Healthy Travel and Feelings of Discomfort

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I love traveling.

I love working out and pushing my body to get stronger.

I love eating fresh, colorful, nutritious foods.  That taste delicious, of course.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t quite figured out how to balance those things.  Yes, my travel living habits are definitely out of the ordinary and healthier than those of most 21 year olds, but I still sacrifice some of my usual habits, and it bothers me.

My trip to lapland was a student tour with 60+ people.  We rarely had time for lunches.  Rest stops on the long bus rides were at gas stations.  We snacked on sugary candies from the ‘make your own’ mix stations at convenience stores.  <– Yes, I did take part in this one.  I decided not to be so uptight and ‘live a little’, but now I’m have trouble shaking the sugar cravings.

[note: this is definitely not everything I ate on the trip.  almost all snacks (I had a ton of food packed from home, so I was set with healthy snacks) and a few meals went un pictured]

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Breakfast day 1 – muesli with yogurt, egg, veggies, cheese.  I went back for a few other things, but overall not a bad breakfast buffet.  We barely had time for lunch this day.  I snacked on some nuts and other food I brought along, but by the time 4pm rolled around I was ready to eat my arm off.  After a trip to the grocery store I ate enough snacks to make up for my lack of food during the day.  Newsflash: I am not a fun person to be around when I’m hungry.

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My other midday snack – coffee & cake (fika!) in a tent on the dog sledding/ snow mobiling tour.  I don’t turn down coffee and cake.

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Dinner day 1.  A group of 9 of us pooled some money for a communal dinner.  Which was, of course, pasta.  They made meat sauce, and some veggie sauce, but the meat eaters took most of the veggie sauce before I could get to it.  We had salad, and I added chickpeas to my meal.  I was pleased with this, except that I ate too much, too fast – and not long enough after my giant ‘snack’.

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After dinner treats.  I helped myself to some more chocolate cake (again, too good to pass up) and some of those cookies.  I had a really hard time stopping myself when I was full, but I managed not to dwell on it for too long.

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Breakfast days 2&3 – food brought from home.  Protein chia oatmeal, raisins and pb.  This will forever be one of my favorite ways to start a day.

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And with coffee.

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and more coffee.

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I did manage to pace myself a bit with this bar – it lasted about 4 days.  But that was on top of all the other sugary treats I consumed :-(  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every last over-sweetened bite (not the chocolate, that was bitter goodness), but I definitely felt the effects of the sugar.  Not so pleasant.

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I think this is the only real salad I had during my whole stay there – from a grocery store.  Salad bar = happy Rachel.

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We had a campfire in a tent one night! We were given gluhewine and marshmallows, and brought our own things for grilling.  Most people brought hot dogs.  My lovely vegetarian friend and I decided to do our own thing – packets of marinated tofu and veggies!

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Even our non-vegetarian friends thought this ‘dish’ was really good.  And that it was. (excuse the half-eaten photo. it was really dark in the tent, and I had a hard time getting a good shot)

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I also had about 10 too many marshmallows.  I didn’t feel like I ate beyond fullness (probably because of lack of daytime eating), but again I felt the sugar effects.  Roasted marshmallows taste so damn good, though!

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This was an impulse buy.  It’s something I really should have thought more about before spending the money on (granted it was only a couple of dollars), because I really didn’t need it.  I love licorice, but this wasn’t helping the sugar-binge.

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Another comforting, healthy meal.  Spinach and a lentil mix from the grocery store, buckwheat I brought from home.  Not gonna lie, I felt a little uncomfortable eating this while my peers feasted on more pasta.  Why? I have no idea – it was a delicious meal that kept me full and satisfied.  But something felt off.

Which leads my to my next thing – travel workouts. I brought my gym boss timer with me on this trip.  There were at least 2/5 days I really wanted to bust out a HIIT interval workout in my hostel room.  But for some reason, it just felt way too uncomfortable and weird.  I felt awkward, but also I wanted to fit in, and didn’t want to make any of my peers feel bad that I was exercising.  I don’t know if this is a truly rational thought, but that’s what was going through my head at the time.  It was the same when I was in Copenhagen.  I wanted to do a quick sweat session in the hostel, but felt way too weird.

I’m leaving on another trip tomorrow – to Paris for a week!  I’m super excited – words cannot express how truly excited I am.  I’m traveling alone, so the food anxieties won’t be an issue.  Plus, it’s France – I plan to indulge in all the local fare – wine, cheese, bread, the works.  And I’m going to love it.

But, a week of no higher intensity workouts (I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking) will make me stir crazy.  My mood drops as well – I only realized this when I did a killer workout class the day I got back from Lapland.  I instantly felt happier and much more confident.  I’m not going to stress over working out every day on my trip, but I know how much better I feel when I get in a good sweat.

So, this leaves me asking *anyone* out there:

Does eating ‘strange’, healthy foods in front of others make you feel uncomfortable?

Any advice for how to indulge during travels without overdoing it?

How can I work out during group travels, when I don’t have a private hostel room?

Any other healthy travel advice you have to offer?

I would really love to hear from you.  Or if you choose not to answer, do you have any healthy travel stories to share?

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18 thoughts on “Healthy Travel and Feelings of Discomfort

  1. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    Hey! I can definitely relate to feeling uncomfortable about being healthy and working out in front of other people. I can just feel their stares…and I worry that maybe they think I think I`m `too good` to eat the same food as them. I usually just grin and bear it although more often than not I feel pressured to succumb to greasy fried food (although saying I`m vegan helps passing up on loads of desserts) :)

    Best advice I can give- lots of walking, bring healthy snacks so you can choose those over unhealthy ones and then just try and eat really healthy when you come home- detox that body!

    Working out…I tend to throw random push-ups, high knees and mountain climbers out while others are in the washroom or something. It sucks because we shouldn`t feel weird about it and yet we do! I also just make sure I do lots of walking.
    Gabby @ the veggie nook recently posted..benefits of broccoli and a banana bread smoothieMy Profile

    1. Rachel Post author

      Thanks for the advice, Gabby! I like the idea of throwing in random moves just to stay active – will definitely be putting that to use :-)

  2. Alexis

    All of your foods you did consume look amazing! But I can completely relate to having too much sugar. It really teases my cravings and makes me want it even more.

    Eating healthy in front of others doesn’t bother me anymore.. Eating healthy is what makes me feel good inside and what makes me happy. Those are 2 things that I value above others opinions. And as for working out – again I don’t really care. It gives me a boost of endorphins and makes me feel good even if I look like a complete goober!

    Eeep sorry no advice for indulgences while traveling. I’m a sugar fiend so I have no quirks other than maybe asking someone to split something with you?

    Have an amazing!!! time in Paris! Enjoy every minute of it!
    Alexis recently posted..Do not fear fatMy Profile

  3. Kat @ a dash of fairydust

    I definitely understand you’re feeling weird eating “strange” and healthy foods in front of others. I know that too well,especially because pretty much every one knows about my Eating Disorder (it’s still quite obvious that I’m anorexic at the moment) and of course,people are alsways a bit sceptical if they see me eating such “unnormal” stuff while they eat pizza or something…
    Don’t get me wrong,it’s not that I don’t like or eat pizza myself,I just can’t eat foods like that so often without feeling uncomfortable,so I rather eat “strange” food and feel weird than forcing myself to eat something I don’t want to because it would corrupt my mood…
    Kat @ a dash of fairydust recently posted..Hello again!My Profile

  4. Tayla

    I definitely know what you mean about feeling weird working out in your room…I’d be uncomfortable too but it would drive me nuts not being able to get a nice workout in, like you said, I feel more confident and just overall happier after a really nice sweat! It’s awesome, though that you get to go to all these wonderful places!! I wish I could! Take advantage of it while you can and have fun!!! :)
    Tayla recently posted..I’m Proud Of Myself FridayMy Profile

  5. Eleanor@Eatinglikeahorse

    Wow Paris, I’ve never been but would love to… hope you have a brilliant time!
    I know what you mean in that I miss exercising if I’m away; I feel better when I do and it’s weird not to. I also agree in that eating “different” stuff in front of people feels strange but in my case, I often have to because of my coeliac, which actually helps explain away any other choices I might have made.
    The other thing I agree with is the necessity of coffe. At all times :-)
    Eleanor@Eatinglikeahorse recently posted..Tea and (carrot) cakeMy Profile

  6. Tessa @ Amazing Asset

    I think that overall you did fantastically on this trip- you did splurge and “live a little,” but were also conscious of what you were doing and eating throughout your time out and about. I know it might feel that you focused too much, but that is just fine, you are allowed to be conscious of this! It’s when things get too extreme that it’s no longer okay, as of course you know. i can understand feeling weird about exercising, but maybe for this trip you could just say ehhh, screw it and do your thanggg lady! It might feel odd, but I am sure people would respect you for it. And if you are deemed a weirdo, then those people kinda suck ha. Plus you are going out and eating and such, so you are acting “normally” still while staying healthy
    Have soo so much fun in Paris!
    Tessa @ Amazing Asset recently posted..Bringing Awareness- My Final Research ProjectMy Profile

    1. Rachel Post author

      Thanks, Tessa – once again this is a great way to think about it, puts a few things in perspective :-) I’ve decided I’m going to bring workout clothes and such, but not make it a requirement for myself, and only do it if I feel like it.

  7. Turtle-speed Runner

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I know exactly what you mean! I usually travel by myself but have done Contiki and other group tours in the past. I find it soooo difficult to try to eat healthy when you think other people will be ‘judging’ your choices, as well as exercise!!
    But I think you did really well trying to balance unhealthier choices with your normal healthy choices.
    And don’t forget, it was only a short time of your life!
    Turtle-speed Runner recently posted..Not very green at all…My Profile

  8. Pingback: Paris - Je suis Tombé Amoureuse | Eat, Learn, Discover

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