I have to admit, I’ve never been a good traveller. Since I was a kid, I’ve always hated travelling and I get so nervous before trips. But when I started dieting, my anxiety about travelling went to a whole new level. Why? Because I was so stressed out about what I was going to eat while away from home.
I kid you not, I would pack half my suitcase full of foods I could eat while away. Things such as:
- protein powder
- protein bars
- almond butter
- sprouted grain bread
- homemade muffins
- coconut oil
I would even cram stuff into my kid’s suitcases because I didn’t have enough room in mine.
This summer, we were attending a wedding on the other side of the country. Because I’ve been practicing intuitive eating for the past few months, I decided that I didn’t want to bring much food with me on this vacation. I had decided that I was going to just “go with the flow” this trip.
I find that people have two attitudes when it comes to eating on vacation:
- They are like me and get extremely anxious about staying on track with their eating. They pack a lot of food and have anxiety when eating out because they are afraid to enjoy other foods NOT on their plan.
- They go “all out” on vacation and eat, eat, eat everything. When they get back, they feel horrible and go on a juice cleanse.
I’ll admit, ditching those attitudes was EXTREMELY scary for me. For the past 10 years, I’ve never allowed myself to just leave my food up to chance. But I knew that in order for me to heal from my relationship with dieting, this was a must.
I knew there would be times when I wouldn’t be able to eat fresh foods because we would be on the road and the only thing available would be gas station food. I knew there would be times when I would eat past fullness because we were celebrating a happy occasion. I knew there would be times when I would be hungry but I couldn’t eat because there wasn’t any food available.
Here are a few tips that helped me enjoy my vacation without worrying about the food:
Seek Pleasurable Foods
For so long, I denied myself any pleasurable foods. I would never order dessert, eat ice cream, or fast food, PERIOD. But this trip, I allowed myself to enjoy these foods if I wanted them.
For example, we had stopped at a Wendy’s restaurant for lunch. My first thought was to order a salad with dressing on the side and a water. But I was really craving a Spicy Chicken combo with fries and a Coke. So, that’s what I ordered, and I enjoyed every single bite.
Another day, we walked to an ice cream store with the family. I decided not to have any ice cream because I just wasn’t in the mood for it.
Rather than asking yourself, “What should I eat?” Ask yourself, “What do I feel like right now?” You may be surprised that sometimes you want the fun foods and sometimes you want the healthier stuff. Either option is okay!
Trust Your Body
This has been a hard one for me, to trust my body. I used to eat every 3 hours, even if I wasn’t hungry. I also didn’t trust myself around “junk” food. I thought I would binge on everything in site if I was allowed to.
Surprisingly though, learning to trust my body has been a wonderful thing. I’ve learned to experience true feelings of hunger and fullness, which means I don’t eat on a set schedule. I’ve also realized that I don’t binge on everything when I allow myself to eat anything.
We need to trust that our body knows what it needs. For example, after that Wendy’s meal, I was really craving some salad with dinner. I felt I needed some fresh vegetables.
I know it can also be scary to trust that our body won’t gain a bunch of weight during vacation. Did you know that your body actually works really hard to keep itself at it’s set point weight? It’s normal for our body to fluctuate, especially while we are away from home. A week or two away, eating more that usual, isn’t going to cause you to lose control and gain a ton of weight. As soon as you get back home, your food returns to normal and everything balances out again.
Bring Some Snacks
It would be a lie if I told you I didn’t bring any food in my suitcase. Because I knew there would be many times when we were out sightseeing, I thought it best to bring some snacks with us.
In my suitcase, I packed a box of Cliff Bars and some Energy Bites. These actually turned out handy because there were many times we were in the car or touring around and I needed a little something to tide me over until our next meal.
It’s okay to be prepared, there is nothing wrong with that. But when we start planning for every single meal and refuse to allow ourselves to take a break and enjoy the moment, that’s when disordered eating creeps back in.
I’m pretty proud of myself for going with the flow this vacation and allowing myself to enjoy foods I haven’t eaten in a long time. It was nice to let go, enjoy moments with my family, and not worry about food, my weight, judgement, etc.
Are you ready to start listening to your body, even while on vacation? Do you have any tips for eating intuitively while away from home?