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Body Transformation week six – 10 sneaky ways to lose weight on holiday

Olivia's transformation MAIN (4)

Even people on Body Transformations have to go on holidays now and then…and when Olivia Hartland-Robbins did, she kept losing weight

Week six has been a bit different to say the least. I kinda, sorta, might have, possibly, maybe went on holiday…

But before you all panic, it was for work though so it’s allowed right? And it was a healthy yoga detox retreat so I was double allowed…

Of course, even though it was a health retreat I was slightly apprehensive for a few reasons. I mean things come up and life happens, even when you are doing a 12 week transformation.

Was I going to ruin all my progress? Would there be enough protein in the ‘healthy’ food I was going to be given to maintain my muscle tone? (this was the main worry my Transition Zone PT Mark Stanton had), Would there be alcohol? Would not training for a week equal a loss in muscle mass or weight gain? Would I miss my Transition Zone gym too much?

Read more about my transformation journey so far:

Body transformation week one – operation FAT LOSS, Body transformation week two – 8 diet rules to live byBody transformation week 3 – how to get results from the gym, Body transformation week 4 – How to do cardio for weight loss, Exactly what to eat to lose weight – Body Transformation Week 5

Anyway, to cut a worrying story short, I only lost 100 grams of muscle which is literally nothing, plus I still lost 0.5 kgs and my body fat is down again by 0.4 per cent. Only some slight changes, but every little helps right?

I had to stick to a specific yoga routine while I was away, and my days were jam packed with meditation, yoga, breathing workshops and massages – so there wasn’t really any time to exercise, apart from swimming of course.

My amazing Transition Zone team told me not to worry though, everyone needs some time away and some time to chill out, they said this was the perfect week to de-load and catch up on some sleep.

So, what is an exercise de-load?

It’s not just an excuse to be lazy, an exercise deload week is a scheduled reduction in the total intensity and volume of your workouts.

Basically, it’s a time to prepare the body for the increased demand of the next phase or period of training, especially as Mark has plans to start upping the weight again next week.

De-loading also means you prevent the risk of over-training, and you’ll give your joints, ligaments, tendons, and supporting tissue a chance to rest and properly repair.

Before Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Weight kg 68.9 67.4 66.3 65.5 64.8 64.8 64.5
Body fat % 27.0 25.8 24.2 24.6 23.2 22.8 22.4
Hips cm 107 107 104 105 104 104 104
Waist cm 77 75 74 73 71.5 71 71
Stomach cm 90 88 86 86 84 83 84
Thighs cm 56 55 54 55 54 54 54
Overall weight loss kg N/A 1.5 2.6 3.4 4.1 4.1 4.4


Before and after alllll angles

Before and after alllll angles (1)

So how did I still lose weight on holiday? Well, with a lot of help from nutritionist Emma Bardwell. Emma Bardwell  (Instagram: @emma.bardwell) is Transition Zone’s on-site nutritionist who believes that small changes can make big differences and diet fads are never the answer if you want long lasting results.

I didn’t want to starve myself to avoid gaining weight on holiday but I also didn’t want to constantly be thinking about what I could and couldn’t eat – so I quizzed Emma on how I can stay (relatively) healthy on holiday.

Emma’s support throughout this transformation has been super helpful, and it’s been great to have someone who cares about your worries and goals – even whilst I was patiently (still angrily) waiting for my delayed flight at the airport I was messaging Emma for airport lunch and snack advice.

Emma gave me a few options. ‘Pret do great protein pots with boiled eggs and spinach, plus they also sell small chia pudding pots with mango, or a porridge pot with seeds,’ suggested Emma.

‘The crayfish salad with avocado or tuna, or any type of protein based salad is a safe bet for a lunch choice,’ she added.  Another option was EAT. ‘EAT sell a delicious wholewheat noodle dish with crayfish and lime,’ said Emma.

‘I would also grab some fruit like apples that won’t get crushed in your bag or a bag of nuts and seeds from anywhere you can’.

pret breakfast transformation

I wondered over to Pret and found these delicious goodies: an acai pot with pomegranate, granola and sliced apple and a carrot juice for breakfast, then a protein salad with smoked salmon and boiled eggs for the plane.

protein salad pret
My lunch set up on the plane

The guy sat next to me on the plane didn’t seem to impressed that I was eating eggs and smoked salmon on the plane – oops.

As well as the airport lunch and snack advice, before I went away, Emma provided me with ten ways I can try to stay healthy on holiday:

#1 Be prepared

We know meal prep is key to weight loss but what about snack prep? ‘The first thing you need to think about is preparation. Make sure you take some healthy snacks with you, in your suit case or in your carry on (depending on where you’re going of course),’ suggests Emma.

‘Healthy snacks include nuts, seeds, hard fruits (no bananas, as these are too squishy), oats for making overnight oats, protein powder, chia seeds, trail mix, mini squeezy tubes of Pip & Nut and energy balls’.

Squeezy Pip & Nut tubes

As I mentioned, one of my concerns was that I was going to struggle to meet protein targets whilst away, so I made sure I took a bag of protein powder with me. I aimed to drink two protein fueled drinks a day, it was no where near as delicious as the Transition Zone protein smoothie I am used to but it did the job.

I only mixed the protein powder with water to avoid any added calories, this meant I was consuming 200 calories and 40 grams of protein from my protein shakes per day.

Emma also suggested taking some herbal tea, as you can’t always find these abroad, and they can really help to suppress your appetite and aid digestion.

If you are worried about exercise maybe take some TRX straps with you? TRX straps are great for holiday workouts, and light weight to take with you. ‘You can use them in a hotel room or outside by hanging them over the branch of a tree,’ explains Emma.

 half of your plate should be veggies, quarter protein, quarter carbs and a drizzle of healthy fat

If you’re still worried you won’t be getting your exercise fix, ask your trainer to plan a holiday body weight circuit for you, which I would totally have been up for if I had the time.

If you are super organised, you can even plan ahead and look for local fitness classes, gyms at your hotel or hotels near by. Or if you’re mega keen book ahead at your hotel and book a PT session, or if you’re beyond keen take your PT with you…

Don’t forget too, that if you’re going somewhere, there are many places you can – swim. Swimming pools, beaches, lakes, dams, rivers – swimming provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used when swimming.

Swimming is also a far more relaxing type of exercise – after all you are on holiday, plus it alleviates stress and provides a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day.

#2 Try new things

One thing I love about going on holiday is all the interesting produce other countries have. I am not a fussy eater and will try anything and everything, so Emma suggested that I use the holiday to try out new things such as exotic fruit, unusual delicacies, local dishes or a fresh catch of the day.

This will mean you are adding a variety of different foods to your diet, ‘and variety is crucial to gut health,’ says Emma.

food transformation
I don’t even know what was in this juice but it tasted deliciously fresh, and the lemon? It was picked fresh from the tree in the garden

#3 Eat mindfully and savour your food

Do you normally eat lunch at your desk or snack on the go? I am guilty of this too. We all are as we are so damn busy all the time.  But now you are in holiday mode right? So you have no excuse to be ‘too busy to eat slowly’.

‘When you’re on holiday you are nice and relaxed and for once, not in a hurry,’ says Emma. ‘Use this downtime to really focus on eating mindfully and savouring your food. This is great for combating reflux, bloating, burping, flatulence and overeating.

eating slowly and mindfully will give your brain the time to register that you have eaten food

Try to spend your meals eating slowly and mindfully. That means, no phones, no TV and no rushing, enjoy your food slowly, stop and talk to your friends and family. Ask them how their food is, talk about your day or the weather as we Brits love to discuss that subject.

By taking the time to enjoy your food with no technology or other distractions, we are actually able to digest our food properly. Plus, eating slowly and mindfully will give your brain the time to register that you have eaten food, instead of eating so quickly that you grab for seconds because your brain hasn’t told your tummy that you are full!

The first part of the digestive process actually starts in the mouth. Try and chew your food 15-20 times to help the enzymes break down the food.

#4 Try everything but not everything every day

Ahh buffets. All you can eat, all inclusive, all you ever wanted to eat, ever. As amazing as buffets are (don’t even try to deny it) there is a way you can control yourself, says Emma. (I was all ears because this is one of my big weaknesses).

‘Navigate the all you can eat buffets by focusing on one area per day,’ suggests Emma. ‘For example, try the eggs on day one, then all the exotic fruits on day two, have a traditional breakfast on day three and have one or two pastries on day four. This way, you get to try everything but not everything, every day‘.

#5 Don’t forget about a balanced plate

Another thing about buffets (as well as filling your plate beyond even the edges) is that people tend to forget about what a balanced plate should look like. They pile their plate with pasta, meats, sauces and forget that half of your plate should be veggies, quarter protein, quarter carbs and a drizzle of healthy fat.


#6 Opt for fruits BEFORE the pastries

Hands up who has the traditional breakfast first or the pastries first? I literally LOVE any type of pastry and will run over to the croissants like it’s the last time I will ever eat one. Now there is nothing wrong with having these options – you’re on holiday after all.

But Emma suggests that you head for the fruits first. By filling up on delicious and nutritious fruits beforehand, you are likely to have just half or one croissant or pastry rather than two or three.

#7 Stay hydrated – drink 2-3 litres of water a day

When the weather tends to heat up, fluid retention can lead to an excessive build up of fluid in the circulatory system. This fluid retention tends to affect the ankles and legs but can also affect the abdomen, leading to bloating – which is not ideal when you are wearing a bikini.

If you are on holiday somewhere warm, fluid retention can lead to dehydration. ‘When the body is dehydrated, it holds onto as much water as it can to prevent the dehydration occurring again,’ explains Emma.

When you do get around to drinking lots of fluids to rehydrate yourself, you are likely to store this fluid around your abdomen, causing you to feel puffy and bloated – not what you need on a hot summer’s day.

‘To help this, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking two to three litres of water a day,’ suggests Emma. ‘If it’s been particularly hot or you have been particularly active try and up the amount of water you have.

‘A good way to check your hydration levels is to drink until your urine is a pale straw colour. For most people that’s around two to two and a half litres of water, more if you’re exercising’.


#8 Walk as much as you can

On holiday you lounge by the pool, nap, eat, chat by the sea, nap again, eat again, sunbathe, read a book and eat again, but you don’t always do much walking, which means you aren’t burning calories like you normally would.

Emma suggests, that you try to go for nice long, easy going and relaxed walks, wherever and whenever you can. Of course there will be some days where this isn’t possible but avoid lounging around for the entire holiday. Walking is easy and it won’t only help to burn calories, it will also help to aid digestion, which will lessen any feelings of bloating.

#9 Try and stick to your calories as much as you can

Many of us have the mentality that we can treat ourselves because it’s the weekend or because well, you’re on holiday – which is very very true, you totally deserve that treat.

But people forget that you can cause some real damage to your weight loss progress if you go over your calories for a longer period of time, say a week or two weeks on holiday…

The goal Emma gave me in week one was to not eat more than around 1,500 calories per day on non-workout days, (these food targets were based on my body measurements and BMR, and so may not be suitable for others to follow).

As I wasn’t very active on this holiday (in fact I don’t think I did 10,000 steps a day let alone the 15,000 that I should be doing daily on my programme), I wanted to make sure I wasn’t consuming too many calories.

Emma suggested I aim for smaller portions, especially where the buffet is concerned. If you know a meal is going to be too calorie dense, maybe opt for one you know won’t cause too much damage to your calorie goal on other days.

I had some delicious food whilst I was away, and luckily the portions were small and the meals low calorie:

how to stay healthy on holiday healthy food

#10 Have a lie in and take as many naps and humanly possible

Who struggles to get their full eight hours of sleep? It is difficult when we all have super busy lifestyles. ‘When we don’t sleep well and are not fully rested, two important hormones called leptin and ghrelin, known as the appetite and hunger hormones can be affected,’ says Emma.

These hormones are both responsible for letting us know when we are full up and when we are hungry. If these hormones aren’t sufficient we could end up feeling hungry even when we aren’t. This will result in eating more than you need to, which certainly won’t help if weight loss is your goal.

study looking into whether sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolism saw 1,024 volunteers report on their sleep habits through questionnaires and sleep diaries. Fasted blood samples were evaluated too for leptin and ghrelin (the two key opposing hormones in appetite regulation).

The study found that participants with less sleep had reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin. The differences in the two hormones leptin and ghrelin were said to be a likely cause of increased appetite.

The study also noted that in Western societies, where chronic sleep restriction is common and food is widely available, changes in appetite regulatory hormones may contribute to obesity.

Remember though – you’re on holiday

A final point – remember you’re on holiday, don’t beat yourself if you do gain a few pounds. As long as you make the healthiest choices you can, then you tried your best and you can get straight back into your healthy eating ways as soon as you get back.

Three things I learnt this week:

1- Protein powder is a life saver: As I said, one of my main concerns was would I be having enough protein whilst I was away? I truly believe the two scoops of protein powder I had everyday was one of the reasons I didn’t lose as much muscle mass.

2 – Coffee is evil (still love it though): Part of my holiday detox week was to avoid caffeine and sugar. Well let me tell you, going tee-total on coffee was disastrous for me. Why? Because the first thing I did when I got to the airport was buy a latte and then… another latte (oh and a Snickers bar but we won’t talk about that).

This then lead to one of the worst headaches I have EVER had. I had to ask the plane staff to provide me with some paracetamol – they all thought I was hungover (little do they know I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for six weeks now!)

3 – I can’t take a compliment: I received so many amazing compliments whilst I was away, ‘I’m so jealous of your hourglass figure’, ‘wow you have great boobs’, ‘I love your hair’, ‘Your freckles are so cute’.

What do I say? ‘No I don’t’, ‘eww I hate freckles’ and ‘my hair isn’t naturally blonde though’ – why can’t I just say thank you and be done with it?

Check back in next week to see if I have lost yet MORE weight and if I can finally take a compliment…

Come back every week to read Olivia’s week by week diary of her weight loss transformation with Mark Stanton and Emma Bardwell at Transition Zone. 

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