Personal Training River North

"30 Worst Vacation Habits for Your Waistline" Review

It's amazing how easy it is to gain weight or inches on your waistline while on vacation. While I don't think you should live perfectly on vacation, you should consider this list if you want to maintain your results (and not become another stat). I've chosen 22 of the worst habits commonly faced by my personal training clients from the article "30 Worst Vacation Habits for Your Waistline".


While complimentary WiFi and a flat-screen TV are nice, we're talking about the amenities that will help you maintain your body goals. Picking a hotel that has a fridge in your room will make it easier for you to stock up on healthy snacks like veggies, hummus, and fruit. No fridge? You can still load up on other options like apples, bananas, and nuts. Just as important as getting a room with a kitchen (and a view) is choosing a hotel that has a gym. While running outside or doing an ab routine in your hotel room will suffice, it's easier to stick to your daily routine with a gym—plus, having one won't give you another excuse to not work out.


Certain kinds of vacations—like road trips—make it harder than others to maintain a healthy diet or workout routine. While a road trip is a great opportunity to tour the country, the essence of the vacation is sitting stationary in a car all day. Besides lacking time for exercise, sitting in a car all day is a little boring, and when you're bored, you lose your ability to make smart food choices. According to a study in the Journal of Health Psychology, you become an " emotional eater " who can not only make the wrong food choices, but you can also eat more of those fattening foods than you normally would.


Whether you're on a cruise or staying at an all-inclusive resort, these packages typically include all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink options, which give you unlimited access to some unhealthy choices. The biggest mistakes people make at all-inclusive resorts are eating more often, eating multiple helpings, and eating dessert at every meal, because hey, it's free! If you want to make sure you can still fit into your skinny jeans by the end of the week, stick to three main meals a day, and incorporate a couple healthy snacks in-between meals—and no, a strawberry daiquiri doesn't count.


We've all been there: you've been up all night packing for your trip, and the thought of packing food for your 7 a.m. flight doesn't even cross your mind. When this happens, you're stuck eating airport and airplane food all day. Unfortunately for you, the average airline meal has 1,054 calories, and some snack boxes pack a higher caloric punch. It gets worse: Because the change in pressure at altitude numbs one-third of your tastebuds, and food has to be prepared 10 hours before it's eaten, those dishes are most likely packed with flavor enhancers and sodium-laden, belly-widening preservatives.


Surrounding yourself with good people isn't just beneficial for your sanity, it can also help keep you healthy on vacations! Your friends are so influential in your life that, according to research from the New England Journal of Medicine, when a friend becomes obese, it ups your chance of obesity by up to 57 percent. If your travel buddies are planning on just sunbathing at the beach all day, you're most likely going to do the same. Travel with friends who share your flat-belly lifestyle habits, whether it be going to the gym or staying in one night to cook a meal, or choosing exciting activities.


You bring your reusable water bottle with you everywhere, but you don't bring it on vacation? Drinking water is what many of us forget to do—even when we're surrounded by oceans and pools! Whether you spend the day touring, hiking, or lounging by the pool, if you're in the sun or being active, your body is steadily becoming dehydrated. That's because your body has to work hard to stay cool and because you're losing fluids and salts through sweating. When you're dehydrated, you're more likely to confuse thirst as hunger, leading you to overeat.


Yes, sunburn can lead to potentially lethal melanoma, but it also has an adverse effect on your waistline. When you turn into a lobster on your first day of vacation, you're likely to be out of commission for a few days. What happens when you can't expose yourself to the sun? You guessed it—you sit around in the cool air conditioning or under an umbrella. And good luck getting those tight-fitting spandex on over that burn. Wave good-bye to working out!


You found room to fit in seven different options for that one night you were planning to go out (along with shoes and the proper jewelry), but couldn't squeeze in shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers? If you don't vacation with the tools to work out, you're most likely not going to work out. To add to the damage being done: According to experts, you may not lose all of your strength and endurance after a week off, but taking a break will cut down 50 percent of the improvements you made in the weeks prior.


Your job is already making you fat, you don't need to bring it on vacation with you. To keep up or get ahead, many people feel the need to continue to work on days off. In fact, a survey conducted for a car rental company indicated that 35 percent of millennials reported that they worked every day of their vacations, and other studies have shown that six out of 10 employees admitted to conducting some work on a recent vacation. Not only does this prevent you from being able to relax fully and destress—which means your cortisol levels will continue to trigger hunger and fat storage—but it's a huge time suck, leaving you less time to be with your family and enjoy your free time and planned activities.


Whether it be endless buffets or trying a bunch of new, foreign dishes, vacations often revolve around food. It's certainly tempting to try everything and never reject the food that is offered to you. But just because it's in front of your face (or free), doesn't mean you have to try everything. It might be a little taste here and there, but those calories can add up over the course of the day. It's fine to give into indulgences—in fact, it can help you lose weight —but you have to choose them wisely and plan accordingly.


A frozen margarita, pina colada, or strawberry daiquiri can add hundreds of calories and over 50 grams of sugar (the daily limit, according to the FDA) to your daily diet. Bad for your health, and your waistline. Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN explains, "When simple sugar is consumed in excess, the sugar molecules combine with proteins in the body and form compounds that can damage the skin's collagen. This, in turn, has an aging effect." Drinks on the rocks are typically lower in calories than frozen blends, or you can go for a glass of wine, like celebrity personal trainer and author of Eat This, Not That! for Abs Mark Langowski.


Bottomless mimosas at breakfast, pina coladas by the pool, sangria at sunset, and martinis at midnight. A big part of vacations is kicking back and enjoying a few libations—you deserve it. But you don't want to be boozing from start-to-finish at every meal. Not only are you consuming empty calories, but the alcohol will dehydrate your body, leading to fatigue and mistaking thirst for hunger. The best way to tackle vacation is by making a plan for when you're going to drink alcoholic beverages and how many you will consume, and be sure to continue to drink water between alcoholic beverages.


One of the biggest reasons we choose to avoid working out on vacation? No time. Trying to squeeze in gym time when you have a packed vacation schedule can seem impossible. Plus, if you want to work out in the middle of the day, you either feel like you're interrupting other people's schedules or you feel left out if they're doing a fun activity. Make time to work out in the morning. Not only are morning exercisers most likely to stick with their fitness routine on the road, but this is also a way not to disrupt your travel buddies' schedules. Taking a walk before breakfast is an easy way to make time while on vacation.


Travel is already taxing on the body, but losing sleep is even more so. Typically, one of three things happens when you stay up late: You will either lose sleep if you try to maintain your sleep schedule, you end up sleeping in and missing your workout window, or you wind up so fatigued during the day that you won't have the energy to work out. Even worse, the later you stay up, the greater chance there is of you making poor decisions when it comes to ordering another drink or getting the late night munchies. Getting an adequate amount of sleep—around 7-8 hours a night—will help you feel rested, energized, and it can help keep your immune system strong so you can stay healthy on your trip.


Yes, your vacation may give you time to catch up on sleep, but sleeping in every day of your trip is one of the worst vacation habits for your waistline. According to a recent study, sleeping those extra hours can make it difficult to get rid of belly fat: people who woke up around 10:45 a.m. consumed 248 more calories a day, half as many fruits and vegetables and twice the amount fast food than those who set their alarm earlier. Besides gaining belly flab , you're also more likely to miss a workout if you sleep in.


Sure those carb-heavy, hotel continental breakfasts are certainly not very appealing—or healthy—but that doesn't mean you should skip breakfast entirely. After examining twenty years of data on dieters who lost more than 30 pounds and kept it off for more than a year, we found that more than two-thirds of dieters ate breakfast every day. There's no excuse not to get in a well-rounded breakfast on vacation.


Vacationing is a time to treat yourself. You worked hard for this time off, and you deserve to enjoy it! We all enjoy not having to cook for ourselves every night, but getting treated like that can lead to overindulging. One way to stave off the extra pounds is to eat smaller portions by sharing your restaurant meals with your family or friends. This way you still can experience all the flavors, but another fork in the mix will help keep fewer calories from being shoveled into your mouth.


Even though vacation is a time to relax, that doesn't mean your typical daily schedule should fly out the window. Researchers at Brown University have already shown that an erratic sleep schedule can sabotage a healthy diet and workout regimen enough to promote weight gain. Try to maintain as much of your normal nutrition and exercise routine as you can—if you always start your day with a fiber/protein punch and cardio, continue to do that. With all the unknowns in travel, it's understandable that things might come up one day, and that's ok. As long as you maintain your commitment to prioritizing healthy foods and exercise, it doesn't matter so much how you do it as it does that you continue to do it.


Most people spend a decent amount of time and effort researching and planning their trip, but many drop the ball on where they plan on going out to dinner. When you pick a restaurant just based on a flyer or ease of accessibility, you might be left sitting down to a fried chicken dinner. Not only should you research restaurants and make an eating-out plan ahead of time, but also take a look at the restaurants' menus online so you can see if they have options that fit into your diet.


Nothing beats sitting down to a sunset dinner and seeing the tabletop candles slowly dwindle down to a wick in their glass jars as the conversation continues to flow through the night. Vacations are a great time to reconnect with a spouse, family, and friends, but make this a priority in places besides a dinner table. When you linger at a dinner table longer, you're more likely to continue to pick at your food, even after you've had your fill.


So you decided to go on a non-fitness-related vacation. Fine by us! But just because you aren't on a mountain biking tour or hitting the slopes doesn't mean your vacation should lack adventure—especially if your hotel doesn't come equipped with a gym. Go sight running, scuba diving, play golf, play basketball, swim, kayak, ride bikes, walk along the beach, go sledding, rock climbing. Planning something for you and your family to do will give everyone a chance to be active, bond over a joint activity, and most will allow you to explore the area—lounging poolside won't.


There's a reason the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts' motto is "Be Prepared." Say you're shopping in town and end up running into a local who tells you about this great landmark a mile down the road. If you threw on a pair of flip flops when you ran out the door, odds are you're not going to take his advice and mosey over there spontaneously. Immediately you've lost the opportunity to get in an extra two-mile walk. And if you do end up going—and get blisters—you could be out of commission for a day or so. If you're leaving the hotel to walk around, make sure you're wearing comfortable shoes.

What other bad habits affect your waistline on vacation?

Picture Credit: - My personal training clients are always looking for ways to enjoy the best of life and to lose weight. Is sharing their dinner plates on vacation the weight loss answer ?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "30 Worst Vacation Habits for Your Waistline" on
"30 Worst Vacation Habits for Your Waistline" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

4 Ways To Beat Your Diet Soda Addiction In One Week

Although drinking diet soda seems like a healthy alternative, it doesn't help my personal training clients in Chicago achieve the weight loss results they desire (and maybe you, too!). Check out this article on the negative effects of diet soda and how to overcome your addiction in one week.


Sure, diet soda isn't the sugar and calorie bomb of regular soda, but it's not exactly harmless either. "Not only is there little evidence that diet drinks help people maintain or lose weight," says nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the forthcoming book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), "but there's some evidence that diet drinks cause similar metabolic problems to sugary drinks."

Indeed, a University of Minnesota study of nearly 10,000 adults found that just one diet soda a day triggered a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, that cluster of symptoms that includes belly fat and high cholesterol and can lead to heart disease. "Anything with a heavy sweet taste, even if it's not technically sugar, may stimulate insulin release," explains Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of the Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction. "When it becomes excessive you start to see a rise in insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease." Part of the reason it becomes excessive is that your taste buds get used to sweetness and then require more and more to feel satisfied.

The artificially sweetened, caramel-colored bubbly has also been shown to cause tooth decay, thinning bones, kidney decline, and greater odds of obesity. In a University of Texas Health Science Center study, sipping two or more cans a day expanded waistlines by 500%. (Looking to cut excess sugar out of your life as well? Try the 21-day step-down plan in Sugar Smart Express.)

To curb your cola consumption, you could try weaning yourself slowly—cut out one can a day for two weeks; then mix the remaining one with water (uh, ew, but people are apparently doing it); then go down to half a can… but Teitelbaum believes there's a better way. "The issue is that it's an addiction—there's something driving the craving," he says. "If you don't address what's driving the craving, it won't go away."

Here's how you might be using diet soda to achieve various goals—and the healthier way to meet those needs. "Whatever way you choose to do it, have a plan," advises Londa Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "Have other drinks on hand to replace your soda with."

1. Your diet soda motivation: You need energy.

If you pop a can of diet soda when you're looking for a pick-me-up, it could be the caffeine you're after.

Your diet soda detox: Try coffee or tea, which are chock-full of antioxidants for a good measure of disease protection. It's okay to lightly sweeten them—as long as you choose Stevia, a naturally sweet plant extract, or a teaspoon of honey, and not three packets of table sugar or the artifical stuff. Sandon recommends fruit-flavored iced tea such as cold brew peach or berry by Celestial Seasonings, because the fruit provides a natural sweetness.

It's also a good idea to get more sleep so you're not chronically exhausted and dependent on caffeine to get through the day.

2. Your diet soda motivation: Your blood sugar is low.

If you get irritable, shaky, or lightheaded and feel overwhelmed by everyday stressors, it could be that your adrenal glands need support. "Their job is to make more sugar during periods of stress," Teitelbaum explains. "When they get exhausted from being chronically activated, your blood sugar will drop and you won't have the hormones to manage it."

Your diet soda detox: Teitelbaum advises dispensing with as many day-to-day stressors as you can, like, do you really need to watch TV news at breakfast and start your day with terrorism and tornadoes? In the meantime, avoid blood-sugar dips by not skipping meals (aim for three meals and two snacks daily); spread your protein throughout the day (add grilled chicken or chickpeas to that pasta salad); and keep a supply of nourishing snacks (like a ⅓ cup of nuts and raisins) on hand for a blood sugar reboot. Nuts are a healthy fat that slow the absorption of sugar, and raisins have natural sugars that will bring you back into balance.

You can also rehab your adrenal glands with supplements of vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin B5 (50-100mg) and licorice tea, Teitelbaum says.

3. Your diet soda motivation: You're (unconsciously) feeding yeast in your body.

If you have chronic nasal congestion, sinusitis, spastic colon, or irritable bowel syndrome, you could be heeding sugar cravings caused by yeast or candida overgrowth in your intestinal tract.

Your diet soda detox: "A good probiotic and getting off sugar will kill the yeasty beasties," Teitelbaum says. In the meantime, find a diet soda alternative that doesn't feel like punishment.

Teitelbaum likes to trick out tea with Stevia, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sandon recommends fruit-infused water or seltzer. "Lemon-flavored seltzer with a splash of cranberry juice is my favorite," she says. (Give these 25 simply delicious water recipes a try.)

4. Your diet soda motivation: Your hormones are in flux.

If you're PMSing or heading into peri-menopause, hormonal fluctuations can cause insomnia, headaches, fatigue, or mild depression, all of which can trigger sugar cravings.

Your diet soda detox: Explore ways to kick up your estrogen, which increases the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Teitelbaum recommends taking a page from Japanese women and grabbing a handful of edamame or drinking soy milk, because soy has plant compounds called isoflavones that mimic estrogen in the body. If that doesn't cut it, go for nature's treats—an orange, a banana, a handful of berries, or two squares of dark chocolate.

It may take 7 to 10 days to stop craving diet soda, Teitelbaum says, depending on how well you're addressing the root cause. And if you still indulge occasionally, that's okay, too. "The bottom line is really to drink sodas of any kind in moderation," Sandon says. "By this I mean not every meal or every day. Save them for special occasions." Picture Credit:

Article Credit:
Author: Prevention Magazine
4 Ways To Beat Your Diet Soda Addiction In One Week
The effect of diet soda on weight loss and how to change this habit.