How To Compassionately Win With Food On Vacation

This week my hubby and I went on vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

I didn’t expect to have sugar food challenge…but I did.

A brownie. (My other former Achilles Heel food).

WHAAA?

In Mexico?

YES. In Mexico.

If you’re familiar with the sweets in Mexico, most of them aren’t nearly as sweet as they are back home and therefore I never thought I’d really “like” any sweets here.

So, it was kind of a serious shock to find what my hubby called in his TripAdvisor review: 

“Never in all my travels have I had a better brownie. Never. Not in my mother’s kitchen with all the love she could put into them.”

Let me tell you a little more…

On our first day here, we went to a place called Maria Baja (yes I totally recommend making a planned stop here) because it was ranked #1 on TripAdvisor. No, I don’t get a kickback. 

I planned to have a fish taco and whatever veggies they had available.

Then my hubby got a brownie. Which is pretty usual for him.

He likes brownies a lot. He plans for them, he eats them. 

I don’t usually crave them anymore, I don’t like them much any more they taste way too sweet and corn syrupy for me.

Then out came the brownie, he started to salivate as he ate it and said, oh, that’s good.

Um, so I had a bite, then I had 4-5 more bites.

And it was just as John described:  probably the best brownie on the planet, made from scratch.

So, my brain made an immediate plan to come back before the week was out and get my own.

2 things were going on here:

1.   Lots of survival brain thoughts like the ones I had around the corn chips (“You must eat brownie while in Mexico, it’s the ONLY one in the world that is worth it, you may die if you don’t have another before you go home…etc.”

2.   I hadn’t planned with a commitment before going to this restaurant that I wouldn’t eat any sugar-because I didn’t even consider it an option in Mexico.

So, my brain went to planning for the next time we would return to the restaurant and have the delicious tacos (and they were also the best I’ve ever had too BTW) and OF COURSE THE BROWNIE…

So, yeah, yesterday for lunch, we went back, and I had my own brownie.

And then when we went to dinner at another place, and my brain thought, “Well, you should probably try the dessert here too, it may be a life and death situation if you don’t try it too!”. 

SERIOUSLY, brain…and guess what… 

It was kinda yucky. NOT WORTH IT. (It was mousse in a “flower pot” see photo 😊.)

SO, this morning, as I expected, because I know my body well,  I woke up and my body felt a little sluggish and my brain felt “fuzzy and low”.

My brain actually feels a little physically depressed and dizzy when I eat sugar now…I love that it’s sensitive like this now.

So, I want to share about how I am taking myself through this experience with understanding, self-compassion and learning instead of shame and eating more brownies.

HERE ARE 7 TIPS & TAKE-AWAYS I’M TAKING FROM THIS EXPERIENCE:

1.   I honor that I’m human and that my brain will ALWAYS want to have easiest hit of dopamine it can, so of course it’s going to want a brownie or two or more. I don’t shame that human instinct. That’s all it is. A human survival instinct that doesn’t go away, so make peace with it.

So, I’m not going to be shocked by this and I am committed to not shaming myself for this EVER. I invite you to do the same.

2.   I expect that after I eat something like this, it will affect my hunger and satiation hormones because it always will. 

It affects my insulin and leptin (leptin is the hormone that tells you that you’re full – when insulin is spiked, this hormone can’t do its job, so you feel hungry when you’re not.)

So, I expect to “think” I’m hungrier than I really am afterwards. So, I drink extra water, tea with heavy cream or broth and remind myself that it’s not true hunger. I wait until my tummy actually has true grumbles in it and I’m truly hungry to eat again. Then I will eat veggies, protein and fats…which are the only foods our bodies need.


3.   THEN…I expect that my brain will want to repeat that hit of dopamine while I’m here because my brain will have survival scarcity thoughts about this being the “ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD YOU CAN GET THIS AND YOU COULD DIE IF YOU DON’T GET ANOTHER BEFORE YOU LEAVE!!!”

4.   I plan to have another brownie while I’m here at least 24 hours in advance and I pay careful attention to how it tastes, feels in my body in my mouth and then I notice how I feel after.

I noticed that felt more a little more sluggish, slightly more cognitively distracted, a little fuzzy, and my mood felt a little low…this is what sugar does to my body and I DON’T love feeling this way.

5.   Then, I made a decision. My decision is that I’m done with the brownies on this trip because I actually like feeling alive, cognitively sharper, energetic than having more brownies.

6.   And I choose to always think, “I love me, and I love the version of me I get to be as I take care of me. I’m always in control of what I eat, and I always know what to do to take care of me.”

7.   I will never underestimate a country around sugar again. I will expect that there could be a food challenge, I will plan for it as best I can when I go on trips from now on.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Love,
Candy

p.s. If you are ready to cognitively and compassionately stop being so challenged by “trigger foods or Achilles heel foods” so that you Stop Emotional Overeating and Lose the Mid-Life Weight-gain for good, I can help you. In my 6-month, one-on-one online coaching program I will teach you the step-by-step processes and tools to do this. 

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