Whenever I talk to anybody after they've been on vacation, one thing they almost always mention is how much weight they've gained, as in, "I had a great time and now I have to pay for it. I've got to get back on track." It always makes me feel a little sad that they feel like there's this big downside to enjoying themselves.
You know I'm not big on should-ing ourselves, but having a good time should be just that. It should mean feeling better than usual and being able to bask in that glow for at least a few days when we get home. It shouldn't mean getting more and more uncomfortable while away and then, having to face tight clothes upon return.
So, what happens when we travel?? Based on my observations, it starts long before we head out. Can you relate to my Monday Quote this week?
"I can love and be grateful for my body, no matter
what size or shape it is AND,
I also get to care for it and recognize that it is
lovable and worthy of my gratitude."
This is a philosophy to adopt and carry with us whether we are in our every day or off on an adventure. This can be a constant, regardless of what else is going on. I'm especially aware of this as I am in the middle of the second week of my Portugal experience.
At home, I have a good routine around what I eat, based on guidelines I've adopted from Weight Watchers. In fact, I'm about to release exactly what I eat and how I "see" food and nutrition and stay fit and healthy and I'll share it in a couple of weeks with all of you and any new subscribers to my weekly messages. The only time I feel "deprived" around food is when something else (unrelated to food and bothersome) is going on that I don't want to address or if I'm thirsty (because I haven't been drinking enough water) or I've ignored my usual schedule for fueling my active body or something along those lines.
In addition to all of that, I pay very close attention to indulging in pleasure, every day. It might mean sleeping in a little or taking a nap. It could be that I buy flowers for my home. I regularly buy tickets to events or shows that interest me. Sometimes, all it takes is spending thirty minutes or even an hour watching tango dancers on YouTube. While I do relish good food (and everything I eat is nutritious and supports all my senses), it's by far not the only part of my life where I find delight.
Here in Portugal, one can find a pastel de nata everywhere. It's a small tart made of
puff pastry and filled with an egg custard. The story goes that some monks needed to make more money and had an excess of egg yolks since they used so many egg whites to starch their habits and other clothing. This delicious sweet was born and is considered to be almost a symbol of the country. It would be very easy to consume several of these a day and, in fact, it feels as if one is encouraged to do so! Fortunately, I prefer less sweet, more savory food. Also, even though I've indulged in one of these pastels, I don't feel a need to have more. It's more about my mindset which includes cherishing my body and knowing what it needs to function optimally. When we can learn to get one step beyond the want, we are on the path to true self-care. It's not always an easy philosophy to follow, but well worth it when achieved.
When we can learn to get one step beyond the want, we are on the path to true self-care.
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It also does not serve us to feel guilty about eating something. Dr. Christiane Northrup explains it like this: "Pleasure releases a molecule in the body called nitric oxide, which actually improves our health by signaling to do things like increase our blood flow." This means that if we have some delicious food that we are consciously craving because it's just so dang yummy, and we eat it but feel guilty, we're actually doing ourselves harm. Not because of the actual decadent splurge, but because we've shut down the path for nitric oxide.
Here's what I suggest ... start making small steps toward taking care of yourself in a sustainable way, preferably before going on holiday (although you can become quite mindful when in a different environment without the usual, daily distractions). You might need to seek help with this (Would you like some support/assistance in achieving a particular wellness goal? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org). Often, we can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to making changes in our own lives. Remember that your body does an awful lot for you, every day. Spend some time thanking it, even if it's not quite in the shape you'd like right now. Make the connection that the way you treat it and yourself and the way you think about it will have a huge impact. Decide to do something different. You can love and be grateful for your body and treat it well and with respect ... I know you can and this is what I wish for you.
For those of you who are interested in my many adventures around Portugal here are some pictures of the places I have been able to experience, so far.