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9 tips to stay lean on vacation by Intermittent fasting.

Introduction

If weight gains are the only complaint you have with vacation then this article is just for you. 

gaining weight is one of the biggest side effects of a good vacation and staying lean on a vacation can be a tricky task. Vacations include a lot of binge eating and Alcohol (of course). 

I am someone who gains 5 pounds of extra weight on a week-long vacation, and those 5 pounds may take a month to lose, which is quite unreasonable for me. 

Although I have been a consistent practitioner of intermittent fasting, it can be quite difficult to stay consistent with fasting on vacation, right?

Ahead in this article, we are going to discuss some different types of intermittent fasting plans that can be followed while on vacation and Important tips to save yourself from breaking your fast. 

Is it a good idea to fast on vacation?

Definitely, intermittent fasting is one of the best things to follow on vacations, let’s discuss some of the benefits: 

  •  Counting macronutrients can be quite frustrating on the vacation which makes it a great idea to fast while you are traveling. 
  • Traveling to new countries and places can lead to consuming totally new food items which makes it even harder to track the macronutrients and calories. 
  • When you visit a new place, you want to try out every delicious cuisine that places have to offer which extends the caloric intake. 
  • Vacation involves a lot of alcohol for most of us, that makes it quite necessary to give your body sufficient time for self-healing and toxin elimination. 

So basically, intermittent fasting while on vacation can make it a better experience for body and mind. Intermittent fasting can be of many different types that we are going to discuss in the latter part of this article. 

Note** You should probably stay away from intermittent fasting on vacation if you have never tried it before. A transition period of intermittent fasting can be a harsh experience for many people.

First, let’s discuss, tips to vacation friendly intermittent fasting. 

How to do intermittent fasting on vacation? 

Although cell autophagy is one of the biggest benefits of intermittent fasting but most of us are really worried about the unnecessary weight gains on the vacation. Christmas vacations are about to begin and most of the people are going to be on a month-long vacation period, these important tips will help you stay in shape. 

Plan your activities right:

It’s utterly necessary to plan your daily activities beforehand. Being on vacation and following your fasting routine can be quite tricky. 

Fasting can be most difficult when you are constantly burning calories (hiking, long walks, cycling, swimming, etc) but planning it right can make the process easier. 

If you are a 16:8 intermittent faster then planning relaxing activities can be done while the fasting window. 

Whether it’s about taking a Deep tissue massage or sunbathing or a round trip to the city (by bus, car, scooter, etc), I plan them according to my fasting window.  

Alcohol and parties are left for the night time when I let myself free to eat the most delicious food at that place. 

Cycle it right

Intermittent fasting styles may differ, there are multiple styles of fasting pattern available that can allow you to stay flexible with the fasting and consistent with weight management. 

I cycle my intermittent fasting strategies according to the daily schedule, let me share the most commonly used methods. 

16/8 Fasting

Its the simplest and most common method to fast. 

16:8 fasting includes 16 hours of fasting window and 8 hours of feeding window that is more than enough to feed your body all the required nutrition. 

It’s considered relatably easy because of the short duration. Most of the people spend 8-hours fasting while sleeping and they just need to fast for only 8 hours. 

Eat-Stop-Eat

Eat Stop Eat means having multiple normal eating days in a week.

You fast for a day and take a break on another day, which gives you the flexibility to satisfy your taste buds all day long. 

To stay in shape, remember to stay away from high-calorie foods on the rest day as well.  

Personal strategy- I usually follow OMAD (one meal a day) style fasting and take a break on the next day. I plan the most relaxing events (spa, sunbath, fishing, etc) on my fasting day and follow the active schedule on a normal day. 

Monday One meal a day
TuesdayNormal eating day
Wednesday One meal a day
Thursday Normal eating day
Friday One meal a day
SaturdayNormal eating day
SundayOne meal a day

5:2 Diet

You eat normally for five days a week. For the remaining two days, you restrict your caloric intake to between 500–600 calories daily.

Monday Normal eating day
TuesdayNormal eating day
Wednesday Low Carb Diet
Thursday Low Carb Diet
Friday Normal eating day
SaturdayNormal eating day
SundayNormal eating day

Stay hydrated

Gulping a lot of water while you fast can help you ease the stress of intermittent fasting and It contains no calories. 

Many people get confused between hunger and thirst, Clinical studies have shown that about 37% of people mistake hunger for thirst because thirst signals can be weak. 

My way to quickly fix craving and hunger while I do a full day fast is to drink 500ml of water every time I feel the urge to eat something. Drinking water while you fast has several benefits, let’s discuss a few of them:

  • Empty feeling in your stomach is one of the most common reasons people find fasting difficult. Drinking water can make you feel fuller. 
  • Water helps in regulating the natural PH levels of the body and also helps in better functioning. 
  • Keeps the muscle hydrated and also assist in regulating hormonal levels. 
  • Hydration has major effects on brain functioning and mental clarity.  Various studies have proven the effectiveness of hydration on better cognitive functioning (3, 4, 5, 6). 
  • Water helps in better delivery of oxygen throughout your body which makes you feel more energetic and alert.
  • While your body is in a self-healing mode (autophagy), drinking a lot of water can help you flush out toxins from the body.  
  • Drinking enough water on vacation can reduce the alcohol effects (hangover, nausea) of the previous night (7, 8). 
  • Dehydration may lead to headaches and lower energy levels, proper water intake may help in avoiding headaches (1, 2) due to dehydration. 

Staying hydrated has always been one of the top advice to make fasting a better experience/ 

Drink more coffee or tea

What makes intermittent fasting harder? It is low cognitive functioning, headaches, and inability to concentrate properly. 

Black coffee and tea are one of the very few items that can be consumed while fasting and it can also assist your fasting in many different ways.  

Caffeine assists your fast in 2 different way: 

  • Appetite suppressor: drinking coffee has been proven (9) to suppress appetite by regulating your hunger hormone (ghrelin). Another study has proven a reduction in total calorie consumption (10). 
  • Calorie burning: Your daily coffee is not just helping in consuming a lesser amount of calories but also assisting in burning more of it (11). 

Supplementing your brain with caffeine can be a game-changer for someone looking to lose weight and stay in shape while traveling. Drinking some expresso or green tea extracts can boost up the mental performance and clarity. 

Carrying some instant coffee mixes in your backpack can give you the ability to get that instant burst of energy. 

Sleep sleep sleep

When it about health, sleep is as essential as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet. Good sleep is the most important aspect of a healthy body and mind, we all know that, but sleep also assists in sticking to intermittent fasting as well. 

The purpose of a vacation is to provide relaxation to the mind and body. Sleep can boost up the number of benefits you achieve from fasting while on vacation. Here are some of the reasons to pay more emphasis on sleep quality. 

  • There were several studies conducted in the early 2000s that looked at the effects of sleep deprivation. Sleep was directly correlated with brain function, concentration, and productivity. 
  • Poor sleep can make you fat, there is enough scientific (13, 14) evidence that has proven the ill effects of improper sleep on body composition. 
  • Lack of sleep also makes you hungry (15, 16) which makes the fasting far more difficult. 
  • A good amount of sleep helps in stretching the fasting window, it also helps in relieving stress hormones that can restrict from binge eating. 
  • Initial days of fasting makes us feel a little bit of sluggish and stressed; proper sleep boost up the cognitive capabilities, concentration, productivity, and performance. 
  • Lack of sleep is linked to depression (17), depression can make fasting much more difficult to follow. 

Chew Some Gum

Fasting can be fairly difficult for travelers who like to walk allot. 

But, chewing gum can actually help in intermittent fasting. 

Packing some no-calorie chewing gums may suppress your apatite. 

A study (18) conducted at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, has given the scientific evidence of curbing hunger. It was concluded, chewing gum for at least 45 min significantly suppressed rated hunger, appetite and cravings for snacks and promote fullness.  

Even the contestants on The Biggest Loser use it regularly, and studies have shown that chewing gum can help control cravings, manage hunger, and promote weight loss.

Stay Flexible

The best things come to those who are ready to stay flexible. 

The only purpose of intermittent fasting is to stay lean on vacation, right? You don’t really need to fast at the same time while being on vacation, staying flexible with the fasting schedule can be really really helpful. 

Suppose you are planned 20-hours of fast and 4 hours are devoted to feeding window, then is it really necessary to schedule your eating window fixed? Not really. 

There can be a food festival or beer carnival in the city that you certainly don’t want to miss, it’s okay to reschedule the feeding window.

Additionally, just like being flexible with the timing of the fasting window it’s important to stay flexible with the fasting intensity. Sometimes, while being on vacation my body requires more energy, so I change my fasting pattern from OMAD (One Meal A Day) to 16:8 Intermittent fasting style. 

Listening to the body and adapting to a new situation is the key to success. 

Practice it before

Trying to implement intermittent fasting for the first time in life? Don’t start it on vacation! 

The body takes 1-2 weeks to adapt to a new lifestyle and starting in all on the vacation period can be a bad idea. 

Exogenous ketones

Ketones are primarily produced while following a ketogenic diet, its a food pattern when you restrict the carb intake to its minimum to force the body to utilize stored fats as a primary source of fuel. 

Ketones are the chemical made in the liver. the body produces them when there is a shortage of insulin in your body to turn sugar (or glucose) into energy. These ketone bodies help in breaking down fat to use them for energy. 

Exogenous ketones are synthetically sourced from outside to supplement your body for accelerated fat loss.

Believe ketosis happens through a ketogenic diet only? Wong! 

Some clinical studies have proven, fasting and strenuous exercises can also put your body naturally on a mild state of ketosis (22, 23). 

Supplementing with Exogenous ketones won’t only help in accelerated fat-burning but also gives you better mental clarity and energy. 

The best thing is, ketone supplements won’t break your fast. 

Takeaway

Intermittent fasting has been followed by millions of people worldwide and hundreds of clinical studies have proven its effectiveness in promoting weight loss, longevity, detoxification, stronger immune system and improved brain functioning.