Getting to try new food is one of the best parts of traveling. Many flavors to try, cuisines to explore, and gastronomic hot spots to visit, and there seems to be no room for your stomach for all the good food! However, being on vacation isn’t an excuse to stuff yourself silly. Not only is overeating bad for your health (and waistline), but it can also make you uncomfortable while on the go.
Here are the best ways you can avoid overeating while traveling, especially after you’ve already sought treatment options for binge eating:
1. Try more food but in smaller quantities
When we’re exploring a new place with all sorts of exciting food, it’s only natural to want to try as many dishes as you can while you’re there. However, if you give in to this temptation, you will likely find yourself feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Worse, you might even get a case of heartburn or a tummy ache that will send you running to the bathroom.
To satisfy your desire to try exciting new dishes while avoiding overeating, try different food but in smaller quantities. For example, if you want to try both the gyro and the courgette balls while you’re in Greece (because when will you get the next chance to take a Greek vacation?), order those dishes in smaller quantities instead of the full-sized versions. Better yet, offer to split the dish with a companion so that you can both try different foods.
2. Don’t let yourself go hungry
Whether it’s while waiting at the airport or in transit to the next tourist spot, don’t let your stomach suffer through hunger pangs. Feeling hungry is your body’s signal that it needs more food. And if you ignore it for the sake of staying ‘good,’ you might just be doing more harm than good by leading yourself to overeat during your next meal. So if you get hungry, try to drink water first and see if that gets rid of the feeling (dehydration can make you feel ‘hungry’ even when you’re not). Otherwise, eat just enough food to quell your hunger until you can sit down for your next meal.
It’s a good idea to have a light snack in your bag while you’re traveling, perhaps a granola bar or a small bag of trail mix. In this way, you can get rid of the hunger pangs even when there are no food sources available (or if the options available are not in line with your health preferences). Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle with you, too.
3. Focus on the experience
When it’s time to eat, focus on the food’s aroma, appearance, taste, and texture. Take the time to really taste your food and commit the experience to your memory. In this way, you increase the chances of feeling satisfied without having to eat more food. After all, a good dish will taste the best the first time around.
4. Don’t keep up with others. Pace yourself
Everyone has different health priorities, different stomach capacities, and definitely different food preferences. When traveling with a group, be mindful of your eating because being with companions usually makes people eat more. For one, eating with other people can psychologically make us hungrier, thus increasing our tendency to overeat. Moreover, there are many distractions at the table when eating with a group, which can take our focus away from our food and prevent us from really enjoying it, thus not making us fully satisfied after eating.
It can be difficult to say ‘no’ when your travel buddies want to try every other food item they see, but you have to pace yourself accordingly. If you feel full and they still have room for dessert, it’s okay to say refuse for your own sake.
5. Resist mindless snacking
For some people, normal eating habits fly out the window when you’re on vacation. The next thing you know, you’re eating snack after snack even when you’re not hungry, and your snacks aren’t exactly the healthy kind. If this is a habit that you have while traveling, make it a point to stop yourself whenever you feel the urge to reach for a bag of chips or a candy bar from the airport vending machine, unless you are starving and not just bored.
At the end of the day, you will likely eat a little more than usual while you’re traveling, and that’s perfectly okay. You won’t gain weight overnight, and your body will recover from what you ate while you were on vacation after you get home. So don’t sweat it too much if you’ve eaten two Kaiser rolls instead of one or had an extra bowl of ice cream. The most important thing is to not eat to the point of discomfort, and of course, enjoy your vacation to the fullest.