Why is it that vacations and holidays are among the most difficult times for people trying to manage their weight? According to Brian Wansink of Cornell University, “Distractions of all kinds make us eat, forget how much we eat, and extend how long we eat-even when we are not hungry.” When we are relaxing, our control mechanisms break down, and we give in to the urges.
Another reason vacations are difficult is that we usually have no routine. When we are busy working, we tend to have a schedule which keeps us in control. But during times of leisure activities (weekends and vacations), unscheduled time can often lead to overeating! Also, if you have prepaid for food and drink (ie a cruise), you may feel that you want to get your money’s worth and end up eating and drinking far more than you normally would!
One of the strongest stimuli to overeating is watching someone else eat. Even if you are not hungry, seeing someone chew and enjoy food may cause you to throw caution to the wind! The nice atmosphere in a restaurant can also cause you to relax and lose control. Combine that with some alcohol, and your resolve may disappear.
So, to manage those times, it may be helpful to increase your awareness of what has happened before when you have gone on a trip or vacation. Decide ahead of time how you will handle the situation. For example with Halloween and the candy, decide ahead of time if you will be participating. What will happen to your child’s leftover candy? Can you give out non-food treats this year? Planning ahead will help you avoid the loss of control! Also, look at your vacation plans. Perhaps it would be a good idea to try a physically active vacation, and not one solely dependent on food and restaurants!