Good-morning all. Last week, after returning home from Catalina, I got an email from a long time, loyal reader (thank you, Karly!). She asked me to talk about *how to continue eating intuitively while on vacation.* She shared that when she’s home, and in a normal routine, it feels easier to eat intuitively – she knows the food she likes, she can have them at home, prepare for the day, week, etc… But when on vacation, it’s much harder. Especially when unexpected events come up, like, in Karly’s case, staying on vacation two days longer than expected and running out of the food she’d brought.
The beautiful thing about intuitive eating, is that you can take it with you where ever you go.
While you’re on vacation, it’s the perfect time to unplug, relax, and ask yourself what you’re craving. I find that most times (not all) when I’m on vacation, we’re eating out a lot. This is fun because when you’re eating out, there is a whole world of options to choose from. You can check in, ask yourself what you’re craving, and honor those cravings.
Yesterday, I mentioned stopping at our “Sweet Spot” or “happy spot/place.” When I say this, I imagine freedom around knowing we can eat any food that we want and walk away still feeling good. Now, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t times where I over do it. There are. And there will be times when you overdo it too. Intuitive eating is not about being 100%, and that’s a good thing. Those times when we over do it aren’t for guilt, beating ourselves up, and resorting back to dieting because it feels “safe.” These are the times to just recognize with zero judgement and pure curiosity what experience we were going for in continuing to eat past our fullness (maybe it was just really good and we thoughts we’d enjoy continuing more than stopping), and what experience we actually got from doing so. Again, zero judgement, zero guilt.
I always share with my clients that “guilt never helps.” If we’re feeling guilty about certain foods, we have full permission to toss that guilt out the window, because all it does it cause us to stay feeling stuck, or badly about our choices. When we feel bad, we’re more likely to continue treating ourselves badly. Does this make sense? Think about when you feel good. You’re more set up to make choices that feel good.
All this being said, we need to be gentle with ourselves on vacation, just like we would if we were at home. Perhaps we can also understand that eating out does feel a little bit different than eating mostly home cooked foods, and that’s okay. Instead of worrying about eating out on vacation, appreciate things like: I get to try so many new foods. I don’t have to cook for an entire week. Someone else is serving me. I get to enjoy my family. I get to enjoy down time. (Or whatever things YOU might enjoy on vacation.)
And, when unexpected or spontaneous events come up, EMBRACE them… Ah, scary, I know… I used to be terrified of these times, too. How can we embrace the unexpected, or unplanned? Honestly, it’s a choice, right? There’s no way to PLAN to embrace the UNPLANNED, and that’s not the goal here. The goal is to trust that your body is going to cue you throughout the day, and tell you what you need, and you’re going to be able to respond to those cues gently. And if you respond in a way other than your body has requested (whether on accident or on purpose), that’s okay! We all do.
Intuitive eating is NOT about leaving the rules of dieting behind and then adapting new rules around intuitive eating.
What would freedom with food on vacation look like to you? I’d encourage you to just sit for 2-3 minutes and picture this in your mind. Get a solid FEEL of what this would be like. Imagine success with freedom around food. Imagine not counting, not checking labels, not setting up “healthy intentions” before you go… Imagine just listening to the cue’s your body sends you (and will continue to send you) every day, and being able to respond to those cue’s. Imagine freedom around having all the foods you love on vacation, and enjoying them in a way (for the most part) that leaves you feeling normal, neutral, glad, and satisfied…
What does that feel like? What would you need to know were true in order to experience this vision? What might you have to let go of?
Do you have any questions? If you do, feel free to post them in the comments below. I do read each one and will respond to anything that seems in need of a response :).