Should you go on a holiday crash diet?

by Ali on June 24, 2008

It’s the time of year when many of us are looking forward to a couple of weeks away from the office: sunshine, lazy lie-ins, new activities, a break from the usual routine. Though perhaps you’re feeling more apprehensive than excited – those stubborn extra pounds haven’t shifted, despite your repeated attempts to lose them.

When you only have a few weeks, it can be very tempting to go on a crash diet – to eat as little as possible in the hopes of losing a lot of weight in a short time. But very low calorie (VLC) diets (under 850 calories per day) can have severe effects on your health.

You might think that a few weeks won’t hurt, but cutting down your food intake so drastically can cause some nasty side effects, even in the short term, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Lethargy and extreme tiredness
  • Mood swings
  • Problems sleeping
  • Losing muscle rather than fat
  • Putting on all the weight you lost (and more) as soon as you start eating “normally” again on holiday….

(You can read more about this in my Diet Blog article The Risks of Very Low Calorie Diets.)

Do you want to start your break feeling exhausted and miserable from weeks of starving yourself? Is losing a few extra pounds really worth it?

If you only have a few weeks, I’d suggest eating healthily and sensibly – just like at any other time – though it’s also a good idea to keep treats to a minimum. Have plenty of fruit and veg, stick with wholegrains, drink lots of water, and do some toning exercises to help shape up any flabby bits.

Buy yourself some nice, flattering clothes that fit you at your current size – don’t make the mistake of buying something too small and trying to diet to fit into it.

Above all, enjoy your holiday: resolve to have a great time, even if you’re not at your ideal weight yet, and make sure you try out plenty of new activities and new foods.

(Image above by Malias)

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