Keeping Up with the Overends on Holiday: What the Health?

Port Elizabeth’s breathtaking waterfront… #AboutLastNight


Greetings from beautiful Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where I’ve moored myself for the past 24 hours. Before this, I spent a few blissful days wine (and cheese and chocolate) tasting my little heart out in Stellenbosch. (No fewer than 6 wineries were visited on this trip… so far!) I also had a whale of a time whale-watching in Hermanus, but now only have to look in the mirror to continue this pursuit as I’m now one myself.

Yesterday’s lunch at the spectacularly-located Blue Waters Café in Port Elizabeth


Yes, my health is definitely taking a bruising on this trip, but sure #yolo!


Today, I’m going to mention a few practical tips on how to remain active while holidaying as well as how to implement damage-minimising strategies when it comes to holiday eating and drinking. All the better to equip myself should the opportunity to party with the Overend clan for three consecutive weeks arise again… (We’re here for their son Ryan’s wedding this weekend…) #ThoseOverendsThough!




Movement is, was and always will be medicine! Remain as active as possible while away.


  • Start (and end) each day with some whole-body stretches and/or yoga poses. No specialised equipment necessary and can all be done from the comfort of your bedroom. YouTube a quick routine if inspiration is lacking!


  • Pack runners and gym clothes in case the mood to work out strikes; you’d never know the minute nor the hour: #FingersCrossedItStrikes! Most hotels provide reasonably-equipped gyms if that’s your jam.


  • Otherwise forget the gym and jog around a local park or go for a hike. An added bonus here is getting a feel for a place that you’d never get from yet another café or museum, in addition to the stress-relieving, mood-boosting and other far-reaching health benefits conferred. We hiked up Lion’s Head as Table Mountain was closed while we were in Capetown… #ThatViewThough!


Riona and I smug post hike up the Lion’s Head


  • Try to walk as much as possible in general. As well as being another example of how every little helps, you’ll save on taxi fares and, again, get a more authentic feel for your new (and temporary) surroundings. Remember to take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift. Your efforts will go some way to offsetting the infamous holiday weight gain.





Wine tasting at Rupert & Rothschild: #Swoon



We all know a holiday booze-fest spells a health disaster-fest, but for those of us that continue to occasionally overindulge, here are a few strategies to mitigate the damage:


  • Remember to stay hydrated. The oldest rule in the book but easily forgotten when you’re out of your normal environment. Instil the habit of drinking a couple of glasses first thing every morning, carrying a bottle of water at all times and requesting water every time you order an alcoholic drink.


  • Keep predetermined days – at least 1-2 per week – of the holiday alcohol-free or to less than 2 units of alcohol so as to give your body a break and to minimise disruption to sleep.


  • Be conscious of your choice of drink if weight control is on the agenda. A few substitutions and tweaks- to cut calories as well as units of alcohol consumed- can go a long way, e.g. ordering a shandy (with low calorie lemonade) instead of a full pint of beer or a wine spritzer instead of a large glass of wine.





  • Try to sit at a table for each meal time to avoid mindless snacking while walking.


  • Incorporate carbs, healthy fats and protein into most meals to keep energy and satiety levels as consistent as possible.


  • Ensure you’re eating your rainbow over the course of the day: try some fruit at breakfast, a salad with your lunch and plenty of veggies with dinner and you shouldn’t fall short of vitamins and minerals.


  • Enjoy your holiday blow-out meals but balance them out with something lighter when you can. Below is the one one light lunch I had in Capetown to balance out heavy meals either side… #EveryLittleHelps!

    A light and refreshing lunch of sushi and salsa- and gauc-topped mussels at the Harbour House on Capetown’s lively waterfront


  • While the wellness world continues to buzz with the concepts of mindful and intuitive eating, and rightly so, you should probably practice these strategies at home rather than trying them out for the first time while on holiday. I have already posted on mindful eating but could do with revisiting it… I need to explore intuitive eating more and plan to do so when I get back into some sort of routine!


  • For the moment, try to practice the Japanese concept of HARA HACHI BU which involves eating until you’re 80% full. I keep meaning to get into this and finally divest myself of the need to feel stuffed to the gills every time I leave the table. Japan’s population boasts a disproportionate number of centenarians, so they must be doing something right… I’ve never been to Japan so I should really visit to observe HARA HACHI BU from the horse’s mouth; anyone care to join me for 2019 Rugby World Cup?!



I’m off to join the rest of the happy hippos on safari for a couple of days… (Picture from Stamps of Judith)



Have a great and hopefully healthy week and if you’d like to read more please visit!


My name is Michelle and I’m a Dublin-based GP (family doctor). Life is short: take the minimalist approach to maximise your health!

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