I just got back from the most magical destination, the happiest place on earth…yep you got it, Disney!! My family and I were down there for 3 main reasons. 1) My sister and I ran the Disney 10k; 2) My sister also ran the Disney half-marathon; 3) Vacation of course! If you know me, then you know that I LOVE all things Disney, and don’t get me wrong, I was super excited to go there. But part of me was worried! Vacation meant always eating out, being surrounded by less-healthy options in the park, going to the cheesecake factory (my sister’s pre half-marathon fuel choice), being away from routine. So part of me was stoked to go and the other ED part of me was nervous, had food anxieties, etc. I kept telling myself to just enjoy my time there on vacation–and I did–but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard.
The first thing that worried me was not weighing and tracking macros like I normally do. I knew it would just be too hard to try and estimate macros since we were always eating out. (Note, if I am going out at home once a week I will try to estimate and track, but not when every meal practically is out). I tried to rely on my hunger cues, but those aren’t perfect yet and plus at Disney, for me, snacking is second nature. Plus, I had my own slice of cheesecake…so I know I ate a lot! The day of the race I ended up eating approximately 4000 calories (I just guesstimate calories in my head since I didn’t track at all) which included a 1000 piece of cheesecake. Normally I would’ve forced myself to exercise more to burn that off whereas now, I still struggled and felt a little bad about it, but I decided that I enjoyed it and was going to move on because I loved cheesecake!
Although I did enjoy my cheesecake, churros, chips, etc. I also tried to make as healthy of a decision as I could at other meals. My snacks were Larabars, nuts/raisins, protein bars, and fruit. When I went out, I was conscious of what I ate while still enjoying it. For example, at the Cheesecake Factory I knew I would have a big dessert so I ordered a salad and only ate half. **Their salads are huge and mine was actually 1700 calories so half was still around 850** But I also ate treats and a lot of “scary” foods such as bagels, white/sourdough toast, sugary yogurt, etc. I do consider these small wins because normally I would never have even eaten those, whereas now I did with less guilt. It wasn’t easy, but every meal I really focused on enjoying what I ate rather than having anxiety over what I was eating.
Luckily, Disney and running means lots of movement on vacation which I always like especially when eating away from my normal, healthy routine. The first day there I got just shy of 17,376 steps, the second day 26,145 steps, and the third day 31,177 steps. So I stayed pretty active during my vacation. But there were also times of laying on the beach and relaxing–I believe you should definitely get some movement in on vacation, but also take time to rest from your normal routine, which is exactly what I did. Note, I did NOT think that I could only eat treats because I had exercised enough, or “deserved” them. I enjoyed my treats while still staying active. But if I hadn’t been as active, I still would’ve enjoyed treats because vacations don’t come around often!
I think what I learned is that it is important to enjoy yourself on vacation, but you don’t have to completely throw away your goals or lifestyle to do so. Eat the dessert, snack a lot, over the huge pasta bowl–enjoy the food! Take some time to get moving whether that be walking around a lot (like I did) or getting a quick workout in before relaxing wherever you are. It’s called BALANCE and it’s important! There were a lot of fears over this vacation (or any for that matter) and although I didn’t conquer them completely, I know I made strides towards being healthier, having balance, and enjoying life! I hope you can do the same!