Holiday Travel Without Food Anxiety

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The Holidays are coming up which means SO many women will be TRAVELING! I honestly used to have a love/hate relationship with traveling. I really loved visiting and exploring new places, but the anxiety I had around what I would eat or how much weight I’d gain from dining out was unreal. I remember 11 years ago, like it was yesterday, going to New York City which was so exciting! As I was doing final packing the morning of my flight, I had the grand idea (actually the worst idea) to weigh myself. And when I did, I saw I was THREE pounds above what I thought I should be. This truly devastated me, and all I could think about on my trip to the Big Apple was what I’d eat, and how I would sneakily skip meals to drop those last three pounds without my family and friends noticing. 

Before I knew it, my vacation was over and my main takeaway was wondering if I dropped those three pounds. After reflecting on this, I knew I needed to make some changes. And what I’ve learned over the last 11 years has transformed my enjoyment with vacations and traveling. And you can do this too so you can travel this holiday season with food freedom! Here are three nuggets of truth that helped me, and I know they’ll help you too!

1. One meal will not make or break your health. Actually one day of eating, one week of eating, or even several weeks of eating will not make or break your health. What you eat consistently over time is what matters, you don’t need to be perfect! There is no way of knowing the exact nutrition information when you dine out. That’s the beauty of it too, right?! Chefs’ all prepare food slightly different, which is exciting because that means there is always a little original twist with your meals! Vacation and traveling is a great time to unwind, have people serve YOU, and eat fun new foods. If you find yourself stressing over eating out of routine, remind yourself that your body is amazing and doesn’t need a static meal plan. There is nothing wrong with variety and your health will not be jeopardized by having some fun and eating tasty food on vacation!

2. You don’t have to finish your plate. Do what you WANT! Don’t overthink it. The less you restrict foods at home and in your everyday life, the easier it will be to listen to your body and honor your fullness when dining out on vacation. There’s no right or wrong here- if you want to finish your meal, great! If you don’t, great! I do recommend doing a mid-meal check-in to assess your fullness level and how much you are enjoying your food. This doesn’t mean you need to stop eating, it’s simply a mindful practice to help you get more intune with your body. So often eating becomes a mindless activity, void of listening to body cues. Instead of telling yourself each bite will be your last, and feeling unable to stop, ask yourself what you want actually want to do. Do you want to keep eating, or are you satisfied and want to stop? Remember, eating is supposed to be an enjoyable experience and feeling satisfied from the food you eat is important.

3. Focus on the positives! It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your head about how many calories, fat grams or oil are in your food that it’s also easy to forget about enjoying the actual eating and traveling experience. Instead of dwelling on your anxiety and what you can’t control, make a list of all the positives and things you will enjoy while traveling. Here are a few examples: trying new foods, spending time with loved ones, exploring a new city, relaxing, having time off work, strengthening your relationship with your husband, etc. Retraining your mind to hone in on positives like this, while pushing away negative thoughts, will help you enjoy your trip so much more and not worry about the food situation. Our minds are SO powerful and I cannot stress that enough – what we think affects our emotions, which then affects our behaviors and how we act. Want to change the way you feel and act around food when traveling? Start with getting your mindset in a positive place.

Above all, remember that God wants you to enjoy eating with others, and you deserve to enjoy dining out with friends and loved ones when traveling. Use your faith to help you overcome guilt, stress and anxiety around food during these times and remember Ecclesiastes 9:7:

7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.  

Now, comment below and let me know what you are most looking forward to when traveling this holiday season!

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