apparently ‘healthy’ looking meals can contain high amounts of fat and calories. As a rule of thumb choose vegetable and tomato based sauces rather than cheesy or creamy ones and opt for dishes that have been grilled, poached, steamed, stir-fried or boiled rather than fried, roasted or battered to cut down on unwanted calories.