I’m still on vacation and I’m still having a great time. However, as planned and prepared as I was coming there have been some learning curves and I’d like to share some tips and tricks with you.
1) Time Zones
How do you mechanically eat and follow a meal plan when you leave one destination in one time zone and arrive at your final destination in another time zone,especially if that second time zone falls before or after a meal that you have or haven’t already eaten? I found it helpful to keep my watch set to my home time zone on travel days and just eat according to that time zone in intervals of 3-4 hours.
2) Road Trips
I used to love road trips and I’m trying to re-ignite that love but right now I find myself more anxious than not while on the road. What snacks do we bring? Will I look weird if I bring certain food items maybe not conventional to a road trip? What if I’m hungry and no one else is? What if others are hungry and I’m not? When are we stopping? Where are we stopping? What if everyone else wants fast food? What if I want fast food?!!!! I found it helpful to be really prepared. I brought lots of options from all the food groups so that if we were on the road and couldn’t or didn’t stop for a meal I could meet my meal plan anyways. Things I found helpful to bring were: grapes and baby carrots (so that if I was driving it was a convenient food), granola bars, nuts and trail mix. For dairy it was most helpful to get latte-like drinks when we’d stop for gas. I also brought boost/ensure and cliff bars as a last resort. I didn’t need to use them but it was certainly less stressful knowing I had a replacement option if I needed it.
Unlike road trips, if you’re in an airplane you can’t just pull over and stop for food. And there are less things you can bring with you that will pass through security and customs, and things in the other side of security and customs and certainly on the airplane itself are VERY expensive! I found it helpful to pack ahead of time things I could in my carry on. And it was helpful to realize that my recovery was more important to me than spending a bit of extra money on food in the airport or even on the airplane. I found myself getting anxious about lunch and my flight wasn’t going to land for two hours so I spent $10 on an in flight meal and yeah it was expensive, and it didn’t taste very good and yeah it didn’t fit my meal plan perfectly- but it did ease the anxiety I was feeling enough.
I’m a vegetarian. I have been for nearly 10 years. I didn’t become a vegetarian to restrict and help my eating disorder but over the years I have found i can use it to support my eating disorder. I have remained a vegetarian throughout my recovery and in working with my dietitian I have been able to feel confident that my vegetarianism isn’t part of my eating disorder. All that to say: when you’re visiting your friends and family who aren’t vegetarians and who don’t have eating disorders and who are in charge of the groceries and the meals it has been hard to make sure I am getting enough protein (because some people think a vegetarian meal is simply the same meal everyone else has without the meat) in a place where my vegetarian diet and recovery aren’t fully understood. So I have been able to adapt to a “flexitarian” diet for this vacation. I am being flexible and letting myself eat meat, if there isn’t a proper vegetarian option, so that I can make sure I meet my meal plan. I can do this because it’s only for three weeks and I’m not controlled by my food or diet, even though being a vegetarian is still really important for me. This was/is incredibly difficult to do but it has been helpful to be flexible with my protein intake while travelling. I realize this won’t work for everyone but it has worked well for me.
5) Body Comments!!!
Ugh! When you visit friends and family you haven’t seen in a while, especially after a stint in treatment you can, unfortunately, get a lot of comments! In my experience these comments have all been meant to encourage me- but anytime someone comments on how i look it is bothersome. I find it hard to use my voice and tell people not to say anything. I don’t have a trick or tip for this other than be prepared for it, maybe have a mental mantra ready when someone says something. It probably would have been more helpful if I had told my friends and family ahead of time not to say anything- so if you’re able to- have that conversation ahead of time so the comments, hopefully, don’t happen. But be prepared- people say things even when you think it’s common sense not to say certain things to people with eating disorders.
More to come
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