How to survive the all-inclusive holiday

​So I’m writing this on the last day of an 11 day all-inclusive break in Lanzarote…

Last year we did a similar break. After which I went back home with a top sun tan, super relaxed but carrying an additional 4kgs. If you know me personally you’ll know I’m quite little. 4kgs is about 8% of my total body weight.

So, this year I was determined that I would not let the same thing happen.

​In fact I’m pretty confident that it hasn’t. Even though there are no scales in this resort, and I have done hardly any training for 11 whole days. (Unless you count standing in a knee deep pool throwing diving sticks for my little one to collect)… But my jeans still fit pretty comfortably and I don’t feel bloated or sluggish.

So what has changed?

Well quite a lot, but I’ll say this at the offset. I haven’t felt deprived, nor have I had to resort to much ‘will-power’. But the way, I approach the buffet has changed.

This is how I would approach the buffet table last year, and judging by the contents of their plates, most people at an all-inclusive buffet do the same.

Plate in hand…
I’m starving.
It’s been 3 whole hours since breakfast.
Standing in a knee-deep pool is hard work.
I’ve earned it…

Skip the salad counter, I’ll grab some later… let’s see what else there is.

Oooh calamari, I love squid. And it’s stewed so a healthy option. I’ll have some.
Yes. Roast turkey. Mmmm looks good. A lean meat, I probably need some extra protein. Yup, I’ll have some.

Ooooh spring rolls, well I am on holiday.

Ah yes, I should have some veg… Doesn’t look great.
I’ll go back to the salad counter. 

Oooh he’s just brought out the plain pizza, I’ll get some for the girls.

Hmmmmm paella. .
Yeah… Slop it on…

Dang my plate is a bit full…
No room for salad.
But I can grap a bread roll in my free hand. Right? Nina will have that…


Although my turkey is now swimming in the calamari stew. In fact everything now tastes of calamari stew.

And the girls didn’t want the pizza – but I feel bad leaving it.
Meh. It’s not that great, actually.

In fact. That was deeply unsatisfying.

Might go see what else there is…

And also, there’s still pudding to go! YES…

Please tell me this isn’t just me??

The problem with the above was of course, over-eating. Although the choices individually might have been OK, the main problem with all-inclusive resorts is that it encourages you to overeat! 3 times a day…

So here are my top tips to surviving the all-inclusive holiday. (Warning: none of these are earth-shattering)

Choose one thing!
In the real / non holiday world would you ever eat more than one protein source or main food item in one sitting? Answer is probably not.

This shouldn’t change because you’re on holiday. Chances are each of the proteins will be rotated several times over the course of your holiday so even if you really do fancy squid and turkey, both will be available again in a couple of days. Guaranteed.

Tip, I first sort out my kids’ plates before doing mine. So whilst hunting for chips and ketchup for the girls, I’ve had a good view of what is available. And I can gauge what it is that I really, really fancy…

Then I will build my plate around this one thing.


Start with the veg
Now that you’ve chosen your main protein (but not yet put it on your plate) choose some vegetables.

And put these on your plate first.

Veg and salads (but not potatoes these count as carbs) should fill up about half of your plate.

Put these on first… Before you run out of room.

Next go get your protein
This should fill up somewhere between a quarter to half of your plate. Depending on how many carbs you’ll be eating. I prefer to save my carbs for pudding. So I’ll have more protein and hardly any carbs.

And finally for the carbs
Again the theme is Choose one. You (hopefully) don’t normally have pizza / bread/ rice and chips to accompany your main meal at home. So there’s no reason to start when on holiday. Choose one thing.

And now you’re ready for the last crucial bit….

Leave the buffet table… I mean really leave it
Don’t grab any last minute bread, onion rings, pizza slice balanced on top… Just leave.

What if it’s unsatisfying?
Well tbh, my advice would be: tough – better luck next time.

But if you’ve literally only had a mouthful and realise you don’t actually like calamari after all, then I’ll maybe let you go and have another plateful based on the above rules.

What about Pudding?
You guessed it.

And Alcohol?
I’m not really a fan of alcohol though they did have a really drinkable Cava once.
But the top tip for dealing with alcohol on holiday is to drink on alternate days! So that you’re giving your body a break every other day…

And set a time after which you can start drinking alcohol.

And finally
Like, seriously, it’s gross.
And your body is not a bin!

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