I have just returned from an 8-day cruise, and it made me think about the difficulty one must face with an Eating Disorder when vacationing, especially on cruises. For those of you who have never been on a cruise and have no intention of going on one, this post can still be helpful because the concepts can be broadly applied to other scenarios such as parties, buffets or other types of travels. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know that the food options are nothing short of insane awesomeness. Cruises give a new meaning to the idea of endless food, because it literally is endless or atleast seems that way. It’s amazing because you have almost any type of cuisine option at your finger tips and have access to them endlessly 24-hours a day with just a few steps and possibly an elevator ride. It’s pretty cool, however, not so much for someone who struggles with compulsive over-eating.
The endless access to food usually becomes a problem to a binge-eater especially due to one or both of the following thoughts;
Both of these thoughts lead to binges and the compulsions to eat as much as you can. The idea that you likely won’t have access to this much food that’s all-inclusive in your every-day life once you return home, makes it even harder to resist the compulsion to eat it all.
Let me make it clear that part of life sometimes is over-eating. We all over-eat at times and that is ok. Whenever my clients go on vacations, whether cruising or other, we talk about how food may change. This goes for all of my clients, not just binge-eaters. It’s important to remember that vacations are outside the norm of our daily lives, it is ok and expected that your eating patterns will change. You may end up gaining some weight or feeling bloated or tempted to eat foods that you don’t normally have. This is all ok and it’s crucial to remember that things will go back to normal when you go home. You will fall back into more normal eating habits when you return, and those couple extra pounds will shed just for living life normally again, and the bloat will go down. This is life and part of living it.
A big part of going on vacation is trying new foods, and it will inevitably be out of the norm. If you’re going to Disney, you better try the Grey Stuff and their Dole Whip. If you’re going to France, you have to try some of their pastries. Japan? They’ve got some of the best snacks with the coolest presentations that you must try! You wouldn’t want to come back from any of those places and not have tried their cuisines or feature dishes. That’s not living life. Let yourself live, let yourself experience cuisines and dishes that aren’t typically available to you. Accept that you may over-eat, but don’t let that force you to feel that you need to eat everything they have and as much as you can in one sitting. You can try everything, and experience everything while still listening to your body and honoring it’s hunger and fullness cues. And if you eat past fullness because something was just so good, so what? It happens and it’s ok. Forgive yourself and move on with living your life.
I hope you found this post helpful and can remember this on your next vacation! Please share with anyone who may find it helpful. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts, please leave a comment or message me privately.
I wish you new experiences on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder