Intuitive Eating While on Vacation

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes just in time for the mid-end of summer vacation that you might be planning.


It comes from a woman who has been following my work for over a year and was ready to speak about starting her intuitive eating journey. At the end of our talk, she asks me:


“Do you think this is the right time for me to start this journey? I have a vacation coming up, and then the kids are starting school again…” (she speaks quietly and her voice trails off.)


As I began to answer her question, she stops me and says, “this is my diet mentality speaking, isn’t it?”


Yes, it is!


Remember the last time you were thinking of starting another diet? You would think to yourself that maybe it wasn’t the right time? You had so much going on and you feared you would not be able to ‘stick’ to the diet.


When you apply the same thought process to either starting your intuitive eating journey, or continuing it as you plan your vacation, this is your diet mentality speaking.


Here are 4 tips to help you navigate your intuitive eating journey during your vacation.

1. Stay strong against the chatter in your head that is screaming “I have to lose 10 pounds before vacation!” This will only put you back into diet mentality and onto the latest quick fix which will keep you riding the dieting roller coaster. Continue on your intuitive eating journey with confidence. And, if you are contemplating starting the journey, now’s as good a time as any.

2.  Be aware of mindless snacking while vacationing. Oftentimes when you’re on vacation, you have less structure to your day. You might be laying on the beach where your friends are passing around the snacks; or touring through a new city, walking the streets and trying the local fare. So just pay attention and have an awareness of whether you’re hungry or not before you dig into the snacks.

3. Be prepared. Whether you are sitting at the pool, lying on the beach, in an amusement park or on a full day tour, you are going to get hungry at some point. It’s very important to be prepared and have snacks with you so you don’t have to wing it. Remember, one of the principles of intuitive eating is to honor your hunger. If you wait too long, you tend to not choose the most healthful choices and you tend to overeat, so be prepared.

4. Stop when you’re comfortably satisfied and not when you’re overly full. I know when you’re on vacation it’s so tempting, especially if you’re at a resort hotel which is all inclusive. This means that all the food and beverages (including alcohol) is included in what you’re paying for the hotel. It’s very tempting to just eat and eat and eat to “get your money’s worth”. This is not staying true to your intuitive eating journey.


Honor yourself and honor your body by paying attention, being aware and making conscious food and beverage decisions. Stop when you’re comfortably satisfied so that you can enjoy your vacation without regret and without guilt.


Which of these tips will you focus on during your summer vacation? Let me know in the comments below.




5 Steps to Eating Intuitively While on Vacation

KayakingMany clients express the stress they feel right before going on vacation about the weight they “inevitably” will gain.  They talk about going on a “diet” to lose a few pounds before they go away, since they’ll be eating differently.


Does this sound like you? If your mindset is wrapped around being good or bad, on or off, what you can and can’t eat, you will likely overindulge on vacation and you will feel guilty afterwards.


Yes, it is true we all expect to eat differently while on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat like it’s your last supper.  Use your intuitive eating strategies to help you respond to the change in your eating pattern and adjust.  You CAN eat the dessert you crave by learning to savor it so you don’t go for seconds.  If you trust in the process, you’ll be able to keep your body and mind happy.


Here are 5 steps you can take to eat intuitively on vacation:


  1. Tune into your body.

If you are craving that Pina Colada or frozen margarita, have it!  If you want dessert, have it!  If you are truly listening to your body, you won’t overindulge and you’ll be able to stop eating or drinking when you want too.

  1. Trust your body.

Trusting your body and the intuitive eating process will help you enjoy your vacation even more.  You will most likely eat more than your used too because you’re trying new foods, but you need to trust that your body will respond intuitively and tell you when you’ve had enough.

  1. Make time for breakfast and lunch.


Vacations often mean sleeping late, missing breakfast and an overall erratic eating schedule (except dinner).  But, your priority should be starting your day off with breakfast and packing a lunch to take with you, or planning a lunch stop in your itinerary.  It’s easy to get caught up in all of the activities, but if you skip a meal, you’re more likely to overindulge at dinner.  It’ll be harder for you to listen to your body telling you its full.


  1. Be mindful when you eat out.


Vacations generally mean eating out at restaurants, and that also means more courses and larger portions.  New foods and more choices does not mean you need to eat like there is no tomorrow.  If you’re listening to your body, you’ll eat until you are satisfied with the new flavors.  You may eat a few more bites, but you’ll be able to stop yourself before you overeat.


  1. Pack your favorite snacks for a busy day.


It can be easy to forget to pack snacks when you’re busy with activities, but it is important.  Take the few extra minutes before you leave to pack a goodie bag of pre-portioned snacks.  It can be almonds, fruit, veggies, etc.  Your body will thank you when you’re not starving heading into lunch or dinner.


Your vacation is a time for relaxation and happy times and should not coincide with “giving up” your intuitive eating practice.  Be mindful and always listen to your body and your vacation will become even more enjoyable.


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Did You Have a Vacation Mindset Around Food this Summer?

Pool 2015I’m sorry to say that the summer is almost over! Someone asked me today when my daughter starts school, and I had to admit I didn’t know. I just love the summer. The warm weather, the relaxed attitude and vacation time.


This month I actually went on vacation TWICE! This is not like me. But, it’s all part of MY Self-Care Plan. It’s important to stop and take a break and re-energize.


My first vacation was with my husband for 5 days…no kids, just us. It was wonderful. One thing we did that we never have time to do at home is to eat out at restaurants. We actually ate out every evening! The second vacation was a short 2 days with another two couples.


My clients often worry when they are preparing to go away on vacation. They worry about the food they will eat, how much weight they will gain and they often go into “vacation mindset”.


What is “vacation mindset” you ask?


“Oh, I’m on vacation, I’ll enjoy myself and start my diet (or start over) when I get home.”


Yikes. Have you ever said this to yourself? Well, it’s okay if you have, but make a commitment from the moment you read this blog that you won’t fall prey to the “vacation mindset” again.


You see, when you say this to yourself, you are giving yourself permission to eat beyond your point of satisfaction, to eat and snack mindlessly because you are on vacation. And then when you return home, you are upset with yourself and start the negative self-talk and body bashing and probably promise never to do that again. But, you do.


Moving away from this mindset means you are respecting your body each and every day, no matter if you are on vacation or not. Staying tuned in and aware while choosing the foods you love will enable you to have pleasure in your meals and feel strong in your body.


This is the power of being an intuitive eater.


I enjoyed my vacations, and I enjoyed every meal that I ate. I didn’t worry about my food choices, I stayed tuned in and aware. You can too! I’m here to help you if you need me.


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I Ate a Feta Cheese Veggie Quiche. Would You?

Have I mentioned recently how wonderful it is to be an intuitive eater? Yes, I know I have and my hope is that you are moving forward on your intuitive eating journey.


I want to share an example of why it’s so wonderful to be an intuitive eater.


I’m just back from vacation visiting my parents in Florida. The sunshine was fabulous, and it was really nice to relax and spend time with family. One evening, my husband and I went out to dinner. As I looked over the menu, I wasn’t quite sure what I was in the mood for, and then my eyes landed on the Feta Cheese Veggie Quiche. I decided that THAT was exactly what I wanted. I was contemplating ordering one of the dinner salads (which also sounded delish), but when I read the description on the quiche, I really knew that this was what I wanted at that moment.


Never having ordered a dish like this before, I wondered what it would look like. When it arrived, I was very pleased. The piece of quiche came with two types of side salads drizzled with dressing. I started to eat, savoring every bite. I put my fork down in between each biteful so I can focus on the food that was in my mouth, and not the next forkful.


You may be reading this and wondering why was this so special. I’ll tell you why.


Before I became an intuitive eater, I followed a “healthy meal plan” and would NEVER have ordered this quiche dish in a restaurant. I would have figured it was too fatty, greasy and cheesy. I would have ordered either an egg white veggie omelet with salad and baked potato (which I still love by the way) or one of those dinner salads I mentioned earlier, even if I really wanted the quiche. I would have gone the “safe” route which really limited my eating pleasure.


But now, I asked myself what I really wanted to eat in that moment, and when the answer was the Feta Cheese Veggie Quiche, I went with it and I enjoyed every bite. No guilt, no worry, just pure pleasure.


For many of you reading this, if you struggle with yo-yo dieting and a diet mentality, it is very likely when you go on vacation you think like this: “It’s vacation, I’m going to eat what I want and start my diet when I get back”. We both know that this way of thinking leads to overeating and weight gain and continuation of the vicious cycle of dieting.


Bottom line is this: you can eat what you love and eat intuitively and mindfully while on vacation (and even when you are not on vacation).


Your turn to take action: Choose a food or menu item this week that you would never think of eating if you were on a diet. Eat it mindfully, tuning into your satiety signals, and describe the experience below.