Last week, I returned home from a trip to Las Vegas with some college friends I had not seen for almost 5 years. It was a blast reconnecting and exploring the strip together.
If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you know that it’s a city of extremes (What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right?). In terms of food, Vegas also goes big... People come far and wide to partake in the buffets, eat at celebrity food restaurants, and enjoy drinking while walking down the street. My friends and I did just that and had a blast. As someone who really enjoys travel, its incredibly freeing to be able to enjoy food and the experience of eating while traveling.
But it was not always that way for me. If you’ve followed my story with food, in the past being at a buffet or being surrounded by “trigger foods” while traveling would have caused me incredible anxiety. Years ago, I struggled with binge eating, finding myself feeling eating until I was sick. During those years, I was obsessed with food and my weight… spending so many of my days planning out meals, counting calories, exercising intensely, and feeling defeated when I would succumb to a binge. I hid my struggle with food well because the friends I reconnected with this weekend had no idea about the battles with food I had every day.
I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have made peace with food these days. So what does eating look like after you heal your binge eating & relationship with food? Here’s what I can share from my own experience:
You prepare your snacks/meals to an extent but also allow room to try new things
These days, whenever I travel, I make sure I pack some healthy, enjoyable snacks for the plane (my current favorites are Rx bars, dried edamame, or some fruit). I prefer not to get caught in a situation where I’m ravenous and have to eat something I neither enjoy nor will my body enjoy. Having some enjoyable, healthy snacks on hand makes me feel secure, especially if I’m going somewhere new.
Of course, the degree of preparation someone makes to feel safe and secure will vary from person to person! This is what I find works for me!
2. I no longer count calories or think about food in terms of numbers. Instead, I eat based on what my hunger levels and satiety.
When I’m traveling, food is a big part of the experience for me. My friends went to check out “Wicked Spoon Buffet” - something that would trip me up in the past. It was an enjoyable experience to try different things!
When you learn to tune into your body, you no longer have to count or measure your food, but wherever you go your body’s natural hunger and satiety signals are available to you.
3. If you overeat or eat “something bad,” instead of beating yourself up, you just learn from the experience & wait until you’re hungry again.
Often having strict rules with food would lead me (and many of my clients) to feel guilty and beat ourselves up if we broke our rules. In my previous post about perfectionism, (Read “A Message to All my Current and Recovering Perfectionists”) I shared how the perfectionist mentality is addictive and dangerous, especially for those of us who have struggled with food.
Instead of an overeating situation leading to a shame and guilt spiral that then can lead to more binging, I may feel uncomfortable and “guilty” for a little while but I know if I just wait and take care of my body, I’ll soon reset and feel well again.
4. There are no longer foods that are “off-limits.” There are just foods I like, foods I don’t like, foods that make my body feel good after eating them, and foods that make my body feel like crap after eating them. I get to make the rules about what I eat.
Again, this is super freeing while you travel! The more you pay attention to your body and how it speaks to you, the more aligned you can be in making choices that honor your body & not have to rely so much on external tools.
(Also side note…Speaking of things that make you “feel shitty,” it was funny seeing how everyone was approaching alcohol differently since college. As we all approach 30, our body’s are definitely telling us it’s time to pay attention more! (ha!))
For me personally, traveling and time with friends is all about the experience. Whereas obsessing about food in the past would have detracted from that in the past, I’m so blessed to look back and see that I can have the best of both worlds these days and can focus on makingamazing memories and times with people I care about :).
These are just some of the perks I find happen when you heal your relationship with food. Do any of these perks really call out to you? What would the ideal relationship with food look like for you during travel? Feel free to comment below!
Stay well, eat well, and savor all that life has to give to you because life is simply too short not to
Above all, love,