Lose Weight on Vacation!?!

Yes, it's true. I took a 5-week vacation and I lost weight! Four pounds, to be exact.

Before I left, I had hit a plateau. After losing about 10 pounds, the scale refused to budge. I was doing all the same stuff--intermittent fasting, low(ish) carbs, mostly whole foods, close to zero added sugars. And I decided I was done losing weight.

Then I went to Florida. It was Christmas, so there were multiple parties and fancy dinners. We went out to eat. I drank wine every evening, which was not the norm for me. I ate party food, and desserts, not even caring about the grams of added sugar!

And I lost weight.

How could this happen?

When I tried to analyze all the possible reasons, I came up with a few likely causes of my vacation weight loss. Of course, I'm only guessing! But here are my best guesses:

1) Rest and relaxation. I went to bed fairly early most nights and got up fairly late. Most days, I was in bed by 9pm and didn't rise before 7:30am. This is definitely more sleep than I usually get at home. In addition, I spent time relaxing by the pool almost every afternoon. Extra R&R lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol--a stress hormone-- can cause weight gain, especially around the waist.

2) More sunshine. During my vacation, I spent multiple hours each day outside, soaking up the sun. The sun has many positive benefits for our bodies, including stimulating the production of Vitamin D. Sunshine also boosts mood and metabolism. Maybe I burned more calories just by relaxing in the sun.

3) Easy exercise. Instead of teaching all my classes, I took long walks on the beach. Although I did practice Zumba a few times, this was sporadic. For the most part, my exercise regime was slow and gentle. I gave my body plenty of time to recover. While it seems like this should cause weight gain, in fact, doing less exercise might result in weight loss, especially if your body is overly stressed, injured, or over-trained. Sometimes LESS is MORE.

4) Less stringent dieting. At home, I am a stickler for eating whole foods and no junk. While on vacation, we went out to eat. I had desserts that were not homemade! I ate cookies from Walmart! I basically relaxed my standards. Although I'm sure that sugar and junkfood do not cause weightloss, it's very possible that focusing less on being perfect might help.

5) More wine. I drank wine almost every evening with dinner. Just one small glass. Now, I'm not suggesting that increased alcohol consumption is the way to lose weight. However, I think this goes hand-in-hand with all my other observations. It's about relaxing. Enjoying a meal. Not worrying about every calorie, every gram of carbs, every drop of fat. Maybe a little wine is the way to go?

As far as a weight loss program goes, my above "suggestions" might not work for most people. If you already drink on a daily basis, adding more wine with dinner is probably not going to jumpstart your weight loss. But if you are like me, and you've been overdoing the exercise, calorie restriction, and stress, then loosening up a little could lead to a healthier and happier you. And you might even drop a pound or two.