I have travelled twice on my own for many months at a time.
The first time, I travelled to Uganda, and it was the first time I travelled on my own. I was 20 years old. And I got homesick. And I comfort ate. A lot.
The second time, I was in my late twenties, and I travelled to New England, USA where I’d always wanted to go. This time, I felt that my healed relationship with food totally flourished whilst I was there.
Two very different travelling experiences.
I know what it can be like to be out of your routine, and to seek comfort.
When we travel it can be difficult to feel a sense of being okay, because the food is different, our routines are different, and we are out of sync with our old rhythms.
Do you enjoy traveling? Have you found it interrupts with your eating?
Here are my tips:
1. Be kind to yourself.
Give yourself a break if you find yourself comfort eating. You need to expect it, and let the holiday be a chance to relax your tight control over eating. Know that you are going to do this ahead of the travelling and you’ll cope a bit better.
2. Don’t control food – but use time instead.
If you hate that sense of losing all control, then may I suggest you plan your eating via time, instead of calories. This means that you get a sense of feeling grounded when everything else is out of your control. Pick times when you can eat, and when you aren’t going to eat, and it gently helps you to feel you know where you are!
3. Move Your Body
Use the time away to go walking, to swim, to explore. Getting up, and going out and about helps us in many ways. Movement can really help an agitated mind. When we are used to having food goals, it will feel odd to feel like you aren’t sticking to them on holidays. Walking places and doing stuff feels like you are achieving stuff. Which leads to my next point.
4. Plan Your Days
To give yourself something to look forwards to helps keep your happy dopamine hormone a-flowing. I have very worn copies of my Lonely Planet Guides as they helped me feel like I knew where I was going, and what I was doing. It gave me some structure to my days, and my guides made me feel that I was in more control of my experience when my eating wasn’t something I could plan so much!
5. Don’t Forget the Basics
You’ll probably eat loads of weird foods you’ve never eaten before. Remember the basics, eat plenty of fruit and veg to make sure you aren’t too sugared out and buzzed up, and drink plenty of water. But other than that, enjoy your food. Meaning – slow down, chew it, savour it, connect with it, and use it as a part of an exciting adventure. I still remember some of the amazing flavours of foods that I tasted on my adventures. When I went to Uganda, I ate a lot of plantain and groundnut and I can still recall that flavour!
Being out of a routine can be tough. But practice some deep breathing and calming yoga techniques you can use when you are abroad. Anything helps!
I hope you found this little guide useful.
Happy travels and happy eating!
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