Staying Sane (and having fun) With Food On Vacation!

It’s officially Summertime! Yay! Hopefully you aren’t melting, and if you’re lucky, you might have some sort of getaway or vacation in the future plan. It’s always an exciting (and usually needed!) treat to get away from our everyday lives, however,  if you’re like me vacation and trips also means the shaking up of normal eating routines.

I used to get pretty thrown off by this, but slowly I have learned some ways to make sure that I don’t miss out on enjoying a wonderful vacation worrying and stressing about food and body stuff. It’s totally natural to indulge some on a vacation, but I know that it can get difficult when you feel like your daily activities include eating, drinking, relaxing, and repeat. I’ve found that a little bit of mental preparation going into and through out a vacation can help. Usually my goal is to strive for a balance that is reasonable and right for me, one that leaves room for treats, but won’t leave me feeling a in a food hangover (not my favorite feeling for enjoying a vacation!).

Basic forethought sometimes helps me with this…ex: “Oh my goodness, this amazing, exotic molten lava extra-dark chocolate cake is amazing! Maybe I’ll have another piece? I’m on vacation! [pause] Ohh…wait, how is this going to make me feel later? Maybe one reasonable-sized piece is enough to satisfy me.” It’s not about punishing yourself or being restrictive or starting up the guilt-train, but more about being honest with yourself and keeping things balanced so you can continue having a great time!

It’s easy to categorize your time on vacation as a free pass to go crazy (black-and-white-thinking danger zone) and just mindlessly slurp down piña colladas and/or shovel in the chips and guacamole without even thinking. Having some is usually your best bet, but have things mindfully and with gusto! Going on vacation is a really great time to try new foods and experience restaurants in the areas you are visiting and any “normal” eater would probably eat a little more than they would in the normal context of his/her daily life. You don’t have to feel badly if you aren’t eating exactly how you do normally, just maybe try to keep a relaxed tab on what’s goin’ in there!

If you know you are going to enjoy afternoon happy hour or other treats, maybe go a little easier at the breakfast buffet. Prioritize what you want the most and go for that…I generally tend to skip some of the foods I would normally get to eat in regular life and focus more on the ones that are unique or unusual to my destination. Vacations also usually have different schedules (from sleep, meal times, activities, traveling, etc) and that can be hard to manage too. If this throws you off, bring a long some of your favorite healthy snacks if it helps you obsess less about food and running into “AH, I’M STARVING!” scenarios.

My favorite way to remain sane and feel relaxed and happy about eating a little more than usual is making sure I include activity in the day. Even if it’s a more lazy, laying out by the beach/pool kind of a vacation, there’s usually pretty walks or hikes you can find. If swimming is your thing, then wherever there is a reasonable body of water, go for it. When visiting places (especially more urban areas), I LOVE walking around and if I’m lucky, renting a bike to see all the spots. I can easily walk around for the better part of a day and forget that I just moved around a bunch.

Another good strategy is focusing on what some of your favorite NON-FOOD related things are to do on vacation. If you’re having a hard time with food stuff, focus on those! Some possibilities to think about: Sleeping late, reading books & magazines, catching up with friends/family, playing games or doing puzzles, lounging, engaging in local activities, learning new skills, exploring, shopping, taking in culture (concerts, movies, plays)…and so on. Happy Summer!

What are some of your favorite non-food related things to do on vacation? What are some ways that you feel best managing food stuff when on vacation? –Morgan

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One Response to Staying Sane (and having fun) With Food On Vacation!

  1. Nadia says:

    Thanks for this Morgan, going away on holiday should be an absolute pleasure and I definately get nervous before going away. Something happened to me this time however that was different. I went on holiday for a week and hadn’t been away for a while. Getting away from my everyday worries, my job, the family problems and relaxing really allowed me to relax around food. I ate healthily most of the time, had a burger and ice cream when I felt like it and it felt wonderful.

    Now that I’m back at work and sat at my desk, I’m having some difficulty again so I will look into what is bothering me.

    I would also mention that when I was on holiday and saw all sorts of women in all sizes it made me feel normal and I started looking at myself in the mirror everyday, telling myself what I liked about my body. It really helped!

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