And did I mention the food? Best lasagna I've ever had in Roma. An amazing Greek salad in Crete. Delicious tapas and salads in Turkey. Italian wine. Gelato. Bread with olive oil. Ah, delizioso.
I traveled with a large group of friends, and during dinner one night towards the end of the cruise one of my fellow travelers, having overheard something I said about the fitness center on board, said to me, "you worked OUT on vacation??" I smiled and said, "yes I did, four times."
Listen, I have learned this lesson. My body does not know I am on vacation. It burns and stores fuel and fat the same way it does any other day of the year. I have been on vacations where I took my free pass with me (eat everything and anything) and felt terrible for weeks after the trip. I don't do that anymore. There is a way to be completely "on vacation", yet bring choices that honor and respect your health and your journey.
Here are some of my strategies. I would love to hear yours and share them with our fellow travelers.
Water, water, water. I took a water bottle with me and kept it full and in my bag. It helped a lot.
Every meal does not have to be a level ten food experience. Breakfast can just be breakfast. Save the level ten experiences for special meals while traveling.
Make lunch mostly plants. Every day I had a big salad or a plate of veggies with a little protein added. I skipped the carbs at lunch. It really helps to tell myself that there is nothing special about rice, potatoes, pasta, or bread. I can have them anytime. This kept me from getting into the carb cycle of eat too many, then crash and crave.
Dinner is meant to be savored with the people you love. I went to dinner every night with the intention that this gathering was about the people I was with, not the food. As a healing compulsive eater, this is hard but it helped a lot. The purpose of dinner is not to stuff myself full of as much food as possible, but to fill myself with as much love as possible.
Remember that food is abundant. I had to keep from getting into a feeding frenzy. I ate whatever I wanted for dinner, but kept portions small. If you have been on a cruise, you know you can get an appetizer, bread, soup, salad, entree and dessert every night. Think protein and veggies when you order. Then you can relax and eat all the courses.
Enjoy dessert! Keep it small, that's all.
Just like in daily life, find time to exercise. It was easy on the cruise. There is a beautiful fitness center with a treadmill that overlooks the Mediterranean. I did an hour of cardio in my target zone (see last week's newsletter!) and felt fantastic. I knew I was splurging on dinner, but I felt good knowing I was burning it off.
Lift weights. Yes, I lifted on the cruise. It was harder to do than cardio, but once I got started, it felt great. Keep that metabolism up, up, up and burning. And keep those muscles strong so when you get back, it's not like starting over.
I used to believe that vacations, holidays and gatherings were a free pass to eat anything and everything. That was one of the beliefs that kept me stuck. That is a LIE. It doesn't take away anything from vacation to treat yourself well. A food frenzy is not treating yourself well, it only feels like that if you are stuck feeling deprived in some area of your life. Fill up on the adventure, the people, the love that is in front of you and you won't need to fill up on food.
The best part is when you return from your vacation, you don't feel the compulsion to hop on the scale or go on a diet. You just keep on going on your journey. You stay on the path since you never got off the path. That is the key. Stay on the path of self respect whether you are at home or traveling. The reward is a feeling of self confidence and peace that is well worth the mindfulness needed to get there. Leave the free pass and take care of yourself wherever you go. You are worth it.