Mindful Eating When Traveling

Two girls enjoying a meal out while traveling Unsplash - kevin turcios

Traveling doesn’t have to disrupt your healthy eating routines. In fact, traveling can be a PERFECT opportunity to start fresh habits and take them back home with you!

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is practicing present moment awareness. You are practicing mindfulness when you step out of “autopilot” (your every day way of reacting to life) and you step into moment-to-moment conscious presence. So much of our eating happens in “autopilot” if you allow it to, which may be helpful for good habits but not for bad ones. (Have you ever found yourself standing inside of your pantry, eating some random food you found while looking around for what else to eat, only to wonder how you even got there?)

Physical Environment

I talk a lot with my clients about the power of environment. Changing our physical environment is a sure way to impact our internal environment. Many people seek travel to disrupt their old lives, thoughts, or patterns, so why not use it for mindful eating as well? Travel can help with this, but a word of caution — don’t expect to leave it all behind because “wherever you go, there you are.”

If you have struggled with your relationship with food, mental health, procrastination, or whatever it is for you, chances are those problems will not be magically fixed by traveling.

But, if you’re consciously choosing to use travel as a catalyst to create change, it could be very successful and might just be nudge that you need.

Here are some ways that a change in environment can “switch things up”:

The couch that you normally sit on at home to do late-night snacking while binging Netflix is temporarily replaced by dancing around the campfire. Your hurried and stressed regular weekday is temporarily replaced with walks along the beach and naps in the sun. Your habit of eating quickly while scrolling through IG is temporarily replaced with eating amazing food at a local café with friends or family.

Observing Everything That Is New

The brain remembers and pays closer attention to novel stimuli. If something is new to us, we just seem to care more, or we at least are more attentive towards it. Use it as an opportunity to pay closer attention to smells and tastes while traveling, as well as your satiety. Try something new — a new recipe or maybe something from a restaurant that isn’t in your normal rotation!

seafood in a cone in Cinque Terre

You may find yourself walking through a town you’ve never been before and experience a heightened sense of awareness and sensitivity. This is because your brain is literally LIT UP with new electric impulses! It is receiving and digesting all new information. It’s an exciting time for the mind because it’s creating new pathways, firing new connections, and seeing things with a different perspective. It is a perfect time for the mind to create NEW beliefs and habits that could last well beyond your travel period.

Spend some time thinking about what new beliefs and habits you would like to work on cultivating. It all comes down to identity. What type of eater are you working on becoming? Get clear on what your intentions are, and check in with yourself on the regular!

Here are a few tips on how to use travel as a reset for mindfulfulness in both eating and life in general!

Reset Through Travel — How To Practice Mindfulness on Vacation

1. Connect with your breath

A simple breathing or yoga practice are great tools to help you access what mindfulness is all about. Practice noticing your breath and body sensations before you set out traveling — it’ll help you along your journey! AND, always remember to connect with your breath before you take the first bite of any meal! It will help ensure that you eat in a parasympathetic mode (rest and DIGEST).

2. Open your mind

Traveling really can blow your mind and change the way you look at things. Use this opportunity to open yourself to new opportunities and experiences, and tap into the excitement that the experience gives you to stay in the present moment. Try something new!

3. Maintain some routine or practice (like your keystone habit)

Routine can be hard while traveling, even though it sounds amazing. Choose something that is realistic for your situation. Maybe it’s a 5 minute meditation every morning, or a full yoga practice. Maybe it is mindfully eating your breakfast, or drinking your coffee — noticing the flavors and keeping your awareness focused on the experience.

Coffee and reading while on vacation by the beach

It could also be something at the end of the day, like journaling, that helps you to integrate your day and what you are experiencing. Whatever it is, it can become a sacred moment in time to reconnect with yourself — which can help you stay more present with your experience in general.

4. Roll with it

Some of the best learning experiences while traveling occur when plans change abruptly. How do you feel if your favorite restaurant is closed for a private function? How do you feel if your favorite menu item is taken off the rotation? We can practice staying in the moment by allowing change to occur without resistance. Sometimes doing less planning is a great way to prepare to practice mindfulness on vacation. You can choose moment-to-moment what to explore and how to spend your time rather than sticking to a strict schedule. The only constant is change, and practicing mindfulness helps us to embrace that.

A change in environment can be a wonderful teacher and I hope that you’ll consider implementing some of these suggestions into YOUR next travel opportunity! Wishing you a mindful journey!

You do not have to “do healthy” on your own. In fact, research tells us that you are much more likely to succeed if you have accountability layered in.

Let’s face it — healthy eating and healthy lifestyles can be boring and require a lot of patience. Having the support of an accountability coach and a community of likeminded individuals on your team can make all the difference. Share paths with a practicing holistic nutritionist, receive one-on-one coaching regarding your meals, and be connected on the app with my other clients and Ambassadors. You will have fun, stay motivated, and feel inspired!

Find out more by visiting my website www.stacyyates.com.

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