Your vacation is right around the corner, and it couldn't come sooner. Sun, freedom from work, and an umbrella drink (or two) are just what you need. "Vacation is a time to unwind, relax, and practice self-care," says Marissa Vicario, an Institute for Integrative Nutrition certified health coach and author of Your Holistically Hot Transformation.
In fact, vacation can be good for weight loss. In a study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, those who lost 10 pounds in 6 months had two things in common: They slept 6 to 8 hours a night and they learned to reduce their stress. And when you're away from home, relaxation is priority Number 1. Plus, you usually end up moving more on vacation (walking on the beach counts), which can help you burn off 136 calories an hour—more if you're walking on the sand.
So then why do so many of us end up worrying about coming home 10 pounds heavier? To be fair, it's easy to overdo it. We drink twice as much on vacation, according to a recent study in Physiology & Behavior, and those extra calories can add up (but only to 0.7 pounds, that same study reported).
If this has you concerned, stressing out may only make it worse, Vicario says. "High cortisol levels resulting from stress are one of the top reasons women have a hard time losing weight. So whether you're stressing about work or worried about gaining weight, you're doing your body a disservice and counteracting the positive effects a vacation can have."
Instead, simply don't go overboard (dessert every night? You know better) and follow these outside-of-the-box tips to come home chill, happy, and worry-free about your weight.