In the past, I have always used an event such as a vacation to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and I end up coming home feeling fatigued, sluggish, bloated, and addicted to carbs and sugar again. I would regret the decisions I made about food on vacation because my weight would spike and I would be “right back to where I started.” I used “getting ready” for a vacation as a motivator to not miss workouts and eat a really clean supportive nutrition plan, I would lose weight, and then I would come back from vacation gaining all or most of the weight back that I lost.
Setting An Intention
I had a conversation with Bob a few weeks before our trip letting him know that I didn’t want this vacation to turn into a food-fest like some of our other trips had. He agreed, and I was happy to know that we were on the same page!
I set an intention for myself that I would focus on relaxing, disconnecting, and quality time with my friend. I also set the intention to avoid eating too much food and limit sugar intake.
My mindset going into the trip was all about relaxing, disconnecting from email, Facebook, etc., and soaking up the warm sunshine. On the flip side, I wasn’t focused on…”I can’t wait to eat X.” My mindset about the vacation influenced my decisions about what to eat while we were away. I focused on being in the moment and present, listening to my body and what it wanted and needed at any given time. If I was tired, I took a nap. If I felt like I needed movement, I went for a walk. If I was hungry, I ate.
Did I Indulge?
You bet I did…just a little bit though. If I wanted something that I wouldn’t normally eat, I ate it. BUT…if after a couple bites it didn’t taste AMAZING to me, I stopped eating it! You know what though, there weren’t too many things that I wanted that I don’t normally eat. This is a BIG shift from where I was a few years ago. Since avoiding high carbohydrate, high sugar foods, my cravings to eat them have gone WAY DOWN. I could walk by cookies, sandwiches, and other desserts without wanting to eat them as I know and understand how those foods negatively affect my body. I want more proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables.
The BEST treat that I ate on the trip was a flourless chocolate cake…YUM!!! I enjoyed a few bites of it on two different nights, and I stopped when I was satisfied. What a WIN for someone who loves food and will eat it if it is in front of her.
Below are a few takeaway points from my time away. Keep in mind that some of these principles can apply to our everyday life to enhance our health and well-being.
- You need to disconnect and unplug from technology. Constantly being accessible via email and social media does not allow you time to turn inward and listen to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Find a time each week; maybe it is Sunday afternoons when you don’t check your phone, email, or Facebook.
- Having a plan is ESSENTIAL. Setting intentions about how I wanted my experience on vacation to be was a critical foundation that guided my decisions. Things don’t always go as planned, or you may decide to change your plan, and that is OK—at least you are being present and aware of your actions.
- You don’t always have to be DOING; spend time just BEING. There was one day that we didn’t even leave the resort, as we just wanted to do nothing…and that is OK.
- You can indulge in great tasting food without going overboard and feeling fatigued, bloated, and sluggish. Indulging in dessert, wine, or other favorite food doesn’t mean that you need to go overboard and have it every night or multiple times per day. You can have a few bites, one glass of wine, and be completely satisfied and content.
- Listen to your body. It is constantly giving you signals as to what it needs: rest, water, food, touch, movement, etc. Whenever possible, listen to it and give it what it needs. Often times we reach for food or beverages because we know that we need something but we don’t know what or can’t stop what we are doing at that moment so we use food/beverages to increase our mood/emotions.
I came home with a different perspective and expectation for future vacations. I also came home the same weight that I left…even after relaxing and taking a few indulgences!