Your going on holiday! Yay for you! For most of us it has felt like a long time coming after a period of lock down, isolation and only seeing scenery within a three mile square radius of our homes. You deserve it. It’s time to take care of yourself and relax.
We associate holidays with a chance to relax and change up your normal routine from a massive ‘to do’ list involving: pick-ups, drop offs, housework, dinner, shopping, home admin, work commitments and management of children’s extra-curricular activities, to an environment where you don’t have to make a tonne of decisions or be anywhere on time. Except maybe dinner bookings or fun excursions.
But relaxing your normal routine, does not mean having to give up on you and your weight loss goals on holidays. Giving up on your weight loss goals on holiday is not taking care of yourself. You can still show love for yourself on holiday and not let everything go. Showing love for yourself does not mean having free reign on all treats in sight on holiday.
Think of your toddler in a supermarket (you may have to think back a bit!), standing next to the checkout where all the chocolate bars or sweets are strategically placed (thanks very much!). Your toddler is having a major melt down because they want the sweets. Loving your toddler doesn’t mean giving them the sweets (we have all given in at some point, so no judgement here).
Love for your toddler is helping them overcome their brains desire to seek instant reward, and instead, enjoy the delayed gratification. The delayed gratification of having great teeth, being in the healthy weight range and having more consistent energy level throughout the day.
So why do we treat ourselves differently on holidays? One reason is because we have a thought like losing weight on holiday will be hard or terrible. Going into holiday with this thought stops you from doing any planning toward being your best self.
So why do you want to put in the effort to continue your weight loss on holiday?
Because you matter, just like your toddler mattered. And by making some decisions ahead of time, you can plan to do things on your holiday where you can improve the trust and relationship you have with yourself. You will get a small hit of that feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine when you make healthy choices for yourself and they feel good in your body. You will feel proud, in control and show up as the best version of yourself. Picture more energy, less bloated and less sluggish on your holiday.
Here are 9 must do’s to ensure you continue to look after yourself while enjoying your holiday
1. Switch out the thought ‘It is too hard to lose weight on holiday’ to ‘I will make good decisions for me and my health on holiday’. Write it down and look at it often. Thinking a thought like ‘it’s too hard’ will only create a feeling of demotivation, and we all know what happens with weight loss when we feel demotivated….. Nothing!
2. Ask yourself a great question in advance. ‘What can I do differently this year on my summer holiday to lose weight?’
3. Create a list of the obstacles that you will, or have experienced in the past, and write some strategies to solve for these ahead of time. Having a plan in advance gives your smart brain, that looks out for your future wellbeing, a chance to override that primal brain that is out to seek pleasure. Put in the effort to make some decisions ahead of time. You are worth it.
Obstacles may look like overeating at a buffet, eating dessert each night, an ice cream a day, overfilling your plate with food, eating out a lot, eating takeaways, having 3 courses at dinner, snacking more through the day (perhaps around a pool, you lucky thing) etc. You have all the wisdom to come up with strategies to deal with these. Don’t wait until the moment, because the primal brain, the part of our brain wired to seek pleasure and instant reward will take over. You are important, so take the time to plan your strategies in advance.
4. Eat until you are satisfied, not until you are stuffed. This will not only stop you from feeling guilty, but it will stop you feeling heavy and lethargic. That means more energy to spend on things that you enjoy. Pay attention to your hunger scale.
5. Eat mindfully, taste your food, enjoy it without having the ‘to do list’ swimming around in your head, and stop when you feel satisfied. Eating slowly definitely helps here.
6. Change out some of the foods heavy in flour and sugar at a restaurant or takeaway with some yummy alternatives. Remind yourself consistently about your thought ‘I will make good decisions for me and my health on holiday’.
7. Take responsibility for your weight loss. Don’t blame external things. Some great examples of this are: they gave me too big of a portion, the shop was selling 2 for 1 so I had to, or, I couldn’t say no because it would be rude. You always have a choice, and this is empowering, because then you are in control.
8. Decide how you are going to be compassionate to yourself, if you don’t follow a decision you have made ahead of time. Use it as a way to learn. Why did you eat the food? Could you create a strategy to improve the result for next time?
9. Organise or get involved in some fun activities that do not involve eating. Discover where else you can find joy.
Holidays are for relaxing, enjoyment and creating new memories. Relax in the fact you have made some great decisions ahead of time for your health and create some new memories by following through on yourself and feeling great about it. Enjoyment is far greater when you get to access your best self, and when the joy you get is not mostly reliant on the food you eat. Your best self takes care of you and your health, feels great in your body and shows compassion when you make mistakes.
Enjoy your holiday, and take care of yourself.
If you would like to take this work further to help you become the best version of yourself, where food is not providing you with most of the joy in your life, then check out my Stop Overeating 7 week program. You are worth it!