As I began to write this post I did a quick Google search on the temptation to diet before vacation. I did the search thinking posts on intuitive eating and “the temptation to diet and how to deal with it” would come up. Instead I found a whole bunch of articles on how to not gain weight before vacation and how to stick to your diet while you are on vacation. Ugh. The frustration. I did not find one post in support of helping you to NOT diet before vacation.
I thought to myself, this is the reason that women come to work with me. There’s so much pressure out there to stick to your diet perfectly while you’re on vacation. Or, to diet perfectly leading up to vacation. And we all know what happens after a strict diet – overeating, binge eating, getting way too full, gaining weight rapidly (albeit water weight at first – it still doesn’t feel good to feel puffy and swollen), feeling out of control, feeling so discouraged, frustrated, and planning your next diet or when you’ll “get back on track.” The women who come to me express the pressure that they feel to diet before they go on vacation, especially when this vacation involves seeing people that they haven’t seen in a long time or wearing a bikini.
I remember how much I used to feel this same pressure. In fact, I think of a specific vacation about 10 years ago where I took a trip with my girlfriends to Palm Springs. I almost didn’t go. A few nights before the vacation I was trying on bikinis and was in tears feeling so worried about what my body would look like in a bikini compared to my friends. I remember curling up on the couch and expressing this to my mom.
Now looking back I wonder how in the world I even thought to be hard on myself. But then I realize and remember that it’s not about the size of your body that makes you hard on yourself (or loving towards yourself). Rather it’s the mentality that you have towards yourself. The pressure that you put on yourself to be perfect. The amount that you compare yourself to others. The amount that you focus on external results versus tuning in to what you actually care about and what’s important to you. Towards tuning in to just taking care of yourself and doing what feels good without rules, pressure, and rigidity.
In a few weeks I’m going on a trip to Mexico with some friends. Marco will be joining me too. Many of our Reno friends will be there with us, and I can’t wait!
10 years ago this trip would have spiraled me into crash dieting leading up to when we left (followed by intense over eating while there, feeling awful). I would’ve been so worried about the pictures that will be taken and would’ve been comparing myself to what everyone else on the trip would look like. I would scrutinize every inch of my body and hope that it would be as perfect as possible by the time that I got there. I would feel stressed every single day and would probably buy way too many clothes and spend money that I didn’t need to spend just to prepare to look as close to perfect as I could.
Do I still feel that pressure today? Sure, there are moments where I feel concerned about the photos that we will take and what I will look like. But then I remember quickly that that doesn’t matter. What matters is having fun and being in the water together and splashing around and making drinks and building memories. Whatever photos are taken, I remember that that is ME in the photos. I am not just a body. I am a soul, I am a person. I am important, and so are you. You matter. You count. I am not a body. You are not just a body.
What follows after that short talk of encouragement with myself, is a gentle and soft reminder to just continue doing what I do every day to take care of myself. To just continue making daily choices that are in line with how I want to feel. Not to change any of my daily habits to manipulate my body to be a certain size, but just to keep taking care of myself like I always do.
After that reminder I think about all of the things that I am so excited for on the trip. I am so excited to wake up in the morning with my girlfriends in our PJs and have coffee at the beach. I am so excited to go for walks or runs along the beach and enjoy all the views of Mexico. I am so excited to cuddle my friends baby and wish him the happiest first birthday! I am so excited to build memories with Marco and our friends.
I remember that this trip has absolutely nothing to do with our bodies and everything to do with the people that we get to be with and the joy that we get to feel while we’re there.
Going through these quick reminders helps me to realize everything that is important to me and I feel overcome with peace. It took me a while to get to this point, but with practice and constantly surrendering the need for “perfect” I am able to come back to myself and focus on what’s really important to me.
I value health, I value joy, I value feeling good, I value making incredible memories, and I value connection. But I do not value perfection, manipulating my body, or obsessing over my size.
My guides in this journey have been God, incredible friends who encourage me, intuitive eating, and self compassion.
If you relate to this post and you currently feel how I used to feel, being super critical of your body or feeling the temptation to crash diet before a vacation or a big event where you haven’t seen people in a long time, and you would like to be in a place where you feel calm and able to quickly remind yourself to what’s important before a vacation or some big event, reach out to me. I would love to talk with you and see if coaching is the next best step for you. Six-months of work and a lifetime of freedom – what do you have to lose? Nothing. But you have a lifetime to gain. You can read about what I do and schedule a free session with me on this page.
I love you all so much. I hope this post was incredibly valuable for you and that you will remember it the next time a big event or vacation is coming up. Remember, you’re not just a body. You are a person with emotions, a soul, and a life to be lived. You are so special, you are so important, and you are so loved. Don’t minimize yourself down to just a body. You are not just a body. You are beautiful. Again, I love you.