There’s a thought among a lot of women that you have to diet or restrict before going on a summer vacation, or attend a wedding, or reuniting with old friends for a high school reunion. But I’ve made the decision to eat well and not diet prior to my vacation this week. Read on to find out why…
There’s this excitement that comes with dieting. The thought of being able to look a certain way, feel in control of your body, and gain confidence is what drives a lot of us to diet before a big event. But any type of restriction or diet leaves you believing a lie…that through following set rules and regulations about what you eat and how you move you’ll feel better about yourself and be changed forever.
I’ve been there. I remember exercising longer and harder as well as skimping on meals prior to going to the beach where I’d have to wear a bikini. And when on vacation, I would be sure to keep meals “light” so as to not have to show the world my bloated belly. But this time, I’m eating what I would normally and not skimping on meals before my trip to Puerto Rico this week. I’m exercising as I normally do, not over doing it, but moving because it feels good. Calories and fat burning haven’t been on my radar.
Think about yourself. Does this scenario sound familiar?
You’ve got a cruise planned for the end of the summer. You feel like you should loose a few pounds beforehand so you can “look and feel better” about yourself. Maybe you sign up with Beach Body or another weight loss group for the accountability. Maybe you even purchase a new dress or bathing suit as motivation to get slimmer. You spend the month up to the vacation restricting and over-exercising just to loose that “last 5 pounds”.
Maybe you lost a few pounds and feel pretty good going into the trip. But now that you’ve “reached your destination” with your weight and vacation, you find yourself over-indulging and over-eating. You think to yourself, “I deserve this after the months of deprivation!”
But then the moment you get home and try on your favorite jeans, the reality of your trip sinks in. All the weight you lost before the trip is back on… and then some.
This is the situation so many women find themselves in with summer vacations. What starts off as one “innocent” diet turns into a cycle of being on a diet and restricting, to being off the diet and indulging. Maybe you’ve heard the term “yo-yo dieting”. Dieting before an event inevitably sets you up for failure.
So, Paul and I are headed to Puerto Rico at the end of this week and the only “preparation” I’m doing besides packing is trying to get a little sun on my skin in small doses so I don’t completely fry down there! I’m not dieting. I’ve actually been enjoying pasta, and pizza, and wine, and cookies…with no shame, might I add! I’ve been exercising a couple times during the week including runs with my dog, Sadie, and a little yoga here and there, and walks, but never exercising out of a feeling of obligation to loose weight or counter-act something I ate. But there’s never been a thought of loosing weight before the trip.
I know the harm that dieting can do to my mind…and body, and I’m just not going there!
Dieting and restriction before vacation causes you to neglect natural hunger and fullness cues, both before the trip when you’re dieting, but then during the trip when you indulge. It reiterates in your brain that your self-worth relies on a number on the scale or a size of clothing. It promotes weight gain from restricting for a period of time and then over-indulging when the diet rules are lifted. It promotes a fear of food and yourself when you can’t continue restricting any longer. It puts power in the hands of the diet and leaves you power-less when you’re off the diet.
Here’s what vacation could look like for you if you choose to not diet, but instead choose to eat a well balanced array of nutritious foods as well as fun-foods that a diet would restrict.
You listen to natural hunger and fullness cues before the vacation and during the vacation for a balanced diet that flows seamlessly into post-vacation life. You’re able to indulge on the trip, but know that it’s just food and you can indulge when you get home…no need to go over-board on dessert because there’s freedom for dessert when you’re not on vacation! You maintain a steady weight, not worrying about loosing weight, but feel comfortable in your body NOW, as it is. You’re able to enjoy yourself on vacation doing things that don’t focus on food because you know you can eat what you want at home. You keep the power over what you eat, not allowing restriction to rule what foods you can or cannot have.
Doesn’t that sound so much better? By ditching the pre-vacation diets, you’ll find a beautiful balance of healthy eating that spans every season you go through. You’ll be able to enjoy healthy foods (with fun-food too!) not only on vacation, but whenever you want at home because they’re not restricted. “Vacation food” can be your everyday food when you change your thoughts leading up to a trip or big event from restricting to including.
And that is why I’m not dieting or restricting before my summer vacation!
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