“To keep the body in good health is a duty.
Otherwise we shall not be able
to keep our mind strong and clear.”
I just spent three awe inspiring weeks traveling in Southeast Asia. My friend Dianne, knowing I gained weight on another lengthy vacation six years ago, asked if I did this time.
I confidently replied, “Ultimately, no, I didn’t. I started gaining weight right away because I was eating more than I normally do with the endless buffets available. But then I remembered to practice what I preach. I made a conscious effort to turn things around. And I did.”
It felt good to walk my talk, especially in such a food and exercise challenging situation. I share below the mind-set shifts I made to stay grounded. Whether to maintain your weight, release excess weight, or stop gaining, I hope this inspires you to keep your mind and body a treasured priority, no matter what circumstances surround you.
Early on in my twenty-three day trip, my clothes started feeling tight. With many more days of guided tour group travel that included oodles of food with three times daily buffets and an ever present snack table, something had to change! The only excess weight I wanted to carry home were souvenirs added to my suitcase. I took charge! What made the difference was consciously changing my mind-set. From that place, my path unfolded easily.
Here are some beliefs I held that kept me grounded. I hope they help you, too.
1. While it’s easy to gain weight on vacation, it’s also easy not to.
Many people believe that vacation weight gain is inevitable. This is only true if you believe it to be true. It doesn’t have to be your truth and I made sure it wasn’t mine. It wasn’t just my tight fitting clothes that bothered me. It was how I began feeling in my body. I don’t like the heavy feeling that comes from eating too much. With an inner resolve I said to myself and my body, “I won’t let this happen” even if I am on vacation. I re-committed to take good care of my body no matter what. Whether on vacation or living your normal routine, remember that creating change starts with a deliberate decision to do so.
2. All you can eat doesn’t mean you have to eat all you can.
After eating way too many foods just because they were available, I resolved to set boundaries. I avoided some foods and sweets entirely (enough with the cream puffs!), limited others (one serving of a cheese plate was fine, thank you) and I enjoyed what I liked that was healthy and light. While I know there’s a case to be made for mindfully eating anything you want, for me it’s empowering to avoid foods that potentially don’t sit well with my body. Tropical fruit yes; chocolate mousse no. Once I made the decision to watch my weight, my mind naturally focused on wholesome foods. That didn’t mean I stopped eating sweets. It meant I chose thoughtfully.
3. Honoring your body’s worth is more important than getting your money’s worth.
Even though most of the food was included in the cost of my vacation, I had to stop thinking in an entitled way. Just because I paid for it didn’t mean I needed to eat ALL of it! More important than getting my money’s worth was honoring my body’s worth. That meant enjoying my vacation for all the fabulous experiences it offered and stop acting like a kid in a toy store with her parent’s credit card. My body needed me to honor its needs and not allow a childish euphoria to compromise my judgment at the buffet table. Thankfully, I did just that.
4. Being on vacation doesn’t mean you take a vacation from your health.
Exercise matters. It’s a lifestyle habit I won’t let get sidetracked just because it’s inconvenient. While we walked a fair amount on this trip, it was by far not the same as a good cardio work-out. I always bring exercise clothes when I travel. While I was lax at first, I used my beginning weight gain as an inspiring sign to get on track. Whenever time allowed in between excursions and an exercise room was available, I made a point to use the treadmill or bike. It wasn’t just exercising that mattered. It was that I knew my body thanked me for honoring its needs.
5. Never neglect your soul.
Releasing or maintaining weight is so much more than diet and exercise. When your mind is infused with spiritually uplifting thoughts, your body responds with lightness and good health. This is especially important if you eat for emotional reasons. When you nourish yourself spiritually, you don’t need food to fill you up. I brought with me two inspirational books, a knitting project (always soothing for me) and some meditation audios. It’s important to me to nourish my soul. Being on vacation didn’t diminish that. When time allowed, I made sure to create reflective, meditative space for myself. With that in place, everything else flowed smoothly.
What keeps you committed to take good care of your body?