On my first big overseas adventure, I gained about 7kg in 6 weeks. I’m being conservative there, it was more like 10kg. But even thinking about gaining so much weight so quickly doesn’t sound possible and yet, my thighs will confirm it did happen.
Everyone kept telling me I would be ‘fine’ and weight gain wouldn’t be an issue because I would be ‘walking everywhere’. That’s a bloody lie! I’m not an Olympic power-walker. I wasn’t walking my way across Europe over that 6 week period, oh no, I was eating my way across it and doing a mighty fine job of it too!
The only walking I did was between bakeries or to get from one coffee shop to the next. Most of my time was spent with my ample, and ever-expanding, derrière planted firmly on the bus, munching down Milka chocolates and drinking cans of coke. That last point is weird as I never drink coke, yet somehow it became totally normally in Europe.
But here’s the thing, I had a really great time and have so many happy memories from that trip. I ate everything I wanted to eat, I got fat and I don’t have any regrets because it was one of the best times of my life, it changed me. Of course, when I got home I started eating healthy and exercising again and got back to my normal, healthy weight range.
When you’re on holidays, you’re going to want to eat lots of amazing new food and my personal theory is you shouldn’t miss out if you don’t want to. Holidays are all about experiencing new things and doing the things you’ve dreamed of. Imagine going to Rome and never having a slice of pizza or a cup of gelati. Imagine going to Paris and never trying a fresh croissant or a crème brulee.
One of the best things about travelling is trying the local food and experiencing something new and incredible. It’s easy to make yourself feel guilty about indulging when you’re on holidays, I used to do it to myself all the time, but then I saw that scene from Eat, Pray, Love and it was liberating. You know the one, where Elizabeth (played by Julia Roberts) is munching down a delicious, fresh pizza in Naples with her friend Sophie, who is feeling guilty about eating cheesy carbs. In case you’ve forgotten it, here it is:
“Let me ask you something. In all the years you have undressed in front of a gentleman, has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out and left? No? It’s because he doesn’t care! He’s in a room with a naked girl, he’s just won the lottery! I am so tired of saying no. I’m tired of waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed, so I know just how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish this pizza and then we are going to go watch the soccer game and tomorrow, we are going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.”
That scene from Eat, Pray, Love sums up my travel theory perfectly, thanks Julia! If, like me, you’ve been prone to making yourself feel guilty about what you’re eating on holidays, just stop it. Don’t put yourself through the self-loathing and shame, just let it go and enjoy yourself.
I make sure I live a healthy lifestyle while I’m at home so I can indulge while I’m away and not spend the entire time beating myself up about it. I also make sure I pack my big-girl jeans, just in case things get a little crazy while I’m away and my skinny little size 10’s don’t fit me after 4 weeks of gelati-fuelled indulgence. Mmmm Gelati.
If you have any guilt about the idea of gaining weight when you travel, or if you have gained weight during travel, give yourself a break. You are beautiful and wonderful just as you are. Take a moment to appreciate that! Then, decide what your healthy, ideal body is and make some decisions to get to that place, the place where you are happy and you feel comfortable. But whatever you do, go gently. Be kind to yourself.
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.