Post-Bariatric Surgery: Avoiding Vacation Weight Gain


Like a lot of people, you’re probably anticipating summer vacation season even more than usual this year, given the harsh winter that just passed. If you struggle with your weight, however, getting away from it all can be a potential danger zone. One survey from the travel website TripAdvisor found that 29 percent of travellers who responded say they always or often gain weight while traveling.

For those who have had bariatric surgery and continue to work so hard to achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle, the break in routine can provide many excuses and temptations to avoid your usual diet and exercise habits. Being prepared and planning ahead can help avoid some of those travel traps, so you return from your holiday with a waistband as relaxed as you are. Here are a few things to consider as you plan your trip:

  • How will you get daily exercise? You’re perfectly entitled to sleep in and skip the gym, or spend an afternoon lazing on the beach with a good book—after all, this is vacation! But if you want to keep the scale from skyrocketing, it helps to plan a little movement in each day. Work it into your fun activities for each day by planning a stroll on the beach, a dip in the ocean or hotel pool, or a walking or a bike tour of the local area. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy getting out and exploring the view beyond your beach chair.
  •  Will you be able to find healthy menu options? Odds are, you’re going to be eating out more, which means you may be facing larger portions and less healthy foods. Take your time with the menu and keep an eye out for healthy choices—anything baked, broiled, or grilled is usually safe, while foods described as buttered, fried, creamed, scalloped, or au gratin tend to be higher in calories and fat. You can also ask for sauces and dressings on the side so you can use less. When you do indulge, make it a conscious choice, and an occasional one—say, one dessert or drink every other night instead of with every meal.
  • Are you drinking enough water? Your body needs more water to combat dryness and dehydration when you fly or spend time in the sun and heat. Plus, staying hydrated can keep your energy level up and help you feel fuller. Make sure you’re getting enough liquids, and whenever possible, stick to low- or no-calorie options such as water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. It’s recommended after surgery, patients aim to get at least 64 ounces of water a day.

Keeping these guidelines in mind before you leave for vacation can help you follow through when you’re tempted to throw caution (and your healthy habits) to the wind. Be realistic, and pretty soon you’ll be able to say bon voyage to those extra pounds—for good!  For more information about weight-loss surgery sign up for a free weight-loss surgery information session with the Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program.