When I first started my health journey, years before I studied nutrition, I used to follow a few “healthy living” blogs to get ideas on how to change my own unhealthy habits into healthier ones. With our overseas holiday fast approaching, I can’t help but think back on a particular blogger I followed who used to post about her travels and provide tips on how she’d stay “healthy” on holiday.
She would track her calories every day, look up menus in advance so she could look up nutritional values of meals (and wouldn’t eat somewhere if they didn’t have this option), only stay in places that had a gym onsite or very close by, only eat her own snacks she packed (which were always low fat/no sugar/chemically laden “frankenfoods” that were low calorie) and by doing this, she managed to sometimes even lose weight on a holiday. Crazy, right?
I remember reading these posts so vividly, because all those years ago, I remember thinking what a goal that was! I idolised her, and didn’t once think this way of living was unhealthy, unrealistic or disordered. I even remember thinking that I hoped to be like that one day myself.
Fast forward through the years that followed (think multiple failed diets, calorie restrictions, low self-esteem) and finally, finally, finally to where I am at right now, a place of balance, acceptance and gratitude for my body… I think back to this blogger, and I can’t think of anything worse than having a holiday (or a life) like that. And I’m so happy to be in this mindset, to be in a space within myself where I am not idolising someone with such a restrictive and unhealthy view now.
So while a 20 year old me probably would have written a VERY different style of travel post, an almost 28 year old me is writing this one and it feels really good!
So, here my three reasons why I’m NOT dieting or stepping foot inside a gym on my holiday:
1/ I want to fully enjoy my meals
One of the best parts of travelling (at least for a foodie), is getting to try out new food! Whether it’s sampling the country’s traditional dishes, or visiting the local restaurants and cafes, I want to be able to know that I can happily choose what to eat based on what will bring me the most enjoyment and satisfaction, rather than what will fit nicely into my designated calorie intake or macro count for the day. I don’t want to have to look up the nutrition facts on the menus days ahead to ensure I can get a meal that will fit in, I want to just enjoy the food and experience for what it is. Food is such a joy in this life, and to be able to travel and taste all kinds of different meals that you wouldn’t necessarily get to at home, is such a wonderful opportunity and one I don’t want to waste.
I will still tune into my body’s wants and needs though and follow an intuitive style of eating just as I do here at home, this is not me saying I’m going to eat everything in sight simply because I can and “because I’m on holiday.” That’s not it at all. Rather it’s about enjoying my meals, while still trusting my body’s cues to let me know when I’m hungry, when I’m satisfied or when something doesn’t make me feel good and acknowledging that.
2/ I would much rather spend my time doing other things
This year has been so busy for us that sometimes Jared and I wouldn’t have a day off together for weeks at a time. We’ve missed weekends, date nights and other fun things together because we just haven’t had the time or means to fit it in. So while on holiday I really don’t want to be focusing my time around fitting in work outs and doing things like setting my alarm for 5am to hit the gym. I’d rather push snooze and spend the morning with him, slowly rising, having coffee and planning our day together. Or know that I can go to bed late after a night of cocktails and dancing together and not have to worry about whether the cocktails fit my calorie intake or whether I’ll be able to drag my bum to the gym first thing in the morning.
I’m not saying I won’t be active on my holiday though. Will there be days where we’ll do some fun activities together like hiking or snorkelling? Yes of course! Will I go for a run one morning if I want some time to myself? Sure, if I feel like it. But will I obsess about finding designated time to exercise or work out every day? No, because that’s just not my priority on a holiday. The priority for me is refilling my cup and catching up on all the things I haven’t had time for, so that’s what I’ll be focused on!
3/ It won’t matter 10, 20 or 40 years from now
As I started writing this post, I was sitting in a café next to a table that held an old man and lady. The old man was reminiscing on his youth and telling her all about some of his most unforgettable memories of days past. He spoke of moments like taking his nieces out for walks around the city before the Opera House was built. He spoke of the holidays he’d been on and countries he’d visited. And he also spoke of all the dazzling ballets he’d been to, where he could still remember the music, the dancers and the atmosphere in the room.
He recalled such beautiful details that I actually stopped writing just so I could listen to his stories because they warmed my heart so much. Even now as I’m recalling the thought hours later, I can still see the sparkle in his eyes and the joy in his voice. His skin was wrinkled and he had to use a walking stick, but he also wore a funky top hat and had this… vitality about him. Something that really only comes from a life well lived. It made me realise that when I’m sitting across from Jared at a café, hopefully 40 years from now, I want to recall as many beautiful experiences as I can too. I don’t want to think that I’d missed out on things because I was simply too worried about how I looked.
So in summary… Life is too short. Eat the pasta, drink the wine, dance with a local and climb that goddamn mountain!