In both an unfortunate and fortunate twist of events, my holiday to Belgium got cancelled and instead I went on a walking holiday through Otley and Buxton. I had fear for about a week before hand over the food I was potentially about to eat, considering it would be restaurants for almost every meal. Since I have been home I have had a bit of time to reflect on how I have felt after eating in restaurants/cafe’s around 12 times last week, here is how I felt eating out has helped my eating disorder and what I would recommend doing if you are going away.
Plan where you go in advance:
- I found that if I knew where we were going and what I was going to eat I was less stressed
- Booking in advance helped me a lot. One night we went out and everywhere was booked, this caused a lot of anxiety as we ended up in Pizza Express where I did not know the menu and it made me feel like I did not want to eat at all
- Once we had sat down in a spontaneous restaurant and I had read the menu, anxiety started to go away. I know that in the moment it can get to the point where you feel you are going to faint from anxiety, convincing yourself it will pass is difficult, but it will pass.
- I ate a hell of a lot of olives, drank a lot of wine, ate almost this whole pizza and sorbet to finish. I enjoyed every minute of it, ignoring your own thoughts is hard in restaurant settings where an easy escape is to just stand up and leave. I felt proud that I overcame this milestone, your mentality is stronger than you think.
Try and keep yourself active
- This holiday was a walking holiday for us, we climbed two large hills and explored the local area a lot.
- Keeping myself active both took my mind off the food I had ate and made me realise I needed to eat a larger amount to keep energy levels up.
- Being active or occupied let me eat foods I would not usually go for, I wont lie I did have a small struggle with this cheesecake, but after calming myself down I realised that this vegan biscoff cheesecake in front of me was both a reward and proof that I can allow myself to eat these foods now.
- By always having something to do or something planned during the day it didn’t feel as if I was going overboard with my meals.
- If you are like me and the thought of lying by the pool or beach all day worries you at the moment, I highly recommend a walking holiday.
Eat vegetable based meals/meals you may generally have at home
- I was used to quite a strict schedule on what time’s I eat during the day, so the shift stressed me out a bit. On the second day I was seriously considering skipping meals so mentally I would feel better. I took a different approach instead.
- At home I usually eat a lot of veg for tea either in pasta, rice, curry or noodles. We went to an Indian restaurant and I chose the vegetable curry main. By eating foods I would usually have at home, I did not feel as though I was indulging, just eating slightly more than I would back home.
- If you also struggle with a fear of not knowing what is in your meals, I recommend sticking to foods like curry, tomato based pasta, soups, wraps, sandwiches ect.
- I found as the week went on I was less worried about the effect the food I am eating may have on my body, but rather focused on the fact I needed it to fuel me for the day ahead.
Find your limits
- If you have read my blog before you will be aware that I have struggled, and am currently recovering, from binge eating disorder and bulimia. It took me months to know where my limits are but this holiday has helped.
- There was three times during the week I felt the dreaded feeling come back and it took an enormous amount of effort to ignore them, but through this I learned what my limits with food are.
- The photo on the right was from a lovely vegan restaurant in Buxton, my partner ordered two mains (he was one hungry lad) and it was at this point I knew if I did the same I would be putting myself in a bad position. Learning to know when to listen to my body and stop eating is a skill I am now very grateful for.
- Do not put yourself down if you go past the point of uncomfortably full, this process is trial and error and it does not just come to you easily. Sometimes I could eat a three course meal and not give a second thought, other times I could eat a packet of crisps and my brain would decide it was too much. Listen to your body as much as possible and try to rationalise what your brain is thinking, the packet of crisps I fear will in reality have no effect on my body.
Remember you are on holiday
- This one was super difficult, I have seen influencers tell people not to over do it just because you are on holiday so many times that it’s stuck in my head now.
- Something I had to keep telling my brain was that once I was home and back into my eating patterns, my body would stabilise again. Of course your body is going to change if the amount of food and your eating pattern has. For me I get extremely bloated to the point you wouldn’t even think it’s my body, but it’s something I’ve learned to accept due to this holiday!
- After around two – three days I realised I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone so I could enjoy my holiday, and I am so glad I did.
- Your holiday is so short, and making memories that will last a lifetime is very much worth battling the voice in your head that is telling you not to eat too much.
Overall, this holiday has helped me with a few things:
- Coming to terms with the way my body looks after eating a big meal
- Knowing I need to put my happiness and enjoyment over choosing a meal that I think will have the lowest calories, or not eating at all
- Realising that I am mentally strong enough to push through the overwhelming feelings that come with binge eating and bulimia
- Finding out where my limits are with food, and knowing when to stop for the good of my health
- Finding ways of dealing with body dysmorphia, there was occasions where my partner showed me a photo and I went ‘is that me!?’. I know my brain plays tricks on me when I look at myself in the mirror
- Appreciating the fact I can now enjoy my food instead of being fearful of what it may do to my body.
I have learned so much about myself over the last week, and I hope my little tips can help at least one person when they go on holiday.