Good afternoon everyone! I’m currently on a family vacation at Clearwater Beach in Florida. (Seeing as though I’m from Boston, this 85-degree weather is totally hitting the spot right about now.) So far, we’ve sunbathed, wined and dined, went out for a fresh seafood dinner, shared a drink by the water and ran on the sandy beach. Let’s just say I am 100% in vacation mode, and taking advantage of every little moment to the fullest.
But it wasn’t always that way. You see, back in my days of obsessive dieting and restriction, I used to fear vacations as they made me extremely uncomfortable. What would I eat for breakfast? What if I gained weight from going out to dinner every night? What if (god for bid) I missed a workout? How am I going to track my calories? How will I ever avoid the temptation of the beautiful buffet breakfast spread? What if the hotel room doesn’t have a scale? Do I look super fat in this bikini or what?
I was so busy worrying and obsessing about the “what ifs” that I missed out on simply being…on actually enjoying the fact that I was on “vacation.” And this wasn’t just limited to family vacations either. It’s pretty much how I lived my life. Put simply, I didn’t know how to take a break or turn myself “off.” I strived for perfection, and anything less than was simply not enough.
Can any of you relate to this type of behavior? If you struggle to give yourself (and your body) a break you’re most definitely not alone. Women in particular can be ridiculously hard on themselves, especially when it comes to their bodies. That being said, I find it extremely important–necessary even–to let go from time to time. Below, I share my top 5 insights on how I learned to give myself a break (and why you should to).
1. One Week of Imperfection Isn’t Going to Make You “Fat”: This is something that took me years to learn, but once I did I felt quite the relief. If you follow a healthy lifestyle filled with wholesome food and a good dose of exercise most of the time, one “off week” isn’t going to negate all your hard work. The first time that I tried letting go (and gave myself a real vacation) I actually lost a couple of pounds! Trust me, all the stress and guilt doesn’t do anything for your waistline either!
2. Cutting Back on Gym Time May Actually Make You Stronger: Have you ever taken a few days off from running, only to land yourself a big fat PR the next day? Or skimped on the gym for a week and returned feeling stronger than ever? Sometimes our bodies need these breaks to repair, restore and even build muscle, especially those go-go-go fitness buffs out there. Allow yourself the occasional vacation from exercise, and you’ll be surprised by how much stronger you return. On your “rest week,” feel free to go for a light jog, walk or even take a restorative yoga class. Just don’t stress out about it if you miss a day! It’s going to be OK.
3. Taking a Break Allows For Mental Clarity: Some of my best ideas and articles have come to me during a vacation week. That’s because I’m not inundated with emails, texts or all technology for that matter. When we allow ourselves to fully let go and wind down, the creative juices begin to flow. Go ahead…try it. Even if you aren’t going away on a magical tropical getaway, make an effort to “unplug” for an entire day to see how it feels.
4. You’re Able to Turn Inwardly & Listen to Your Body: When we’re not stressing about food, weight, calories, our next workout (or our next meeting), it forces us to look within. In turn, it allows you to pay attention and really listen to your body. Instead of worrying so much about being “perfect,” you can make decisions based on what’s right for you in the moment.
5. It’s More Fun!: You’re on vacation, for goodness sake! Go ahead and have some fun…live a little! Have that chocolate martini (if you really want it), pass on your daily treadmill run (if you feel like it), ignore your 100+ emails, and don’t be afraid to indulge. No need to feel guilty about it either! That’s the beauty of vacation.
Do you have trouble giving yourself a break? What was your #1 takeaway from this post? If you struggle with compulsive dieting or the need to be “perfect,” my new 90-Day Program “Ditch Dieting, Fall in Love with Yourself” may be for you! I’d love to schedule a free info session with you today to learn more.