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Eating Healthy on Vacation this Summer

picnic lunch; eating healthy on vacation
Enjoy your food this summer, but don't get too far off-track

Summer’s here and many of us like to travel and treat ourselves to special events. With those special events often come food that doesn’t fit with your sensible meal plan. (I say meal plan rather than diet because of the negative connotations with the word “diet”, and also because diets have an association with temporary for some people. Meal plan is a little more stable and less charged for most people). Here are some ideas for healthy eating this summer so you can stick to your meal plan without depriving yourself altogether of new culinary experiences and celebrations.

Shame-Free Eating

The first rule for any food or drink intake is that shame is not allowed. Most of the compulsive eaters I know link shame with eating and it just makes things worse, not better. Shame creates an internal experience of emptiness, and what do most people want to fill that emptiness within with? Food! So no shaming yourself. This doesn’t mean you just allow yourself to indulge in everything that strikes your fancy, but when you deviate from your plans, beating yourself doesn’t make you change your behavior for very long. It might “snap me into shape” initially, but it’s not sustainable. Think about it: If you regard yourself with negative emotions like shame, why should you try to take care of that same person? Shame usually makes people give up on efforts to improve themselves, because it’s a hopeless emotion.

Create Healthy Eating Alternatives for Yourself this Summer

If you are going to an event where you know there will be mostly unhealthy food available, pack a lunch that you bring for yourself and bring it in an ice chest. That eliminates the possible excuse, “Well, all the food that was available was unhealthy, and I didn’t want to be rude.” If anyone questions you about your food that you brought, you can just say, “All that food looks delicious; I just have specific food needs and I’m taking care of them.” Most hosts with healthy interpersonal boundaries will respect that.

One Deviation from Healthy Eating per Day

So that you don’t feel totally deprived, allow yourself one indulgence per day. Plan to savor and appreciate that “cheat” food thoroughly. Remember, no shame! If you get off track and have more than one indulgence, don’t let that be an excuse to abandon your plan to eat healthy altogether. It might well happen that you get carried away once in a while.

If you can tell yourself, “You went over the one cheat per day, but you can do better tomorrow,” that will be much more encouraging than “Look how badly you screwed up! You’re a loser!” I don’t know what you say to yourself about indulging, but sometimes people can be very harsh with themselves.

Set realistic expectations for yourself

If you’re expecting to lose weight on a road trip or a cruise, you can pretty much chuck that out the window. There will be a lot of temptations to get off track. If it happens, great! But expecting it might be setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment. Is that how you want to feel on your adventure? I wouldn’t think so. Maybe instead, make the goal of maintaining your current weight or not going more than five pounds over that. This will be hard enough, trust me. But you never know, you might surprise yourself!

Make Exercise Part of Your Healthy Eating Plan this Vacation

Even though you might be on vacation, try to still get some movement into your daily routine. If you’re taking a road trip, plan in some time for short walks or hikes, or even swims (my personal favorite). If you’re at a wedding, get up and dance (when appropriate). When you put calories in, it’s only fair to your body to burn some of them off too. Again, when you are aiming for movement and don’t make your mark, don’t shame yourself. Doing your best is all anyone can do, right?

Hopefully those ideas can keep you healthy, happy and fit this summer. If you have questions or would like to explore this more, please call Glen at 661-575-7135 today!


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