As summer is ramping up we are getting closer to the time of year where people are taking holidays and getting away from the every day to enjoy time off in new or familiar places. I believe vacations are such an important part of our wellness because they allow us to escape and reflect on things that we feel too busy to enjoy in our day to day lives. One of my favorite parts of the holidays I have taken is exploring the local culture through their food. People in different parts of the world sometimes eat very differently than we do here and I believe we can learn a lot about their culture, values and lifestyle by digging into their local cuisine.
A few years ago I wrote this blog and it seemed to resonate for quite a few people so I wanted to post it again in hopes it will prevent you from coming back home from something amazing, only to punish yourself for your wonderful experiences.
The purpose of taking holidays is to escape from the everyday, relax and enjoy yourself. A big part of escaping the everyday is enjoying the local food and eating differently than how you would normally eat. This is not my way of saying you should punish yourself with food, but rather giving yourself permission to eat what you want while away without making yourself feel guilty.
What’s the difference? Punishing yourself with food can look like a lot of different things but one is unconsciously eating food and as much of it as possible without taking the time to enjoy it. In your day-to-day life I believe very strongly in listening to your body and what it is asking for. While I think it is awesome to apply this across the board I also believe sometimes it is nice to simply eat because it seems and/or is delicious. When I was last on vacation in Europe, I gave myself permission to enjoy as many pastries as I wanted. I have a hard time believing that my body was craving as many sweets as I ate while over there. I ate them because we happened to walk by a bakery and their options looked delicious. There were many times when I could have just as easily ordered soup and salad for lunch (likely what my body wanted) but I opted for the pizza. Give yourself permission to step outside of your usual routine and enjoy it.
What is the biggest trick to being successful at this? Coming home and not putting yourself on a diet. I must admit, there was a part of me when I was meal planning that told myself I should cut out all sugar (minus fruit) so my body could detox from the multiple daily bakery pit stops. But then I realized that by doing that I am basically punishing myself for having a great time and enjoying my holiday. So instead I planned my meals based on what I know my body typically craves and looked up some recipes for healthy muffins. Coming home and putting yourself on a diet isn’t going to make you feel better. Nor will coming home and stepping on the scale right away. Its possible, even likely, that you may put on weight when you are away on holidays. Instead of beating yourself up for it and increasing your stress, respect yourself enough to realize that you will release this weight as you get back to your usual eating habits.
My words of advice?
When you are on vacation enjoy it in every way. That is the whole purpose of a vacation. Listen to your body but also give yourself permission to have a little fun and enjoy things you might not have the opportunity to enjoy at home.When you get home, take a deep breath and don’t sabotage all the good that came from your holiday. Realize that what is most important now is not dieting but rather conscious eating and giving your body the foods you know it responds best to. Meal plan so that you don’t have to worry about what you are going to have for dinner and just need to go through the process of making it.
I’m off for tea and a walk up in whistler with some girlfriends today (a mini vacation of sorts!). Let me know where you’re going this summer and any amazing things you are excited to try!