How much damage can vacation eating do? We all like to have a little bit of freedom when we are on holiday. We tend to splurge on food that we often try to avoid, glutinously eating our way through our personal list of taboo foods under the We’re on Holiday* banner. My husband and I have done this FOR YEARS.
This past year – especially in the past few months – I have been the most disciplined in my eating habits. Consciously making changes that are becoming my part of my lifestyle. I have been limiting sugar and carbs. This is where I have seen the biggest benefit to how I feel and look. After adjusting to not eating whatever I want, there comes a realisation that you are restricting yourself but making wiser choices.
Recently I took a week off with the family and headed to the UK. Everything I have been working so hard on – out the window. A week in the cold drinking warm tea (with milk), thick slices of glutenous toast slabbed with butter for breakfast, scones, cakes and whatever else the mind desired. Sure, I’ll have some cookies with my morning tea. Oh, right, biscuits. Hot cross buns for breakfast – let’s do it. I don’t even like hot cross buns but hey…We’re on Holiday! (That last part is sung in a higher than normal voice).
Any chance I had to eat something sweet I did. I indulged on cakes, sticky toffee pudding, chips (aka fries), and lots of wine!!! We were visiting so each meeting with friends and family was a reason to celebrate. We weren’t driving and We’re on Holiday!
I did pack work out clothes with me. I planned to get a few runs in. Ha! How many of us have done that? I thought how amazing would it be to get out on those streets and run. The reality of it was that it was so cold, there was no way I was heading out into that cold air. I’m a desert girl now so anything under 50 degrees F feels cold. So in the end, I didn’t work out. But I didn’t feel too bad because we were doing loads of walking on a daily basis – between 6 to 8 miles a day (according to Fitbit). So if I didn’t get a run in, no problem. Besides We’re on Holiday so it’s okay not to work out.
So I ate like crap, no exercise (except for walking). It wasn’t all bad food. We did eat healthy food but if I were to put it on a balance scale, the bad food would out weight the good. Near the end of the week I could feel the toll it was taking on my body – tired, bloated, feeling blah. It got to the point where I thought I could not have another carby meal. We ordered pizza on our last night, much to my disapproval (which unfortunately did not stop me from eating it).
It has taken me about 3 weeks for my body to get back to normal. Let me tell you what happened to me physically. It was shocking!
- Skin Rash on my face. Tiny bumps developed that could only be seen when the light hit my face just right. It was not visible but my face felt like sandpaper. Initially I thought my face was just dry from the cold weather. By the time I got back home, the rash had spread from my face down my neck where the red marks were clearly visible. I KNEW IT!
- Eczema – I had patches of dry circles on my back – gross!
- Dry scalp – Really?! Like I really need dandruff now!
- Puffy eyes – When I woke up each morning my eyes were the puffiest they have been in a long time. It would take a while for the puffiness to go away but then dark bags would just linger on.
- Neverending Pink Eye – Worse of all I picked up conjunctivitis on the flight home because I left my contacts in my eyes the entire flight. I know better, really. My daughter fell asleep on my lap so retrieving my bag from the over head container would have required ninja like movement. The conjunctivitis spread from one eye to the next. Two weeks of pink eye. It was horrendous!
Upon returning from my week away, I was a wreck for two weeks. Really. A wreck! I ran into two different friends who looked me over once before recognising me. I had to make 2 different visits to the doctor in the same week like some sort of hypochondriac. Not a good feeling. Once I got back home I was immediately back on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercising. This week I finally feel I am back to where I need to be. So one week of bad eating, three weeks of recovery.
So what needs to change for the next time I go on holiday? The eating obviously, but more than that is the old way of thinking We’re on Holiday is an open invitation to eat anything. Sometimes old habits are hard to break. This was a MASSIVE learning lesson for me. My body is not the same as it was 10 years ago. I can’t just go and eat anything and everything. Never in my life have I come home with ailments after a holiday. This holiday kicked my butt and it is a combination of the food and age. From now on, going on holiday will not be the perfect excuse to eat anything. Next time I will have everything in moderation.
Have you ever had a bad experience like this?