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Vacation vs. Harmony with Food

How you eat on vacation just might tell you why you’re spinning in circles with overeating.

When it comes to overeating, vacation is something a lot of people approach like the holiday season. They see overeating as inevitable and vacation as a reason to hit the pause button on plans for tackling it. “I’m not going to bother with starting any diet until I get back from vacation” or “I know I’ll gain a few pounds since I’ll be indulging” is the extent of planning many do for vacation meals. And to an extent, I would agree with those statements. Vacation is an opportunity to escape the demands of life, to rest, and enjoy freedom from the norm. However, the way you approach eating and overeating on vacation says a lot about how you think about food in general. When eating with abandon feels like freedom it can be a sign that you’re feeling deprived and restricted in your daily relationship with food.

There’s a big difference between achieving freedom from overeating or peace with food and struggling to perfectly control your environment. Dieting can set you up for what is known as deprivation thinking accompanied by a mindset where success is only achieved if you go without, stay strong, and are “winning” the battle with food. A deprivation approach (focusing on what you won’t eat, what you’ll make yourself do, or what you’ll do without) also sets you up with an all-or-nothing expectation and a mindset that “you’re either on your eating plan or you’re on vacation.” It doesn’t have to be an either-or situation.

Freedom from overeating is a life-long state that you achieve when you approach overeating or emotional eating with a transformational mindset. Instead of conquering the scale or battling with your eating, you learn how to take your power back from food so the struggle dissolves.

When you have peace with food and freedom from overeating, it no longer feels compelling or “free” to eat your way through vacation. Of course, you might indulge in some extra treats, but your daily relationship with food isn’t something you want to take a vacation from.

A deprivation mindset doesn’t set you up to bring anything home with you that remotely resembles peace and rejuvenation in terms of nourishment, but it will give you a sense of guilt, shame, bloating, exhaustion and the need to start over. In fact, it reinforces that vacation debauchery is in fact deprivation.

The secret to freedom and making peace with food is to move past the deprivation mindset and transform the way you think about food. The easiest approach begins with making some decisions prior to vacation. This gives you control, making your choices proactive instead of reactive.

Key questions to ask yourself:

*How do I want to feel at the end of my vacation?

*How would I eat, if feeling this way was my only goal?

*Are there certain rules I want to implement before I leave for vacation (ie. A 2 drink maximum, or only having fruit as my dessert)?

*How will I support my goals?

Are you eating to live or living to eat?

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