I love to travel.
I find so much value and joy in experiencing other cultures. And in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts of healing your relationship with food is being able to travel without food preoccupation or guilt. But if you are early on in your food freedom journey, eating on the road can be tricky and negative body thoughts can ruin the vacation vibes real quick.
If you have the privilege looking forward to summer travel plans, here are some tips to help you navigate food and body image on your vacation.
MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT EATING PATTERN
This one starts before you even hit the road. Repeat after me: “You don’t need to lose weight for your vacation.” Restricting or dieting before a trip and then allowing yourself to enjoy food “because you're on vacation” is a surefire way to feel chaotic with food while you’re traveling and when you get home. This pattern of deprivation followed by conditional permission to eat can really set you up for binge-like eating and food guilt.
When you practice intuitive eating, eating while traveling is not that different from eating at home. Try to maintain a consistent eating pattern before, during, and after a trip. Stick to having 3 meals and 2-3 snacks each day, include a wide variety of foods, and honor your hunger/fullness cues and cravings. This includes enjoying the new and exciting food available at your vacation destination!
PACK CLOTHES THAT FIT AND FEEL GOOD.
When you pack your suit case try to choose items that you naturally gravitate towards in your closet. These are likely the clothes that you are going to feel most comfortable in. Remember you are not going on vacation to be aesthetically pleasing to other people, you are there to do vacation things and you should feel comfortable doing them!
When a part of your body is uncomfortable, your are going to think about it. This is as true for your feet as it is for your thighs and stomach. The difference is that when our attention is drawn to the parts of the body that we are struggling to accept, it can easily trigger negative body image thoughts. Wearing clothes that are comfortable and actually fit your current body can make a huge difference in the prevalence of negative thoughts, giving you more brain space to enjoy your vacation.
PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED.
Travel can be unpredictable. Canceled flights, flat tires, wild weather, a bad meal, etc. Prepare for the unexpected by packing a good number of emergency snacks that you know you enjoy! I recommend including a variety of salty, sweet, savory, and fruity options to choose from.
If your stomach is particularly sensitive to new foods or reactive to the unavoidable stresses of travel, think about how you can manage these symptoms before you leave. Are there over the counter meds you can pack just in case? Do you need to pack a water bottle to make sure you stay hydrated? Maybe you need to prioritize your meditation practice to manage your GI symptoms. Whatever you need, add it to your mental packing list for that next trip!
Still feel overwhelmed at the idea of stepping out of your home food routine? I love supporting clients to create flexible relationships with food.
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