Have you, or someone you know, ever been on a rollercoaster diet? That’s the one where, in the weeks before you go on vacation, you starve yourself, sometimes dropping ten or fifteen pounds, so that, while on vacation, you can enjoy guilt free binging. End result? Either no net weight loss at all, or a slight gain (it always seems to be easier to put the pounds on than it is to take them off, right?), and putting your body through an enormous amount of stress. If you’re thinking there’s got to be a better way, you’re absolutely right!
What if you could take a vacation that actually helped you lose weight, rather than gain it? That’s not as crazy or farfetched as you might think. Now granted, it’s going to depend on the kind of vacation you opt to take. Some are just naturally better suited toward healthy weight loss than others. If, for example, you’re planning to take a cruise, then you’re going to find yourself on a ship with lots of creature comforts and an open buffet on every deck. That’s pretty much setting yourself up for failure, but read on, and I’ll outline some fantastic vacations you can take that are not only fun, but will help you shed inches and pounds!
Shoot the Rapids
If you’ve never gone whitewater rafting, you are missing out! It is probably the most fun you can have sitting down. You might not think so (because, after all, you’re sitting down the whole time), but whitewater rafting is actually spectacularly good exercise. You’ll be hard pressed to get a better upper body workout, and by the time you finish the route, you’ll be sore, soaked, and smiling! The best part is that between focusing on following the instructions of your guide, staying in the raft, and taking in the scenery, you won’t even realize how much of a workout you actually got until you’re heading home for the day. And best of all? If you take a full day trip, you’ll be so tired by the time you get back to your bed that the very last thing you’ll be thinking about is the triple layer chocolate cake on the desert menu in the restaurant downstairs!
Things you Should Take With You
- Sunscreen (you’ll be on open water for most of the day)
- An extra pair of socks in a zip-lock baggie
- An extra pair of shoes, waiting for you at the trip’s end
- Consider taking an herbal supplement for an added boost of energy
Tour de Falls
Pack a camera and some hiking boots, we’ve got some pictures to take! A hiking vacation (with or without waterfalls) is another “sneaky” form of exercise, especially if you arm yourself with a decent digital camera. Taking in the sites as you wander about, snapping pictures of the hidden, heart stopping vistas you discover along the way, what could be better than that? And depending on how scenic the area you’re hiking in actually is, the hours melt away completely unnoticed as you focus on looking for the next spectacular shot to take, and as those hours melt away, they take the pounds with them! Be warned, you will need a good pair of hiking boots (don’t skimp here, your feet will thank you later), but that’s about all you need to have a great time on a vacation like this. Just lose yourself in the majesty of wherever you are, focus on telling a story with the pictures you take, and the exercise part of the equation takes care of itself. Final note: If you’ve never hiked before, stick with the trails marked “easy.” Once you feel confident on those, advance to “moderate.” Stay away from trails marked “hard” at least for your first 3-4 hiking vacations, as there’s quite a jump in difficulty from a “moderate” trail to a difficult one!
Things you Should Take With You
- Hiking boots (see above)
- Extra batteries for your camera (just in case!)
- A good, high quality walking stick
- As above, do consider an herbal supplement of some kind as your energy may be flagging by late day
Night at the Museum
Active vacations don’t have to be in a wilderness setting. You can get just as much (and sometimes, more) exercise in almost any major city, if you know where to look. Museums are a great place to start. Take, for example, the Smithsonian. It is positively enormous! You could spend days armed with a map of the place and your trusty digital camera, and still not see all that there is to see, and that’s only one of literally hundreds of attractions in Washington, DC. The advantage here is, not only is a visit to the Smithsonian great exercise that will see you steadily burning those calories, but it’s also a learning experience.
Things you should Take With You
- Comfortable walking shoes
- A map of the place
- Some notes to self about the areas you’re most interested in (so you don’t miss anything!)
Of course, this barely scratches the surface, but it should get your mind turning on the subject, and I’m sure you can come up with countless others on your own. The point is that vacations don’t have to be all decadence and cheat days. Depending on the kind of vacation you select, they can be creative, educational, and even healthy. Can vacations help you lose weight? The answer is a resounding yes!