Before going on my most recent vacation, I thought long and hard about how much I would allow myself to experience the culture through food and drink. On past vacations, I did all I could to mitigate the damage from eating carbs, sugar, and drinking alcohol by severely limiting the amount of these foods I would have. What invariably happened, however, was that about half-way through the trips, I would decide to not mind the food as closely as I had in the beginning which would do two things:
- Cause me to gain weight.
- Cause me mental anguish over losing control.
The first cannot be avoided if I’m not controlling my diet closely. I had to learn to just accept it and to let go of the stress of it to get past the second item. That’s why on this last trip, I decided that I would just eat and drink whatever I wanted to for the 12 days. I knew that it would result in weight gain, but since I knew how to lose the weight safely, I would just go into weight-loss mode upon my return and I would have made great memories in foreign lands having experienced their amazing cuisine.
It turns out, this trip taught me a lot more than just the history of Ireland’s revolution or the clans in Scotland. I learned that making a decision prior to a vacation about letting go of the stress and pressure of eating right made my time much more pleasurable. I had a much better time since I wasn’t stressing about the carb content of everything I ate. I also got to enjoy cider, a favorite of mine I only allow myself in very limited quantities. I also learned that the diet I am normally on, the Paleo Diet, is very good at controlling my weight, and it makes me feel better. Eating all the sugar, carbs, and drinking all that alcohol regularly kept me feeling bloated, swollen, and my sleep wasn’t nearly as good. I also felt more sluggish, as a result, and when I did do exercise, it felt much more difficult.
I used to advocate mitigation of eating and/or drinking non-Paleo foods while at special events, occasions, or trips/vacations, but now, I think I’m evolving my thought into making peace with the consequences of voluntarily jumping off the diet, and being prepared to pay for the decision by doing the work necessary afterward. I am not nearly as upset, cranky, or upset as I was on the last few trips we made where I ended up eating and drinking non-Paleo foods. From a mental health standpoint alone, I think this last trip was much better for me.
I want to say that the above works for me based on my experiences over the past 30 months of having adopted the Paleo Diet. I’ve been successful at maintaining my weight loss, and I know how to lose weight when I need to. I’m now currently engaged in weight-loss mode once again, and I am looking forward to experiencing it all over again. I hope that my experience is of value to you, and that you are able to take something from it to aid and assist you in your own healthy eating journey.