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After Vacation, Do Your Pants Still Fit?

I will be back in the USA tomorrow after traveling through Europe for more than three weeks. In some ways it will be good to be back with family and friends and in other ways I know I'll miss the adventure.

A big topic toward the end of the river cruise was how people were going to "buckle down" and get "back on track" once they got home. They talked about eating and sleeping better as well as taking up an exercise program. Some people even said they'd had enough pampering! (Is that even possible?!?) The implication is that we may indulge and have fun, however we will pay for it. And, this in turn, even though we may not be fully conscious of it, means we view our lives as drudgery, full of obligation and things we don't want to do.

Have you ever heard someone say, "I need a vacation to get over my vacation"? This is usually followed by the aforementioned list like needing to catch up on sleep/rest, get back to the gym and at the top of the list, losing all the weight gained on the trip. Sometimes it seems that even though a person might say they had a "wonderful time", they actually feel lousy when they return. What happens to us when we go away? It starts at home, before we leave.

Does self-care feel like a chore? Is there any pleasure in it? If you answer yes and no to these questions, you'll have a hard time knowing how to take care of yourself and fully enjoy your holiday. Instead of being grounded in what you know makes you feel good, you'll spend a lot of your time away rebelling.

Here's what I've observed: instead of understanding that a lot of processed food only tastes good for a few seconds and leaves us feeling overfull and a little ill and because we usually feel like we are depriving ourselves of this "treat", we throw caution to the wind and eat and drink way beyond any point of satisfaction. (In fact, it's very difficult to feel "satisfied" when food isn't meeting our nutritional requirements.)

Is there a solution to this? You betcha'! This is what I suggest:

  • Instead of thinking in terms of what you "have to" or "should" eat on a daily basis, look at it as "getting to" or "having the opportunity to" luxuriate in the enjoyment of really good food.

  • Don't eat anything you don't like! (Do I really need to suggest this?!?) However...

  • Be open to expanding your palate. Try new foods, spices, combinations.

  • If you've been mindlessly swallowing junk food, in your head you might think it tastes yummy, but did you know that research shows we hardly even taste anything past the first few morsels? One reason tapas are so popular is because we really savor the one or two bites. Eat smaller amounts and make it worth it.

  • Start noticing how you feel after a meal and make the connection between the content and the response. With just a little practice, you can learn to anticipate not feeling good and decide it's just not worth it to yield to the temptation. What's really calling to you, anyway?

  • Once you can identify certain foods that contribute nothing, zero, nada, zilch to your feeling your best, start thinking of them as anything but nourishment. Call it poison, dirt, or whatever you wouldn't think to put in your mouth. You deserve better!

  • If you do eat something that's probably not going to add nutritional points overall, please don't weep and wail about how "bad" you are for doing it. Savor it! Abandon yourself to it, fully. Make it count. Otherwise, you risk scarfing down twice as much all while calling yourself names.

If you do this, I guarantee that you will know what it is that you both love AND that leaves you feeling your best. So, when you're on vacation and you have a million choices ... be grateful, slow down, pick what you like and what likes you and keep the big picture in mind.

Any comments or questions? Please leave them below. I always love hearing from you!


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager whose mission is to co-create a happier, healthier life with and for others.

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