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Holidays are a really good test of whether or not you think of your daily nutrition as part of your normal lifestyle or whether it’s just a “diet” – something that you’re just grinding through, a means to an end.

Is what you’re doing a lifestyle or a “diet”?

Do you sit around all day eating crisps and drinking beer? If the answer is no but you do this on holiday then it could be argued that you haven’t really made health and fitness a lifestyle – it’s still a “diet”.

People who have a “lifestyle” approach eat pretty much the same abroad as they do at home. They like eating like that! They go all-inclusive but still eat pretty much the same things. Maybe a little bit more inclined to have a desert and probably drink a bit more alcohol but, in general, they eat the same types of food all the time, whether abroad or at home. When then go all-inclusive they are just getting it cooked for them instead of cooking it themselves.   

I am going all-inclusive again this year but I will be eating very well. The reason I am going all-inclusive is not so I can pig out on pizza and chips, it’s so I don’t have to have the inconvenience of cooking. I’ll still be eating pretty much the same stuff, I’ll just be having someone else cook for me.

The trick is to find a lifestyle approach incorporating nutrition and fitness that works for you every day, regardless of whether or not you are on holiday. One that you enjoy and is no effort to sustain and makes you happy, while being realistic about your goals and how you’ll achieve them (obviously there is a direct connection between how “on it” you are with your nutrition and training and how fast and how good your results will be).

What if I want to chill and eat more junk on holidays?

No problem! As long as you’re OK with the fact that the more you deviate from what will help you reach your goals, the more it will hinder your progress. If you are prepared to sacrifice a couple of weeks that is fine. But what usually happens is that attitude spills over into other areas so it’s a couple of weeks here and a couple of weeks there so you end up making a quarter of the progress over the year that you could’ve actually made.

Is this a problem? Again, no!

As long as you are okay with the fact you are trading off speed for a more relaxed approach. When you see these 12 week transformations you would not believe how much they are training and eating. It is very gruelling!

So, can you undo six months’ hard work in two weeks? Probably not. The hardest part is that if you adopt an all or nothing approach you will put weight on, you may get demotivated, you may get out of the habit! So the biggest danger is that you will find it a lot more difficult to pick it back up when you get back. Two weeks turns into two months and before you know it you’re back where you started.

So, it’s about knowing the pitfalls ahead of time and making sure you get the balance right.

Tips for holiday nutrition

  • If you go all-inclusive then fill up on the good stuff at mealtime and avoid grazing on junk round the pool.
  • Try to continue to log your nutrition. Its good practice and a learning opportunity when you don’t have the labels in front of you.
  • Pick your battles. If you are having three meals a day for 14 days that is 21 meals. You could either have a desert some days with your evening meal or you could have a couple of blowouts. Just be sensible. 21 opportunities to eat well. If you can get it right 17 times out of 21 then you have done well 80% of the time and still have had a few cheeky cheat meals!
  • Be sensible with your alcohol calories. A few calories here and there every day adds up. Choosing lower calorie drinks such as vodka lime and soda can save 3000 calories over a 14 day period (based on 5 halves of lager a day vs 5 vodka, lime and soda).


Single drink
Vodka lime & soda (low cal lime) 70 cals
Gin and slimline tonic 70 cals
Vodka lime & soda 90 cals
Prosecco 90 cals
Gin and tonic 102 cals
Half Stella 114 cals

Night out (5 drinks)
Vodka lime & soda (low cal lime) 350 cals
Gin and slimline tonic 350 cals
Vodka lime & soda 450 cals
Prosecco 450 cals
Gin and tonic 510 cals
Half Stella 570 cals

Final thoughts

If you have honestly made health and fitness a lifestyle then shouldn’t need a holiday from your nutrition or lifestyle. Wherever you are, home or away, you can enjoy the same things. If you do need a holiday from your nutrition then you are just on a “diet”, it is not a lifestyle. Is this a problem? Not really – sometimes in life we just do what we need to do – a means to an end.

You can treat holidays as a break from your normal nutrition if you want, as long as you are honest with yourself and manage your expectations accordingly.