Traveling can be stressful! Especially if you are on an intuitive eating journey of healing your relationship with food and your body.
It can feel overwhelming to figure out how to translate the knowledge and tools you have been working on to a different, and most likely new, environment.
Keep reading to learn my five intuitive eating tips for when you are traveling from an intuitive eating dietitian!
Do you get stressed about how to intuitively eat when traveling?
I hear this a lot from my clients. They may have gotten into a good routine at home with food and movement and they are nervous about “messing it up”.
However, the best part about intuitive eating is that there is absolutely no way to “mess up” or do it wrong. Intuitive eating is a lifelong journey of getting to know your body better. Traveling can actually be a therapeutic way to expose yourself to uncomfortable situations, which will ultimately lead to a stronger trust in yourself and your body.
I hear you, let’s chat about it.
I recently traveled to California and got to thinking about the best travel tips I could give to someone who is in a position of vacation-food-stress, so here is my round-up:
1. Pack your Intuitive Eating tools.
The innate ability to listen to your body and honor it’s needs can luckily travel with you anywhere. Although you may be out of your normal routine, tuning into your hunger and fullness is not something that only exists in your home. You can still aim to eat regular meals and snacks, include all foods in your diet without guilt, practice gentle nutrition, and move your body when it feels good. Here’s an example: if you are with a group of people who don’t typically eat breakfast, but you wake up and your body is asking for some nourishment, then you can honor that by choosing to make or buy breakfast for yourself because you are attuned to your needs.
2. Balance your physical and mental needs.
Ask yourself what your body needs to feel good in this moment, and what your mind needs to feel satisfied in this moment. Physical nourishment is just as important as mental nourishment when it comes to having a healthy relationship with food. Here’s an example: If you’ve mostly only had carbs at your meals throughout the day (such as a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast and PB + J and pretzels for lunch) and it’s now dinner time, you can use your knowledge of nutrition to aim to eat a balanced meal that includes protein and color in addition to carbs. If you notice you’re also craving something salty and crunchy, try to add that element to your meal as well for mental satisfaction.
3. Allow for flexibility.
You will most likely not have the same eating routine on vacation as you do at home. This is normal and perfectly fine. It’s sometimes nice to break a routine every once in a while too! Flexibility is a key component of any sustainable eating pattern. This is one reason why diets are impossible to maintain long-term; they don’t account for flexibility when it comes to eating out, traveling or other spontaneous eating occasions. And that is just part of life! On vacation, you will most likely have to consider needs outside of your own, too. Taking into account the needs and preferences of other people you may be traveling with is also important. In addition, you may plan activities during typical meal or snack times which also requires you to go with the flow a little bit. Again – this is all part of life! When you are an intuitive eater, you have peace with the fact that things will not always go according to plan.
4. Remember that vacations are meant to be special.
And special implies something different from the norm. Oftentimes traveling offers unique foods that you may not be able to experience again. Take advantage of this! Eat your favorite ice cream that you can only find at the Jersey Shore. Enjoy the New England lobster roll that you’ve never tried before. Savor the Nashville hot chicken sandwich you’ve seen all over Instagram. Food is more than just physical fuel, existing solely to lead you to “optimal health”. Food is connection, culture, and celebration too. Vacation is a time to have new experiences and create new memories. Try to focus on the positive and stay in the moment as best as you can. You won’t have the same opportunity twice.
5. Show yourself compassion.
If you fall back into old patterns on your trip, forgive yourself. If you notice more negative self-talk than normal, forgive yourself. Take a deep breath and acknowledge that recovery is not linear. There may be times when you feel more in touch with your needs, and times when you struggle. Remember that big feelings come and big feelings go. Your feelings are valid AND you will not feel this way forever. You can even use one of these intuitive eating mantras to ground yourself.
Intuitive Eating and Travel: The Takeaway
Hopefully, one of these five steps resonated with you and helps you out on your next travel destination! Remember that your health journey will look unique to you, so it’s okay to go with the flow while you are traveling.
Our team of dietitians at Wholesome Chick Nutrition can guide you in finding your flow with food so that you can have stress-free vacations, when it comes to food at least ;)! Check out our services and schedule your free discovery call today! There is no better time to invest in your health.
Wanting to binge more content? Check out my blog post on 5 steps to a more positive body image this summer!