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How To Stay Healthy While On Holiday

How To Stay Healthy While On Holiday

It’s an age-old question: “How can I stay healthy on holiday?”

We’ve all been there. We’ve struggled through months of lettuce, kale, hunger pangs, and porridge while trying to get bikini confident, and we aren’t about to ruin all our hard work with an indulgent week filled with holiday food and little-to-no exercise!

Then there are the inevitable expected grumbles of “you’re on holiday,” “enjoy yourself,” “surely a week won’t hurt?”. There is an element of truth to these statements and you can allow yourself to slightly cling on to the edge of the bandwagon without falling off completely and piling back on those pesky pounds. However, it is important for your own mindset, personal motivation, and that waistline you’ve been shrinking to enforce maximum damage control where possible — you don’t want to come home feeling as though you’re back to square one, after all.

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It can be all too easy to throw your hands up and have a blowout when in holiday mode, and who could blame you? With all the advice out there surrounding healthy eating whilst travelling, it really is no surprise that we end up confused or ready to give up. We don’t want to become the bore who turns up laden with freezer bags of pre-made meals in case the diet-imploding McDonalds comes into sight. Sometimes, you just need to take a step back from the diet books and focus on keeping some basic principles in mind to ensure you still enjoy your holiday without straying too far from the track you’re beginning to tread quite well.

1. Destination is crucial

Let’s tackle the first hurdle before we even get there. If you’re thinking of opting for an all-inclusive week’s holiday in Italy, the pizza, pasta, garlic bread, and the array of rich sauces have already gained us an inch before stepping on the plane. Some places will make resisting temptation a lot harder than others. Determine an appropriate location where you know healthier options and meal flexibility will be readily available. Now, this doesn’t mean a stay on an organic health farm, it just means that a bit of forethought and research can help you out massively.

The UK offers endless opportunities for an unforgettable holiday for the health conscious. The beautiful rolling hills of the Lake District provide a maze of enjoyable family walks, hikes, and bike rides. These kinds of active pastimes come hand-in-hand with a trip to this corner of the UK, so it won’t seem strange to suggest such activities – the perfect way to sneak in a bit of low-impact cardio. The more remote a location, the more scope for getting outside without it being such a conscious decision.

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Excursions in regions such as these will also lead to cheaper days out. Think horse riding, boat trips, and canoeing as opposed to bowling, shopping, cinema trips, and theme parks! The pretty panoramic views are also a good excuse for taking the longer scenic route when out exploring!

2. Type of accommodation

The key here is self-catering. We all like the added luxury of being cooked for, pampered, and generally avoiding all the mundane chores we associate with home life. However, this is a haven for calorie-dense foods sneaking in. Home-cooked food, bought by yourself and prepared by yourself, is the best option when it comes to knowing exactly what you are putting into your mouth.

A large cottage or a caravan with a spacious family kitchen will allow you to create delicious hearty meals for everyone to sit around and tuck into without the need for eating out, purchasing convenience food, or ordering in takeaways — all the foods we are trying to avoid.

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3. Food preparation

You are probably sick of hearing the infamous manta “preparation is key,” but although I hate to admit it, it really is key. Now, this definitely does not mean cracking open your carrot sticks and hummus whilst everyone else enjoys scones topped with cream and jam, it just means having healthy snack alternatives and meal options for everyone while you’re out on the go. Instead of picking up a bar of chocolate from the local shop, have an apple or cereal bar from your bag. Instead of treating the family to a burger and chips, pack a picnic spread of wholesome nutritious foods with the occasional treat thrown in — nothing excites a child more than expelling from the norm anyway, and eating outside definitely ticks this box.

4. Visit the farmer’s market

No matter where you are staying, this is consistently my favourite “tourist” spot. It offers a front row seat to take in the local people and culture, while allowing you to sample the best fresh food and local produce the area has to offer. A visit to the farmer’s market is a great opportunity to pick up yummy but healthy snacks for the week.

5. Treat alternatives

This is where the fun begins. There is always room for a sweet treat. Restricting yourself can increase the chances of giving in and binging, so instead of saying no to anything sugary or beige in colour, get creative and add a healthy kick to your favourite treats!

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Cook up a storm in the kitchen and wake everyone up with sweet potato pancakes, whip up a decadent dessert of banana nice cream for after dinner, or pack a box of raw chocolate orange brownies as a pick-me-up during your afternoon hike!

6. Moderation

The last thought I’m going to leave you with is moderation. Yes, you can have snacks. Yes, you can have that caramel hot chocolate with cream in that adorable tearoom. Yes, you can have a few of those chocolate cookies with your cup of tea. Remember, you are on holiday and you can treat yourself. If you have managed to keep the majority of your food intake as healthy as possible throughout the day, the odd treat won’t harm you. It takes an extra 3,500 calories to add a pound of weight after all, so be a bit lenient — and good luck with that post-holiday run!

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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