Summer is right around the corner and for many of us this means going on vacation and taking a break from our everyday routines of life. When traveling, practicing intuitive eating can seem like an impossible task. On vacation we might be eating different foods than usual, not be in charge of picking the restaurant or foods being served, and potentially eat a different times than normal. It can be overwhelming and anxiety inducing at first, but over time intuitive eating is 100% possible while on vacation! Here are some tips to get started!
Don’t diet or restrict leading up to the vacation
Often, people want to look and feel their best when going on vacation. It is common for many of us to go on a “diet” or restrict ourselves months leading up to the vacation. This is detrimental to the intuitive eating journey. “Dieting” before a vacation may lead us to overeat and cause even more guilt. Honoring your hunger cues and eating a well balanced diet allows us to be satisfied and have a more enjoyable eating experience while on vacation. Try focusing on what the vacation is really about! Do you want to spend your time on vacation obsessed with food or being present in the moment enjoying yourself?
Eat when hungry
Listening to your hunger and fullness cues is important to practice on vacation. When we listen to our bodies we are less likely to stress about food and more likely to enjoy our vacation. I’ve found that packing snacks with me helps keep me feeling my best and satisfied which helps me be fully present on vacation with my friends and family. This can also help in those times where everyone’s timing of meals is a bit off or different or you have to wait a long time at a restaurant to be seated. Having snacks on hand can help us from getting overly hungry!
Be open to trying new foods
When on vacation it’s very common to try new foods you may not be familiar with. For me, enjoying new foods in a new place is a part of the experience of traveling. For others, this may be scary and give us anxiety. It is okay to get out of your comfort zone and try foods you may not eat normally. When we allow ourselves to honor our hunger and fullness cues we allow ourselves to enjoy something you may usually not eat. Keeping an open mind is key to getting the full experience of your vacation.
Let go of guilt around food and the idea of “i’ll start over tomorrow”
It’s common for people to get in the mindset of thinking if I don’t eat perfectly today then everything is ruined. We tell ourselves, “Well I already messed up, I might as well just keep eating and start over tomorrow.” When we start to get this voice in our head it is important to take a step back, let go of that guilt and fully enjoy and appreciate what you are eating. It is also totally okay and normal to overeat sometimes. We might overeat when we were overly hungry or something just tastes really good or we are a little distracted and not paying full attention, etc. Overeating doesn’t mean anything is wrong, the feeling of overly full will pass and we can tune in more at the next eating experience without guilt or restriction.
Vacations are a time to get away, relax, spend time with family and friends and most importantly enjoy ourselves. It is important to listen to our bodies, let go of our guilt and know intuitive eating while on vacation is possible and can be done! This process may have its challenges but is totally worth it!
Written by Nicole Lopez, BS in food and nutrition sciences, Dietetic Intern