5 Diet Hacks to Eating “Skinny” on Holiday

Phen's Seafood Phuket

Remember how I was talking about giving in to your cravings but still making smart choices? What about when you’re on holiday and everything looks so damn delicious and IS A CRAVING?! What the heck do you do then?

We are currently in Phuket(!!) and last night, there was a restaurant on the beach (Phen’s Seafood) that J wanted to try. It was bustling with people and life which is always a good sign for STOP HERE! The highlight that made me squeal a little however was that they had a cart full of fresh seafood just outside! The tiger prawns were the size of an arm and I died a little. I am a seafood girl through and through, and I have crab-coma-filled dreams so I really really DID NOT want to miss out much less eating steamed vegetables and worrying about stuffing it all into a bikini.

After seeing the response to the FF post, I figure if I struggle with this, then there must be others who struggle with eating “skinny” while travelling too right? I am by no means an “expert” but I thought I would share a couple of tips I’ve learned along the way. I must also really love you because I did the math. It’s a guesstimate (I didn’t have the exact ingredients or measurements) but Holy Math Ball I did it!

Phen's Seafood Phuket

My superhero power is the ability to be able to order enough food to feed an army.

What we ordered:
2 large Prawns cooked in ubiquitous “Thai sauce”..which we kinda surmised as just spicy sweet and sour – 400 calories
1 Blue(Flower?) Crab cooked in curry paste – 300 calories
1 plate of garlic stir fried Morning Glory (kang-kung) – 200 calories
1 Panang Beef Curry – 550 calories
1 plate of steamed white rice – 200 calories
1 Mango Sticky Rice – 300 calories

If I had eaten everything, my total calories would have been a whopping 2000 calories.
To put that into context, my target calorie intake for the WHOLE day is 1200 calories.

What I ate instead :
1 large Prawn – 100 calories *
1 Crab – 70 calories *
1/2 plate of morning glory – 100 calories *
1 bite of Panang Beef Curry – 20 calories
1 bite of steamed white rice – 15 calories
1/2 mango – 50 calories
2 bites of coconut sticky rice – 50 calories
Total calories = 405

*I adjusted the counts a little for how it was prepared.

Happy food baby pictures are the best!

Happy food baby pictures are the best!

Did I eat a shit ton of calories in one sitting? I sure did.

Was it worth every soul satisfying delicious bite?

Heck. To. The. YES!!

I picked and chose what I felt were definitely worth the calories and went from there. I was having the seafood. That was a given. I was also having sticky rice because I am a sucker for mango sticky rice (it’s a “thing” between J and I, you just can’t say no).

Nothing also tastes better when you share a “yummy bite”. That’s an actual word we use, it means, you take all the best bits from your dish(if it’s different from what they ordered) to make a one-spoon “yummy bite” for your dining partner and vice versa! It’s a sacred rule in our household and one we honor almost every “outside” meal because sharing is caring yo.

But here is where the diet hacks come to play.

1. Don’t Get SAUCY!

Don't Get Saucy! - 5 Diet Hacks to Eating "Skinny" on Holiday

Yummylicious stir-fried Crab with Curry Paste!

Sauces are calorie busting evil disguised as so damn delicious. Also sauces always contain an insane amount of sugar and salt and msg and bad yumminess.

Because we had shrimp and crab cooked still in it’s shell, I could “peel off” most of the sauce but still get a bit of the “flavor” without the extra calories.

The hardest part however, is not to redip back into all that lovely starchy sweet salty oily goodness. Or if you’re having Salted Egg Crab, to not lick all the delicious bits left on the shell. (YUMMY fatty true story)

Also, the biggest way your brain will try to lie to you (that smart bastard!) is to tell you that the vegetables cooked in the sauce are healthy because surely vegetables are okay right?

Uhm, NOT when they are SOAKED in all that crap they’re NOT! That’s a NOT by the way, a NO NO NO NO NO.

It’s the same theory as drinking bottled fruit juice…you are just wasting your damn calories!

2. Fill Up on the GOOD!

Fill Up on the GOOD! - 5 Diet Hacks to Eating "Skinny" on Holiday

Stir-Fried Morning Glory with Garlic

Instead of rice, I “filled” up on stir fried vegetables instead. It wasn’t the healthiest way to have vegetables (it was slightly oily and had a sweet salty yummy sauce) but it was the lesser of two evils.

The hardest part about traveling “skinny” is that you just can’t always get “healthy” and are limited to menu choices or if the restaurant will make substitutions for you.

I don’t like being that girl, you know, the Venti 1 pump caramel, 1 pump white mocha, 2 scoops vanilla bean powder, extra ice frappuchino with 2 shots poured over the top (apagotto style) with caramel drizzle under and on top of the whipped cream, double cupped, girl. Btw that’s a real drink you can get at Starbucks. I googled “most complicated Starbucks order” and it came up. Hah!

When you’re traveling with other people, you might want to let them make choices on the restaurants you go to too or maybe you’re sharing plates family-style and they might not want to eat carb-less, oil-less, sugar-less, (my dad says “taste-less”) “healthy food” in Spain. 🙂 Surprise! It’s their holiday too!

I also “filled” up on the garnish (fresh slices of cucumber, raw cherry tomatoes, fresh carrots and shredded cabbage) and made a mini salad for free. Double win!

The best thing I can tell you is try to fill up on fiber-rich, low-calorie, but still yummy food that you enjoy eating! It will keep you full and satisfied instead of hungry and pissed off or bloated and guilty!

I also opted to drink water instead of soda which meant, more calories for the good stuff! Though if I had thought about it, I would have so spared some calories to get a fresh coconut!

5 Diet Hacks to Eating "Skinny" on Holiday

A freshly chopped coconut, a handsome boy just out from the spa with his just-blended mango slushie, and waves crashing on the beach. YES PLEASE!

3. Don’t Miss Out!

Don't Miss Out! - 5 Diet Hacks to Eating "Skinny" on Holiday

I cannot even tell you the amount of happy this plate gave me! YUM!

The best “skill” you can learn is to use your inner ninja to make smart choices! I could have easily ordered the crabs and prawns to be steamed with nothing instead. But I wanted to enjoy the culture and the food. I wanted to taste “real” Thai food, I wanted to know what the heck “Thai sauce” was, I wanted to eat “Mango freaking YUMMY sticky rice IN Thailand ON a beach” because how freaking cool is that?

My point is, all because you’re “eating skinny” doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on good food.

Similarly, all because you don’t want to miss out on the good food, it doesn’t mean that you should eat everything in sight.

Instead, I took a couple of bites of mango sticky rice WITH coconut cream (the horror!) and I savored every single morsel. I also ate more of the “good” parts (raw mango) and let myself indulge healthily in the “bad”.

Remember, it’s a lifestyle change, and it’s only going to “stick” if you can sustain it. If I ate salads this whole trip I would have been miserable. First of all, I don’t even like lettuce, and second of all, how long do you think I can keep that up before I go crazy and eat like the end is coming on a “cheat” day. There are no cheat days in a long term relationship, there are only choices that you have to make again and again.

Even though I have a extra stomach reserved for desserts (please tell me you know what I am talking about or we can’t be friends), I was able to stop myself when I was full but best of all, I was so very and absolutely satisfied!

4. Treat It Like A Marathon

Treat It Like A Marathon - 5 Diet Hacks to Eating "Skinny" on Holiday

We went with our chef to the local market and picked up some produce to make a delicious lunch! She told me, the best mini eggplants to pick are those that are in the shape of an egg. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

See the bigger picture. Sometimes that means I forgive myself for one really “bad” meal because I know I will find my rhythm again in this race. I refuse to play the guilt shaming game.

Sometimes, this also means “preparing” for the “race”. I actually didn’t break my calorie count for the day because I had taken small, light, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day saving it for dinner. I knew we were going out and we were more than likely going to indulge.

Big picture people, if you can plan your day and meals, then you can get yourself in the right mindset and shape how it’s going to turn out! Remember, slow and steady, slow and steady and ROCK ON YOU BEAST!

You know how on a marathon, you have to fuel up? Similarly, you have to “fuel” up in between meals too so you don’t get the crash. Instead of loading up on fast expensive terrible snacks (pretzels, chips, chocolate, etc) from your fancy minibar, check out the room service menu and see if there is a fruit platter option instead. We lucked out this trip and had a basket of welcome fruits in our suite and I just added that to our beach bag for a snack or when we were cuddled up when it was pouring outside watching a movie! It was my “popcorn” and instant happy!

One of my other favorite things I LOVE to do is stopping at a local grocery store. Not only does it make my inner chef so deliriously happy, I can literally wander the aisles for hours just checking out every label and produce and ohmygodthisissoawesome, but it also gives me an opportunity to not just sample the local stuff but to also buy some “healthy” snacks like crudites and fruit (I pick whatever they have in season and normally something I don’t often get at home) or greek yogurt if we have a fridge. I go all out and make a meal if we have a kitchen but if all else fails, I hoard my breakfast (whole) fruit and save it for later. Most of the time, the hotel will happily send you off with some if you ask with a smile.

Like my everyday snack bag (I usually bring one along), I just put it into J’s backpack with some wet wipes and baggie for trash so when we need a little break or are eating on the go, I have a little picnic set up. I also pack this for the plane because nothing tastes better than a crispy delicious juicy green apple 4000 ft in the air.

5. Keep Moving and Do What You LOVE!

Keep Moving and Do What You LOVE! - 5 Diet Hacks to Eating "Skinny" on Holiday


Keep Moving and Do What You LOVE! - 5 Diet Hacks to Eating "Skinny" on Holiday

But of course, in a stroke of irony, would you even like to guess the days we were there and correlate it to the days it ugly rained and poured? 😦

I’ve shared this before, being in the gym makes me stabby so the idea of going to the fitness center to workout ON A HOLIDAY is just not okay. (For me.)

Hundreds and thousands of people do it everyday, and maybe I could do it if I lost my mind, but I know me, and I know I would be sad and feel like I was missing out wasting my time or *shudder* waking up early when I could be doing all this other fun things. How then do I get a “workout” in without really “formally” working out?

I CHEAT (or sorry, I meant diet hack!) and totally just incorporate it into my day. I lie to my brain so it doesn’t even know it’s exercise!

What does this look like? Well, it looks a lot like cycling on the grounds of Versailles, cliff exploring in Bali, Chateau visiting in Chenonceau, shopping in night markets in Saigon, climbing the Roman Colosseum ruins in Lyon or kayaking in Krabi!

Choose activities that will keep you moving but also something that you will be invested in, something that will make you happy to do it, something that will keep you pushing, keep you going, keep you smiling.

Sometimes, this might also mean going on a Gelato tour, walking from one end of the town center to the other looking for that perfect scoop of yummy but we’re just going to pretend that that didn’t happen. 😛

The resort we are currently staying at offers some fabulous daily outdoor classes like Yoga and Muay Thai, and there are also tennis courts with racquet rentals, THREE swimming pools, and if all else fails, jumping the waves is always fun and such a good workout!

Their beach club also has a range of water activities (my personal favorite) that you could participate in. Concierge is a great place to ask around or just explore on your own and see what you find! I love love love activities like these on a resort stay because it is totally flexible and easy to pick up depending on our mood that day and getting to do it with your best friend is an added bonus!

Which reminds me, instead of taking the golf cart around the grounds, we chose to walk from point A to point B around this massive property and we really enjoyed our walks together, talking about our day, making fun of each other, dancing horribly when no one was around or taking a romantic stroll just because. Busting calories while falling in love, if that’s not a win I don’t know what is.

Well, I hope this helped you plan your “diet” your next holiday. It’s really not rocket science so don’t feel intimidated, it is 90% about just making smart choices and knowing that your reward is a healthy awesome body and feeling good!

But she does make being fat look so fabulous doesn’t she? 😛

She says, "Come to the Dark Side! we have Donuts and Ice-Cream!"

She says, “Come to the Dark Side! we have donuts and ice-cream!”

Curious minds want to know, what is the best thing you’ve ever eaten while travelling?

Don’t forget to follow the blog (fancy pull down menu on top) if you like what you’re reading and want to stay in touch.

Sneak preview? I have an insider look on Indigo Pearl Phuket! and if I get my shit together find some time, photos and travel hacks from the heart of Paris to the beaches in Nice to the alps in Chamonix from our France holiday last month! EXCITED! ♥♥♥

Love always,

Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.
~ Anthony Bourdain


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2 thoughts on “5 Diet Hacks to Eating “Skinny” on Holiday

  1. Well done! My favorites are “don’t miss out” and “treat it like a marathon” but working out while enjoying the sites and activities is really fun. Filling up with veg is easy for herbivores but not getting saucy? Think banana leave rice with crab curry! Ok, did you say if in doubt go back to “don’t miss out” 🙂 love you!

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