We've all been there, you come home from a summer vacation with a sunburn, great memories (some you may not remember), and an extra 5-7 pounds that have magically found its way to your ass.
You enter panic mode because you just spent a month working your hiney off to be vacation-ready and somehow it has all been undone in a matter of days. You're scrambling, considering going on a juice cleanse or some sort of crash diet to get this weight off quickly. This way you can pretend the food binge never happened in the first place...
I should know because I just returned from a vacation in New York where my family and I practically ate our way through the city (pics below). I made the decision that I was going to eat mindfully, respecting my hunger and fullness cues, but also include foods that I normally wouldn't eat (like dairy, gluten, sugar). I’ve just returned home incredibly thankful for the week that I got to spend with my family, and also incredibly bloated from this week’s food shenanigans.
And you know what?
That horrible gas I had the entire trip from eating dairy?
It’s okay. (Maybe not with those sharing a room with me…)
That I went a day or two without pooping from the gluten?
The fact that my pants are a little tight in the waist?
It has to be okay.
I have spent years connecting to my higher wisdom guide when it comes to eating. I know that I will eat healthily and move my body for the rest of my life. A little zig zag here and there doesn't throw me into a fear cyclone of shame and doubt. I actually look forward to drinking my green juice, getting back in the gym and cooking my own meals. Being healthy is how I desire to live, it’s not a punishment for being chubby.
The reason why we freak out over those five-vacation-pounds is, on a deeper level, because we really don't trust ourselves. We don't trust that at some point we will return back to a place of intuitive eating - eating that is guided from our higher selves, a place of higher wisdom within us. Underneath this fear, we have a belief that we truly aren't worthy, strong, or determined enough to maintain that permanent weight loss. We are left to believe that dieting is the only way to get us there, to get us back to so-called "sanity."
Combine that with our culture's obsession with abs, thigh gaps, and the absence of cellulite, and you've got yourself a full-blown post-vacation meltdown! Welcome fucking home.
In the past I'd be scrambling right now, following the strictest set of rules so that I can get “back on track” to health and the perfect body.
Nope, I'm not doing it.
I know the pendulum only swings from one extreme to the other.
So, the eternal question: How do you rebound from vacation (or any off-the-rails eating)?
Step 1: Enjoy the food and eat it mindfully. Don’t stuff yourself, and respect when you are hungry or full.
Step 2: When you get home, scan the past week of eating to see if there is any learning opportunity for you. If you went too far, figure out why and make a plan for next time.
Step 3: Slough it off and get back on track. Don’t jump on the scale or grab your fat in the mirror. Wear looser jeans for a week. Get over yourself and commit to loving yourself no matter what. Don’t make it the center of your thought process. You are lovable with a little extra vacay bulge.
Is it a good idea to come back, reset intentions, and hit the ground running? Absolutely. But if you are militant about it, you will be eating crap by the weekend. I guarantee it.
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My story is probably very similar to yours. I wasn’t happy with my body, but I was addicted to sugar and overeating. I was constantly stressed, worried and anxious, but I couldn’t control the voice in my head. I wanted to make changes, but I was stuck in patterns that seemed to control me...