It’s hard to believe that my maternity leave ends in just a few short weeks. This time has flown by so fast and it’s crazy that Vander is already into the 2 month mark. I’m so fortunate that I’m able to work for myself, but it’s already put the word balance to the test.
Thankfully, I’ve got some awesome friends who have been able to help me continue to show up in the space. If you’ve missed any of them, please check them out. From loving your body as is to “fat” not being a feeling to intuitive exercise (and more and more), I’m incredibly lucky to have such wonderful, informative guest posts while I’m gone.
This is the last one; a post on intuitive eating while traveling from my good friend Kara. I first met Kara through the blogging world and ended up working as the assistant editor to her newsletter editor position in the Nutrition Entrepreneurs group. From there we’ve bonded over our shared love of yoga, intuitive eating, travel and more. Also known as The Foodie Dietitian, Kara shares incredible recipes and a Mindful Monday series.
I’m a girl that loves to travel. I made it a goal a few years back to visit at least one new country a year. I may need to revisit that goal and up the ante a little bit because this year I traveled to eight different countries. It’s a deep-seated passion of mine. There’s something about the discovery and exploration process of traveling that I love – not only discovering new beauty but also discovering more about myself. I find that when I travel to foreign countries, I gain new perspective about life, my values and my goals that I may not have had before.
Now, if you’re not a “traveler”, don’t give up hope on me and this post just yet. Because what I’m going to talk about today is not only relevant to those traveling to far-off countries; it’s relevant to those who take a week long summer vacation every year. It’s relatable for those who like to take weekend road trips. If you’ve ever taken a vacation somewhere and worried about “overindulging” and the ramifications of that, this post is for you.
I hear this fear from my clients, from friends, from family members who have been dieting or closely watching their food intake that they feel like they might be “out of control” when they go on their vacation or trip. They’re worried that they’re going to gain weight and be “unhealthy.”
And I totally get the concern. For some of my clients who are used to control and routine, a vacation is the complete opposite of that – no schedule, no plans, no control. And that can be really anxiety provoking for those are used to and comfortable with exerting control in their lives. For others, the vacation might be something they’re looking forward to so they can go off their diet and have a “cheat weekend” or “cheat week,” ready to backlash from the restriction they’ve been imposing on their food intake. And of course you would have the urge to rebel against your diet on vacation – that’s what dieting does – it creates this restrict/binge cycle that results in a lot of shame and guilt.
But what if you could break that cycle? What if you could change the way you approach your travels and your vacation? What if you could feel freedom from food during your vacation and actually enjoy the experience rather than worrying about what your next meal will be. The good news is that you can. And I’m going to share a few tips below on how to do just that.
Put pleasure first.
Vacations are supposed to be indulgent but unfortunately, in our society we’ve placed a negative stigma on seeking pleasure and self-care and indulgences. But self-care is not selfish; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. By filling your life with pleasurable experiences and self-care, you’re able to fill up your own well and be the best version of yourself for others. So, give yourself permission to put pleasure first during your vacation. Sleep in. Take an afternoon siesta. Get a manicure. And when deciding what to eat, rather than ask yourself, “what should I eat right now?” ask yourself, “what sounds the most pleasurable to me right now?” Let pleasure and satisfaction guide your food choices on vacation.
Indulge in the local delicacies.
Every place you travel to is known for some type of cuisine. In my city of Boston, we’re known for seafood, New England Clam Chowder and Boston Cream Pie. Part of experiencing a new place is experiencing the local fare. So allow yourself to discover new types of cuisine even if they are foods you wouldn’t normally allow yourself to eat at home. And listen to your body. You might find that after a few days of eating the local fare that your body starts craving other types of foods. This summer I traveled to Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. And as soon as I booked the trip, I started joking that I might have to stop being a vegetarian over there so I could enjoy the local fare. Well eight months later, I was no longer joking about it. After 18 years of being a vegetarian, I decided to start eating meat again (for a variety of reasons which you can read more about in my blog post) and I enjoyed being able to explore the local cuisine in these countries – it was part of the exploration and discovery process for me, which I love so much. Give yourself permission to let go of your food rules so you can enjoy the local delicacies.
Trust your body.
For many of my clients, they’ve lost that sense of trust of their bodies. When there is a lack of trust, it can be difficult to give yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods. See if you can find comfort in the fact that our bodies work really hard to keep us at our set point weight. One trip or one vacation isn’t going to make an impact on your weight or your health. Trust that your body will tell you what it wants to eat. See if you can listen to those internal cues and ask yourself “what do I want to eat right now?” Am I in the mood for something sweet, savory or spicy? Something hot, warm, or cold? Something smooth and creamy or something crunchy? Something heavy and filling or something light? Your body will tell you what it needs if you just listen to and trust the wisdom of your body. If you have trouble connecting with your body, use the downtime of your vacation or travels to try doing some mindfulness activities that can help strengthen that connection, like yoga or deep breathing or meditation (and if you’re looking for more support with yoga and meditation, check out my e-book Nourish Your Namaste). You can also try meditation apps like Insight Timer or Headspace or check out the schedule for local yoga studios.
If intuitive eating is new to you, give yourself some self-compassion and patience throughout this journey. Expect that it won’t be easy at first and you’ll likely notice those “diet-y” thoughts creeping up when you’re traveling, but recognize them for what they are, just thoughts, not facts. And see if you can shift to a more neutral or positive alternative thought. The process isn’t easy but it is absolutely worth it.
Now I’d love to hear from you all. What helps you eat intuitively while traveling?
And if you’d like to see more from me, you can check out my blog, Instagram or Facebook. I hope to connect with you there. Thanks so much to Alex for having me back on her blog today. I’m so happy I could help out while she’s spending QT with her precious baby boy!