Summertime, for the lucky ones, includes VACATION! For most of us, vacationing means a break from the routines of life. If you’re working towards becoming an intuitive eater, this lack of routine can feel stressful to maintain intuitive eating on vacation!

Have you ever thought to yourself:

“I’ll just let go on vacation, and get back on track when I get back?”

Um, if so, you are not alone. Perhaps a good place to start is by asking yourself:

“What is the goal of my vacation?” or “How do I want to feel when I return?”

For many of us, the goal is to return home feeling refreshed and relaxed. If you have that goal, read on for ways to support intuitive eating on vacation.

Don’t diet or restrict leading up to the trip.

Is a swimsuit involved on this upcoming vacation? If so, you might be feeling the desire to “get ready” for vacation by dieting or restricting. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to look and feel your best. But, we need to be cautious when efforts to look good lead to following a restrictive diet, detox, or exercise regimen. Not only is this unsustainable and harmful to your health, but it actually sets you up to overeat when you go on your vacation. This is a common pattern and your body’s way of saying, “don’t push me so hard! I’m going to retaliate!” Eating normal, well-balanced meals leading up to your trip will help to keep you satisfied and will lead to a much less chaotic way of eating during your travels.

Remember that intuitive eating on vacation is not a new set of rules.

‘Honor you hunger’ and ‘respect your fullness’ are two principles of intuitive eating, among 8 other important lessons to be learned and practiced. Listening to your hunger and fullness cues is a great skill to have, no doubt. This can help tame overeating and help you have a more enjoyable eating experience. Going with the flow and being flexible is also a very good skill to have. Also, vacation can include having to be flexible and going along with others’ schedules. If you’re worried about waiting until you have the perfect level of hunger to start eating, or feel like you should turn down dessert because you’re not “physically” hungry for it, then this can be causing you more stress than it’s worth and taking away from your overall vacation experience. So yes, please enjoy eating that ice cream cone with your family. They will relish the connection.

Eat every 3-4 hours.

Eating something, whether that be a snack or a meal, every 3-4 hours has been shown to stabilize blood sugar resulting in less cravings and overeating. This eating pattern can also be helpful if you’re not 100% confident in your ability to listen to your hunger and fullness cues just yet.

Packing snacks with you daily will help to keep you satiated and energized to feel your best and be fully present on your vacation. Remind yourself that feeling stuffed OR starving is going to distract you from what really matters; relaxing, seeing sights, being with family, etc.

Be open to trying new foods.

For some, one of the most exciting aspects of traveling is trying the local cuisine. Intuitive eating on vacation can be a stepping stone in your intuitive eating journey in which you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings surrounding new food choices. Keeping an open mind with foods may help you learn that you enjoy something you thought you would never like.

Stay away from all or nothing thinking.

Often, people get into a trap of thinking, “I ate [blank], now I should just eat everything else and start over tomorrow.” The feeling that if you didn’t do something perfectly, then everything is ruined. To quell this voice, take a step back and decide to make the right choice at the next eating opportunity. If you got a flat tire, would you get out and slash the other three? I hope not! If you overate, no big deal, just eat a normal meal or snack when you’re hungry next.

To learn more about intuitive eating or how to improve your relationship with food, check out our services, we would love to help you find your happy place.

 

 

 

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.