This has been my second time traveling to Europe (both times to Germany actually), and even though a lot of parts of each trip were similar, there was one particular thing that was greatly different! So much so that each trip was a very different experience for me.
What was that one thing you ask?
My view and the knowledge I truly had of nutrition and the human body; My mindset when it came to approaching nutrition and dieting in the first place.
It was a case of the “all of nothing” mindset vs the “balanced and flexible” mindset.
A restrictive mindset vs a non-restrictive one.
I know how cliche it may sound, but through NOT restricting, and ALLOWING myself to truly enjoy the foods and drinks I was craving, I was not only able to have a better experience, but also put my mind to ease.
You see before, I would have felt guilty for allowing myself to eat a croissant after already having a roll with my breakfast. Before I would have felt guilty for having cheese more than once a day… which would have then proceeded to me saying “screw it” and allowing myself to eat whatever and however much I wanted. But the worst part was that before, I felt like I wasn’t in control of any of it. Which I now know was the farthest thing from truth. It’s so funny how our mind can play such tricks on us sometimes!
This recent trip was different because I was control of my mind and my actions. Yes, I ate the croissant. I ate cheese whenever I wanted cheese (which was pretty much every meal) because it was what I wanted and chose to do!
I wasn’t about to pass up on my favorite European delicacies when it was a rarity that I was actually here anyway, enjoying the locally made noms in the first place.
But even better than that, I didn’t just say “screw it” and eat whatever I wanted the rest of the day because I had already “ruined” my day with a chocolate croissant or fries at lunch.
I allowed myself to eat what it was I wanted and did not feel one ounce of guilt for it either. And because of that, I didn’t just keep eating all the things like before; I had what I wanted, and I was good.
It was through not restricting, and saying “yes” to foods that I wanted that allowed me to stop when I was full, when I was satisfied, and because of that, I made it home 8 days later weighing the same I had when we left.
And that was after drinking some form of alcohol each day (minus one).
After having cheese and either bread or pasta with every meal.
On top of my mindset shift, here are 8 tips that allowed me maintain my weight during a week of traveling:
- Lean into cravings. I can’t stress this one enough! If you want a chocolate croissant, get the croissant. Enjoy the croissant! Just realize that you will have to pick and choose the treats you want. You can’t have everything, but you can make a couple of things you are craving fit into each day.
- Make sure two of your meals includes some high quality protein. Not only does adequate protein help prevent muscle loss, but it also helps greatly in satiety and maintaining hunger levels, which in turns decreases cravings for sugary and salty foods.
- Give up the “all or nothing” mindset. I truly don’t know why so many of our minds think this way sometimes when it is one of the most illogical thoughts in the world! Have some pasta but eat a salad too. Balance. Balance.
- Bring healthy and macro friendly snacks to munch on. This one helped me a lot! It’s not always easy to find “macro friendly” snacks when traveling, and honestly I prefer these to balance out my treats any way! I made protein muffins right before we left and brought along protein bars, beef jerky, peanut butter packets and rice cakes as well.
- Drink in moderation. I’m not a big drinker, so this one wasn’t hard for me. But the calories in alcohol adds up. I am by no means saying to limit yourself if DO want to drink a lot, I am just saying that this is another thing you are going to have to make a choice between. You can probably have more drinks if you don’t have a lot of treats and still maintain your weight. But you likely won’t be able to have a lot of drinks and treats every day without gaining a little. Again, it’s all about choice.
- Share/split meals with others. The portions here were ginormous! I didn’t need the full portion most of the time anyways. A lot of times me and Simon would just split a croissant or a dinner or a sandwich and be perfectly fine. Plus that way we weren’t super full, saved money, and we had more room to split something else later lol.
- Stop eating when you’re full. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean that you have to go crazy!!
- Take probiotics daily. Okay this doesn’t necessarily help prevent weight gain but it does help keep you regular, not bloated, and a feeling a hell of a lot better. Especially when eating a lot of foods you aren’t used to.
- Drink a shit ton of water. More than you are used to drinking. More than you think is necessary! Again, this helps with digestion, and also helps keep you hydrated with all the exploring. Dehydration can also lead to more sugary/salty food cravings.
- Get your steps in! While I didn’t technically workout while I was away, I did stay active. Walk around and explore! It’s the best way to see the city anyway and burns a few extra calories. It’s a win win 😉
I ALWAYS forget to drink water while on vacation and it definitely affects how I’m feeling. Next time I’m bringing a reusable water bottle with me (plus probiotics!)