This post is an excerpt from the all new My Recovery Plan self-guided workbook. Enjoy!
When we travel, our schedules and routines are disrupted and the temptation to take a break from your recovery is real. But, recovery doesn’t take a vacation (or a business trip for that matter). Does this mean you can’t travel? Of course not! But travel is not an excuse for letting go of one’s recovery. As your brain is busy building new, healthy neuropathways, it continues to need the structure that your My Transformation Journal and this workbook provide. Use your journal every day and keep tracking your Dailies. Your brain will thank you for it.
1) Plan for fun.
Many food addicts have shared that they have often planned their vacations around the places they want to eat. This vacation, change your focus to the places you want to go and the things you want to see and do. For example, research “things to do in (city)” before you go. Find fun activities available like cycling, kayaking, hikes, movies, miniature golf, concerts, visiting local museums and other local points of interest. Take the focus off the food and put it on the FUN. Don’t forget to include these on your COR-Cards for the Play COR-Condition!
2) Prepare ahead for location triggers.
Restrooms are typically placed inside of gas station mini-stores which are full of unhealthy, triggering foods; chips, candy, cookies and soda. So put on your imaginary blinders, head for the restroom and then get out of the bar! Additionally, rest stops typically have vending machines, stay away from the edge! There is nothing in them you can eat so don’t fire up the Preoccupation Stage of the Addiction Cycle by checking. Visiting Aunt Sally who equates food with love. Her intention may be good but don’t let it derail your recovery. Envision these conversations with Aunt Sally ahead of time and practice your gentle but firm responses.
3) Make your hotel environment work for you.
A little advanced planning can safeguard your recovery.
Hotel Room: Call ahead to request a mini-fridge in your room. Ask for a microwave if available too. If flying, head for a nearby grocery store as soon as possible after you arrive. Stock the refrigerator with the food you packed or purchased. Whole foods, nuts, veggies, fruit, string cheese, whole grain bread, almond butter and fruit-sweetened jam. Pack a couple of plastic knives as well. Be sure to stock lots of water for your water bottle and stay hydrated on your trip.
Movement Minutes: Use the hotel fitness center for your movement minutes. Take your phone along and listen to some uplifting music or an interesting podcast while you are working out. No fitness center? Dance or yoga with a You-Tube video on your tablet in your room. Better yet, head out for a walk and see the sights! Track your minutes.
Eating healthy at the complimentary breakfast-buffet: These buffets are laden with high sugar, high-fat pastries and other unhealthy foods but they often also include healthy choices. Think protein and a healthy carb for energy. Oatmeal with peanut butter, sausage/egg with fruit. Banana with peanut butter. Yogurt and fruit.
4) Prepare ahead for travel times.
Don’t count on being able to find healthy food while you are in transit. Get a light, small cooler with a shoulder strap and pack whole foods for the trip in the car, plain or on the train. Pack raw veggies, nuts, fresh fruit, low-fat string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, sandwich on whole-grain bread, yogurt.
5) Eating in Restaurants.
Be sure to choose a meal in which half your plate is non-starchy produce. Portions sizes in a restaurant are enough for 2-3 meals so ask your wait-person for a box upfront when you place your order and remind them again when they bring the order and forgot. Get half of your food off your plate before you begin to eat and push the box away from your plate. Back at the hotel, save your left-overs in the fridge for the next day. You might even split a meal with a friend and not worry about the leftovers.
Think about the triggers you will have on your next trip and make your own personal travel plan.
Have a safe, fun recovery-focused trip!