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  • Writer's pictureJanice Tracey

Eating Healthily On Holiday

3 days in Budapest

Budapest parliament at night
Budapest parliament at night

I'm just back from a 3-day break in Budapest. A beautiful city, full of stories and history and stark generational differences. Check out my Facebook or Instagram pages (December 2022) for some videos.

Also a city full of food and fun, especially at this time of the year when the Christmas markets are in full flow.

How do I eat on holiday?

Clients often ask "What do you eat when you're on holiday?", or "Do you eat healthily all the time?".

As you can see from the pictures, I don't eat healthily ALL the time, especially when I'm on holidays.

On a normal day at home, I try to make choices that I know will make me feel better now, in the short term, but all support my long term health goals of staying strong and well into my 'old age'. I'd guesstimate about 90% healthy choices and 10% not so healthy. Some days more 80/20. That's the balance that works for me. and when I'm working with clients that's my main goal, to help them find the balance that works for them.

On holidays, I don't overthink the healthy choices, I tend not to think "Am I getting enough protein", or "Is that too much sugar", or "I need more vegetables", and I go with the flow of whatever is on offer and whatever I fancy.

Hence the hot chocolate and burger and chips which were absolutely gorgeous. I really enjoyed them.

The avocado and sourdough, and the omelette both breakfast choices, were pretty healthy options, better than the croissant/pastry alternatives my hubby chose. That was a semi conscious choice on my part. Somehow my body will tell me "That's enough of that" if I've overdosed on the starchy refined carbs and sugar, and I veer for more protein and healthy fats.

Funny story about the big bread bowl picture. At the end of our first day, which was full of starchy refined carbs, traditional Langos (like a fried pizza base), Hungarian Chimney cake, and Mulled Apple juice, I really was craving a healthier choice in the evening.

I opted for Hungarian Goulash Soup at the Christmas market and low and behold it came in this massive crusty bread bowl. I looked at the guy behind the counter like as if he was crazy.

With the liquid all soaked into the bread, it had to be eaten but I didn't finish it - all too much.

Burning up holiday calories

In terms of the amount of steps I walk and km covered over the 3 days in Budapest, it added up to 90,000 steps and about 60km.

A few people have said, "ah well, you can eat anything with that amount of walking".

I urge you to UNLINK your level of activity with your food choices.

It's unhelpful in so many ways. You don't have to 'earn' your food, either healthy or unhealthy. And to be honest, you can't outwalk a bad diet, even a temporary holiday bad diet. We always overestimate the amount of calories burned from exercise. It's not an exact science and don't believe everything your smart watch tells you.

I have no idea how much weight I gained on holiday. I do know that after a week or so of my normal healthy eating, in a style that supports my healthy ageing goal and suits my age and activity levels, It will normalise.

Weight loss is not my goal, weight maintenance as part of my healthy ageing goal is however important to me.

Food is fuel, but food is also information for your cells. Poor quality food equals poor quality fuel and dodgy information. We can hack both temporarily but not long term.

What if weight loss is my goal?

When working with a client with weight loss as an overall goal, I still approach post holiday weighs with great caution, counsel and support, and the realisation that holiday gains are just that, temporary blips.

It's not what you do some of the time that counts, it's what you do most of the time.

But more importantly, food choices are about more than your weight. Food choices dictate your health status, now and in future years. Weight is only part of that overall picture.

Mindful Eating for Holiday Eating

Eat mindfully, which includes eating slowly (See my blog post on mindful eating ) When we eat mindfully, it also helps you to only eat when you are hungry and to tune in to what your body is telling you.

This really worked for me on my break in Budapest. I tended to eat less when I ate mindfully. I seemed to be more tuned in to my appetite signals which often led me not to have dessert, or to choose a smaller portion. . We should be using these when we eat at any time, but they become all the more important when we are indulging on holidays, Christmas or occasions.

The Bottom Line

Anyway, the moral of the story is, when on holidays, food is often such a part of the experience so go with the flow. I'm definitely not suggesting a sugar or crappy food fest, but enjoy the experience, food and all.. And when you come back home, resume your normal healthy eating and everything will stabilise.

If you'd like some help with getting the balance right at Christmas, check out my Happy and Healthy Christmas Webinar on Monday 12th December at 7pm.

Christmas can be healthy and still full of treats and truffles. No-one wants to feel awful in January, but we still want to enjoy the traditional festive treats.

Join me on this webinar and I'll give you the lowdown on how you can still enjoy your Christmas and feel fab in January.

I'll be talking about Christmas drinks, giving you some great foodie gift ideas and covering lots of nutritional gems to help you feel your best over the festive season and into 2023.

Investment is £10

You'll get a full Festive Recipe Booklet ( 25 recipes) sent out after the event that includes Christmas Porridge Bread, Oat and Almond Christmas Cake, Chocolate Truffles, Cranberry Oatcakes, Christmas Spritzers, Mulled Wineless, Christmas Crumble, Festive Granola and loads more.

Would you like help aligning your diet and lifestyle with how you want to feel? Maybe you have a current health condition and want some help managing it. Why not book a Free Discovery call with me and see how I can help. I specialise in helping women in midlife and beyond create a life full of health, wellness and bouncing vitality.

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