Do you keep it up on holidays?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  CaineIsCarter 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • Been on 5:2 for a month, very pleased with progress: 5lbs lost, and also my body composition seems to have improved. It does appear that I’m losing fat, not muscle.

    I have a week in Spain coming up, which would ordinarily involve drinking and eating without restraint. I don’t mean getting hammered every day, but it’s a holiday after all.

    This time though, I don’t want to undo my progress or fall off the program. Can I ask what you do when you’re on holiday? Do you stick to 5:2 or make other arrangements?


    WE stick to the 5:2 while on holiday. Since we prefer self-catering accommodations, it is easy for us to eat at home on Fast Days and have the sort of foods we might usually have but with a local flavor. As for dining out, ordering the fish [especially grilled] is a good strategy. Usually I order a sparkling wine [Cava would be great] and an appetizer, then another appetizer for my ‘main course’, often with another glass of wine. I dine out like that no matter what day it is. I have done several blog posts about traveling while Fasting: when on a package tour and when self-catering. It works for us.

    Congratulations on starting 5:2 and your loss so far, CIC. You will probably receive a range of responses from those who just say “it’s a holiday after all and I’ll deal with it when I get home” to people like me who try to embrace this WOL regardless of what else is happening in my life. So, I’ll just outline how I handle it, keeping in mind that I’ve been in maintenance for over three years now (lost 25kgs, now 60kgs).

    If I were in weight loss mode, I would be happy just to maintain the loss to date while away. I’d not be keen on returning home to face a weight gain – it’s depressing enough as it to come home after a holiday! And, if we’re doing 5:2, it’s a way of life, isn’t it? So we need to learn how to incorporate it into everything we do.

    On the other hand, you’re only going for a week. Maybe you can modify your normal holiday eating behaviour and get away with doing just that. But I’d still set some rules for yourself before you go.

    I don’t leave home without my mini travel scales and I let them be my guide. (They weigh 700gms so they’re worth their weight in gold).

    Sampling food in foreign lands is part of the fun so I sample everything on offer but I don’t get carried away. For example, in Portugal I wanted to try a pastel de nata. But just one, not one every day! I don’t eat anything I could have at home and I don’t eat the carbs that I avoid at home – bread, rice, pasta, etc. I personally don’t drink alcohol – empty calories and I don’t feel it’s required to enjoy a holiday. If you do, then go ahead. It’s a holiday!

    I always use the long-haul travel days as FDs – no-one ever missed out by skipping an airline meal or two! I don’t know how far it is to Spain from where you live but I’m guessing you’re not going for a week if you live in the S. Hemisphere. Nevertheless, you can use all travel days (car, train, etc) as FDs.

    I live in Australia and, due to the distances to travel, we have to make our trips worthwhile so our holidays are usually a minimum of 7 weeks. If it’s a self-catering holiday, I have full control over what’s being bought/cooked and I will do 6:1 for the duration of the trip.

    Our first trip after I’d reached my goal weight was to Spain/Portugal as it happens. I took some of my standard FD recipes with me and immediately sourced those ingredients and happily noted that our accommodation included a stick blender so I knew I was in business. On that holiday though, I started losing weight after a couple of weeks (due to walking up to 15 miles a day in hilly territory) so I abandoned fasting altogether until I got home. On return, I immediately jumped straight back into 5:2 having the required FD ‘meals’ already prepared and waiting in the freezer.

    If it’s not a self-catering holiday, then you may have the temptation of buffet breakfasts to navigate. We’re currently talking about this on the S. Hemispherites’ thread so pop over and join us – second ‘most popular’ from the list above. We also talked about travelling and some ideas are to avoid breakfast altogether; employ a 16:8 eating regime; share restaurant meals with your travelling companion – you get to try more and eat less; avoid extras like dinner rolls, rice (may be difficult in Spain!).

    The following were from poster, Merry, I know she won’t mind my sharing them here:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~start Merry’s post ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    More 5:2 travel tips:
    Drinks –
    *tea instead of coffee made on milk
    *sparkling water has no calories but makes a more festive drink than plain water
    *alternate other drinks with water if you drink alcohol, juice, soft drinks, and you’ll end up halving your drinks calories.
    *have a clear soup instead of a cream soup
    * if pasta have a tomato based sauce instead of a cream based sauce
    Dessert –
    *strawberries, rockmelon (cantaloupe) are about as low as you can go calorie wise.
    *share a dessert if you must have dessert, or have very small portions.
    On a river cruise OH and I were on, the dessert chef always made a new icecream or 2 for every evening, sometimes unusual ones. He served them himself, and was very happy when I asked for tiny portions, no problem for him to have people to eat sensibly but still enjoy his creations. His focus was on flavour not quantity. He served beautifully rounded tiny balls of ice-cream.
    * coffee and dessert in 1 – affogato
    I’ve had to show a couple of venues how to do this – again very small ball of vanilla ice-cream, with a shot of coffee poured over it. If you decide to go for this ask how they serve it. Sometimes they come with a shot of liquer which I don’t want, and the last one I had served a giant serve of 3 large balls of ice cream which ended up shared around several people.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~end Merry’s post~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Have a great trip!


    Would it be possible to add an extra fast day in the weeks either side of your trip?

    IMHO all food and drink that I consume should be about quality not quantity and I am very happy these days with a small amount of something well made and full of flavour.

    I am very interested in food culture and origins so for me an essential part of any trip is trying the local cuisine.

    Like thinatlast I don’t eat things I can easily get at home and avoid carbs I don’t eat at home.

    I don’t usually eat breakfast so I try to stick to it when I’m away (not too difficult as I’m rarely hungry first thing) unless there is a local dish on offer that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to taste later in the day.
    If I do eat breakfast I skip lunch and as my appetite has diminished with my weight loss I find I can no longer eat a 3 course dinner so I tend to order a main course and only have a dessert if it is something new to me. Sometimes I order a starter and a dessert.

    I have a lunchtime beer when on holiday and I like to have wine with my dinner and the occasional cocktail. Before I lost weight I would drink a couple of cocktails and far too many glasses of wine every evening, I now stick to no more than two drinks in the evening and as with my food, I take my time thus ensuring I really enjoy what I’m consuming. I would add that I rarely snack and I try not to do so when on holiday unless it is an opportunity to try a local delicacy.

    Be mindful but don’t let it spoil your holiday.

    Tapas is great for portion control — as long as you limit the variety/number of ones you sample!

    Fasting me, I was going to suggest that but in certain areas of Spain they’re often served free with beer!

    Thanks for your thoughts folks, much appreciated.

    I like the suggestion of adding a fast day either side of my week away – this makes very good sense and will help to offset holiday indulgence.

    I’m going to stick with 5:2 while I’m away, and be mindful of what I’m eating and drinking on my non-fast days. I think this is a good middle ground, because I don’t want to feel totally deprived for the one time of year when I’m supposed to be relaxing. If I can come home having not gained any weight, I think that’ll be an excellent result.

    Great, you have considered some strategies which is half the battle. Have a fun trip, CIC.

    Bon Voyage.

    Hello again folks

    I’m the OP – thought you might like to know how I got on. I arrived home yesterday, and weighed in this morning.

    I was apprehensive. I was staying on a half board basis in a hotel whose standard of food was very high, which meant at breakfast and dinner you could basically serve yourself until you exploded, if that’s what you wanted (and there were more than a few guests who appeared to be trying).

    I ate with a degree of restraint, but there’s no question that I significantly exceeded my TDEE on a daily basis, and I drank plenty of beer and whisky. I ate desserts, pastries, crisps, basically all the stuff I normally avoid. I was not active throughout the week, but had a couple of hour long walks.

    I had two fast days on which I ate and drank nothing except black coffee until the evening, when I ate something between 800-1000 cals. I didn’t drink alcohol on these days.

    I gained one pound.

    To me, this is fantastic and illustrates the power of 5:2. I never felt deprived at any time, and enjoyed a whole week of conspicuous consumption. I’m now home ready to carry on. What a result.

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