I just got back from ten days in Belize and I thought I’d be helpful to share the 3 things I do before any out of routine eating (meaning anything where I’m not at home making my own food 🙂 ).
Vacations, trips, long weekends, parties…anything that I couldn’t control used to send me into a binge for weeks after I got back. It was terrifying for me to feel like I didn’t have control.
To help you feel sane & normal around food when you’re on vacation, at an event or a party, keep this blog post handy!
Here are the 3 things I do before any out of routine eating:
Whether it’s a ten day backpack trip, a weekend away to the mountains, a few days visiting family or any other event where I don’t have “control” over my food, I ALWAYS make sure to pack snacks.
(**I may be viewed as that weird woman who always has food in her purse…but that’s ok 🙂 )
Look at packing snacks as a way to take care of yourself and keep your body fueled throughout the day.
If I completely go with the flow, assume other people have figured out meals, and just assume that I’ll eat when I get hungry, I’m setting myself up to fail.
In our normal lives, it may work to do less planning, but when we’re on a trip or visiting friends, we’re always at the mercy of other people’s schedules and plans!
When I go anywhere (even out to run errands!), I’ll pack snacks in my car or purse.
Going to Belize, I wasn’t sure what kind of snacks would be available so I packed granola bars, protein bars, a bag of nuts and dried fruit, a bunch of packets of peanut butter and some dark chocolate 😉 Literally, 1/2 my backpack was snacks. It felt like I was overdoing it, but it was amazing to have snacks (especially in a foreign country) that I was familiar with.
Having food on hand helps us to keep our blood sugar levels even. (This is what helps you not rely on willpower…keeping your body balanced allows you to think and be more aware of the choices you make around food.)
This proved to be immensely helpful when we were traveling on the bus, exploring out on a tour, relaxing out on the ocean, or being any place where we didn’t have access to food.
I was able to keep my blood sugar even and never get to that hangry place of “I’m absolutely starving and MUST HAVE FOOD”.
It might seem excessive to plan and pack a million snacks, but I was reminded of how important this on the second to last day.
We went out on this cave tour that started at 8:30. We ate breakfast at 7:30. No food was allowed inside the cave (we were swimming through creeks/caverns and it was also an ancient mayan religious site, so no food!).
At about 11, I was getting hungry and we were about 3 miles inside the cave with no food in sight. I asked the guide, “So, um…when is lunch?!” because I knew lunch was provided. (He said at the end, I just about lost it…I was HUNGRY, man!)
We didn’t end up eating lunch until about 2 and by this point I was RAVENOUS. Lunch wasn’t much (a small helping of rice, beans and chicken that didn’t have a ton of meat on it) and I was still really hungry when I was done.
Those old tapes of “well, now you ate lunch, so you shouldn’t be hungry” came up and when we got back to the hotel, I kept thinking “No! You don’t need to order food. You just ate!”
But the problem was that I was still really hungry!
So I snacked. I had leftovers from the fridge and then an entire sleeve of ginger cookies. And I still wanted more!
(And then I was mad at myself for eating the cookies, when in reality, I should have just ordered more lunch!).
My lesson in all of this was just how important it is to plan. If I had asked ahead of time, brought a bar to eat before we went into the cave, I would have felt much more balanced along the way.
I always try to make sure I don’t get to the point where I’m starving and want to eat an entire house. Our choices aren’t sane when we get to that place!
Plan Your Day.
This may seem similar to the first one, but I do both of these sort of separately. (And it speaks to just how important they are to help keep you feeling okay in your eating!)
Each day, I took a quick look at what we were doing, so I had a general idea of when we would be eating. (The cave tour above was the exception…I didn’t ask and thus, wasn’t prepared for it!)
Yes, it may be super awkward to keep asking when you’re eating lunch or what the plan is for dinner, but it helps you be better prepared for when/what you’ll be eating.
It’s not coming from an obsessive, “I’m thinking about food all day” place. This planning is a way to consistently nourish your body with fuel. It’s also a wonderful way to show yourself you’re taking care of yourself!
I used to be embarrassed to ask about meals or speak up and tell someone that I needed to eat.
And if you have weight to lose, this can be especially difficult. At my heaviest, I felt like people were judging me for wanting or needing to eat!
But what I realized is that taking care of ME was (and is) the most important.
I knew I would binge later in the day if I didn’t plan well. And I knew if I went a long time without eating, I’d be much more likely to inhale 6 appetizers, rush through my salad, stuff my face with dinner, and then keep looking for more, more more…
So I decided feeling embarrassed and weird was better than binging 🙂
When my parents come to visit me, they love eating a huge breakfast and big dinner. I’m the total opposite, so I make sure we stop to grab a sandwich or something to-go throughout the day. It helps me feel balanced and able to be in the moment to enjoy them 🙂
Planning is KEY when you’re out of your routine to help you make more conscious choices around food 🙂
Reassure myself “I’m able to trust my body”.
Often times on vacation, I’ll have minor freak outs when I think “OMG, am I gaining weight?!” and “Can I REALLY ate dessert 3 nights in a row and be okay?!”.
Eating out of our routine can be scary because we tend to feel more out of control. We don’t have control over portion sizes and we usually eat more of the foods we shy away from at home.
This is when I’ll remind myself over and over again:
I can trust my body.
My body knows what she’s doing.
I’m allowed to enjoy dessert if I want it.
My body always balances out.
And the longer I’m out of my routine, the more I need to remind myself of this! I was away for 10 days and towards the end, I was feeling really off in my body.
I made a point to remind myself that even if I ate more than normal, even if I indulged in dessert multiple times, even if I was afraid that I gained weight, my body knows what she’s doing. She will always come back to balance.
I know I can get those “I feel fat” thought when I feel like I’m not in control. So I remind myself of that and work to keep enjoying & allowing my food.
When I get back from the event/vacation/time away, I also know that I love to work out and make really nourishing choices because it helps me FEEL better after those days away.
It’s Your Turn Now…
I hope these tips help you the next time you’re away and out of your routine. I’d love to hear how you help yourself when you’re on vacation or a trip away! Share below…your tips may help inspire other readers to incorporate your suggestions into their “out of routine” events 🙂