Healthy travel – my new approach

I’m heading off on my first ever trip to New York next week and I’ve been thinking today about how I can stay healthy while still enjoying everything on offer.

Note – If you are looking for tips on how to stop yourself eating less healthy food and how to do hotel room workouts, then this article is not for you. If you are interested in how I balance movement and trying different foods when I’m away, read on…

I hate to admit it but I once went on a 3 week trip to France in my early 30s and didn’t even eat a croissant.

Not one croissant! I love croissants! Looking back now, I cringe with embarrassment with how I thought that was being ‘healthy’ and disciplined. Yes, it was perhaps disciplined but it was also totally insane!

Of course, I want to feel good while I’m travelling and overindulging on less nutritious food isn’t ideal but not even eating one croissant? What was I thinking? Yes, I may have looked great back then but was that type of behaviour really healthy? What was the cost of my ‘healthy’ look when in fact, I was probably not eating enough to properly fuel my body, let alone leading a life that didn’t allow me to enjoy things like a French croissant – in France?

25 years on and a whole lot of work around removing my past dieting culture views, restrictive food mindset and really very destructive thought patterns, I now approach things differently.

(Note that I’m still a work in progress and it still does take some conscious effort not to fall back into my old patterns of behaviour and thinking.)

So, on this trip to New York what’s my approach?

Firstly, I will be doing a lot of walking – a lot! We are staying across the East River from Manhattan and there are 3 bridges to walk over – I plan to mostly use my feet as my primary form of transport. We are also staying near a bike path, so there will definitely be some casual bike riding there and I’ve also earmarked bike riding around Central Park. Not serious cycling – just a leisurely ride.

I have considered maybe exploring some gyms or classes just to see what they are like – but to be honest, the days will be pretty busy and I’m just not sure I’ll get there. I also considered maybe doing a little home workout where I’m staying but reading the Airbnb reviews, my place is super New York tiny and again, the days will be jam packed and I really doubt I’ll get around to a workout.

Therefore, mostly walking and some cycling – I’ll report back about whether anything else happened. But I’m not putting any pressure on myself about other exercise.

Now to the food. (I don’t drink alcohol so that doesn’t come into the equation for me). For someone who rarely eats out and mostly home cooks quite simple food, I know that my gut may get a bit of beating while I’m away. The foods on the list my family want to try are – well, kind of not the most nutritious foods I’ve ever eaten. I did mention about going to a Hare Krishna vegan restaurant that had great reviews but so far, no takers…

So, my idea is to try most of the foods. (Though, I’m just not sure I can actually eat a hot dog, even at a Yankees baseball game – I just don’t like hot dogs.)

Other than that, I’ll be trying the pizza, the burgers, the donuts and all the things.

I have a couple of restaurants earmarked (other than the Hare Krishna one) where hopefully I’ll get to savour some really good food. I’ll try to balance all that with finding some fresh fruit, eating some veges when I can and just generally trying to not go overboard, ie listen to my body and eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’ve had enough (I know, not always so easy). It will be interesting to see how things pan out and how I feel – because I suppose, that’s my ultimate goal. To feel good while also making the most of experiences.

My ideas are probably not what you would imagine from someone invested in health and wellness. However at 54, I no longer believe that not eating a croissant when in France is healthy. My approach is now much more balanced where I believe that being healthy doesn’t mean restrictive eating or punishing exercise regimes. Looking health doesn’t always equate to true health.

Health to me now is also about truly living and experiencing everything the world has offer. And, that’s exactly my plan for New York.

Can’t wait to share my favourite bagel shop…

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