If you’ve been working hard to lean out, drop a few kilos and improve on bad habits, then a two-week, all-inclusive holiday at a 5* resort has the potential to be a game-changer.

Multiple amazing restaurants, all-you-can-eat buffets, ice cream bars, cocktail bars, 24hr room service, pool service.

Yes, it’s amazing. But if saying “no” has been a big part of your past issues, you’re effectively placing a drug addict in the equivalent of a crack den, and wondering why it all goes wrong.

The solution isn’t “don’t go on holiday”. It’s not “go somewhere crap, with awful food” – and it’s not total abstinence.

The solution, as with many solutions that actually work, isn’t terribly exciting. It involves a bit of planning, a bit of understanding your own triggers/behaviour issues, a pinch of willpower, and common sense.

***Aim to get a little leaner than you wanted***

If you’ve dieted well, and planned properly, try and make the last couple of weeks before you go really count. If you can, safely and sensibly, manage to drop a kilo more than you intended before you go, you’re creating more wiggle room while you’re away. After all – what would you rather have? More food and beer on holiday, or that Deliveroo the weekend before you go?

***Don’t start your holiday at the airport***

We’re on holiday! Hit the bar and have a huge fry-up at ‘Spoons!

Again, what’s the point? The first drink of the holiday on a sun-drenched terrace by the pool – or whilst trying to block out a stag-do pissed at 8am in the morning, in a bar you wouldn’t dream of frequenting if you weren’t in an airport?

***Pick one meal a day to go bananas on***

You’re going to eat three meals a day – and then some snacks.

You don’t need to force it down like a competitive eater at every mealtime. Breakfast person? Go all-out at that. Not fussed about breakfast, but enjoy a three-course meal of an evening? Save your “I’ll have whatever I want” mentality for the one meal that actually matters to you.

Lunch, on holiday, is often a bit lighter – heat kills an appetite a bit, and you’re often doing fun stuff like sleeping or playing in a pool, so it’s a really easy one to skip or moderate your intake.

***Try new foods***

Most decent resorts have a huge range of fruits and vegetables that you simply wouldn’t find – or know how to prepare – at home. Take advantage of the chance to try and extend your palate rather than filling the plate with the typical pasta, rice, chips etc.

***Pick a cut-off point to start drinking at!***

If you do intend drinking during the day on holiday (and hey, that’s partly what holidays are for!), then try and set a time limit for it. The first beer of the day always tastes better for a little bit of a wait.

If you’re swigging Bailey’s cocktails at 10am, you’re knocking back hundreds of calories an hour before you even think about food.

***About those cocktails…***

Cocktails are basically sugar suspended in liquid. They’re calorie bombs. Anywhere you see “gomme” on a description? It’s just a smart word for “sugar”. Add in all the fruit sugars, and even fairly innocent looking cocktails can be 400-500kcals a pop. See where the calories can add up?

Think about sticking to wine, spirits on the rocks or with low-cal mixers, or very basic Martini-style cocktails. The more ingredients, the more creamy the texture, the higher the damage!

***Be active!***

OK, you’re on holiday. You don’t want to be running a marathon. But walking is a MASSIVELY underrated weight-management tool. You’re in a new area – explore it! Get your steps in, take part in the activities, actually swim in the pool rather than just bob up and down in it. Chances are, you could be more active than you are at home with very little actual effort.

If you’re away for a week or more, and you intend hitting the gym when you get back, try to use the gym at your hotel at least a couple of times in the week before you come back. It’s not about the gains you’ll make, or the kcals you’ll burn, it’s about preventing feeling like you’ve been beaten by a metal pole after your first, proper, session back.

***Accept a gain!***

Regardless of everything above – it’s a holiday! It’s supposed to be a time to chill out, relax from life and have some fun. Eat more. Eat drink more. Sleep more.

All we’re getting at is minimising the damage, and making sure that you don’t return home having put a stone or more on, that will take you a couple of months to lose.

Accept that it’s OK to put a few pounds on, but also that nothing’s more demoralising than seeing months or hard work destroyed in two weeks.

Being slightly mindful of all this ^^^^ stuff should mean you come home with only a couple of kilos of extra padding, and within a week or two you’re back on track.

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