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Keeping on your diet while in “Sin City” Las Vegas can be a definite challenge. The city surrounds you with temptations such as 24-hour restaurants, dozens of buffets, rich super-size portions, and even round the clock alcoholic drinks. Below are some tips to help you stay on your diet while still having a good time on your Vegas vacation.

Buffet Diet Tips

It may be tempting to “go big” at Vegas buffets, but if you are on a weight loss program, you don’t have to undo all your hard work in one meal. After all, a buffet meal is just like any other meal. So approach it like any other meal. Here are some quick tips you should bring to the buffet table:

– Go for the salad and vegetables first. Load your tummy with rich nutrients that are filling and lower in calories. Soup is a delicious option that will also help fill you up. You can later eat anything else you like in moderation. Filling up on these healthy low-cal choices will help you control the portion sizes while still feeling satisfied. Remember to go easy on salad dressings, since they can be very high in calories. You might want to get the dressing on the side. You will use much less dressing with this proven technique.

– Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water, tea, coffee or other healthy low calorie beverages. Many times we eat thinking we are hungry, when in actuality it is more that we are thirsty and our brain just misinterprets the signal.

– Be a Picky Eater. “Window shop” your buffet line-up first, then pick the items you must have, but only take smaller portions. Try taking a sample size first of an item you are not sure about. There is no point in eating a lot of calories when it is an item you may not even really like that much in the first place. In most cases you may not feel it is worth loading up on after you try it. By taking smaller portions on each trip to the buffet line, you will eat more slowly, which gives more time for your brain to know when your stomach is full. The extra walking can also burn up a few calories.

– Enough is enough. Try not to put everything on your plate, and just because you put something on your plate doesn’t mean you have to finish it all. Just walk away when you have had enough. While buffets may charge for excessive waste, they don’t expect you to finish each plate.

– Go easy on the desserts. Desserts have some of the highest calories per bite, so you need to be extra careful on portion size and how many you eat. Consider some fresh fruit as your main dessert and select only a few sweets you feel are musts for you.

– Eat lots of seafood. Filling up on seafood offers great value and will not add too many calories, so load up on them. An entire pound of crab legs has just 200 calories. However, go easy on the melted butter.

Smart Dining

Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the world and you are likely to eat out for all your meals during your trip. This creates a unique situation that can easily sabotage your diet. Common sense when ordering will help you stick to your diet.

Avoid eating too much bread and butter, or just ask the waiter not to bring it out if you don’t have the will power to control yourself. Avoid heavy dishes that have a lot of cream and butter in them, or ask the waiter to make it light. Fried foods should be eaten in moderation. Go for the healthier lighter dishes, like salads and steamed vegetables, but go easy on the dressing or have it on the side. Dipping your salad in a side of dressing gives you tons of flavor without all the calories.

Watch your portion size – a healthy amount is about that of a deck of cards. Consider sharing a dish if it is large, or just only eat a smaller portion and leave the rest. Finally, consider ordering an appetizer with a salad instead of a main course.

Watch the Alcohol

Mixed frozen drinks can be as much as 800 calories a glass. An average person only needs about 2000 calories per day just to maintain their weight. Try to order lower calorie options, like wine (110 calories average). Alcohol can also lower your better judgment when it comes to selecting more healthy food decisions.

Balancing Your Calories

One way to enjoy yourself while still controlling your weight is by balancing your overall calories. If you plan on eating a gigantic amount one day, such as 4,000 calories total, balance things out by eating very light the next day. Keeping your calories under 1,000 will average things out to 2,000 per day for those two days, which for an active person on vacation will keep you from gaining excessive weight.

In order to do this, you need to know how many calories you are eating. Many restaurants give calorie counts on the menu, or will have a separate calorie food guide. If you can’t find the calories, just look things up using your mobile phone. The calories of just about any food can be quickly found online. Once you hit your calorie limit, just stop eating for the day, or limit your foods to very light things like a piece of fruit. Just because you ate too much for lunch does not mean your diet is ruined. You need to look at what you are eating for the entire day, so cut back on dinner.

Exercise and Working Out

If you want to work off the additional calories consumed at the buffets, plan ahead to visit the fitness center in your hotel. They are often free if you are staying at the hotel. When the weather is nice, swimming is a great way to have fun and safely burn off all those extra calories. One of the best ways to keep fit is by simply walking. The entire Las Vegas strip is about 4 miles, so it is possible to walk it and get to just about any place without a car. Vegas also has a great monorail system in case you get too tired. Be sure to dress cool, wear sunscreen, and drink plenty of water, or carry a water bottle with you, especially in the warmer spring and summer months. If you are into dancing, hitting the clubs and dancing the night away can burn an incredible amount of calories (400-600 calories per hour) and you will have fun doing it. Just taking the stairs instead of the elevator or people movers can burn a lot calories. For example, a 150lb man would burn about 1,050 calories per hour climbing stairs.

If you prefer the convenience of working out in your own hotel room, you can just follow your own routine, such as jogging in place, jumping jacks, personal stair steppers, workout bands, push-ups, crunches, etc. You can also bring your favorite exercise videos and watch them in your room. Another good option is to exercise using an online service. Below are some great sites that provide streaming fitness videos that you can perform right in your hotel room with little or no equipment, assuming you have your laptop with you.

Online Workout Sites

Dailyburn: Personalized workout plan, calorie tracker and fitness videos. Free Trial sign-up required.

Other online services WorkOutsForYou, MyYogaOnline, iBodyFit, and BodyRock.tv

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