A couple of months ago I booked a holiday, to Turkey, in the hope it might motivate me to ‘pull myself together’. In reality, I kinda haven’t really given it much thought, until the past week. Fear, excitement, apprehension, joy, happiness, anxiety – you name it, good and bad, they’re all now massively enhanced by its rapid approach!
This will be my first all inclusive, beach holiday, on my own with my super 6 year old, in just over 2 years (last year consisted of amazing city breaks and the magical Disneyland – which are so totally different in every aspect but still so much fun)! I tend to venture away with Harvey, just the 2 of us most of the time, I like being able to completely shut off from everyone (no offence) and the strains of daily life, as well as spending some quality time with the ‘Boss’. We always have gone away as a duo, since he was 2 years old. It’s so much easier now he’s a bit older and I don’t have to juggle carrying him, pushing a suitcase, with the trunki flung over my shoulder and balancing an overfilled coffee amongst all that, whilst legging it across the airport (it was all good fun though!). Now, Harvey has his own little pull along suitcase, thinks it’s brilliant fun pushing our big one too and most definitely does not get carried across the airport, so actually getting on holiday is a doddle and pretty easy really! It’s not without challenges when we’re there, which is where the overwhelming, cocktail of emotions flies into the mix.
Last time we went abroad, I was as close to recovered, I have ever been. I still worried about calories and weight gain but not in such a frantic way. It was there in the back of my mind, however I could ignore any thoughts and rationalise them as opposed to now, the anxiety being completely debilitating at times no matter how hard I try to stop it! Main difference between our last beach holiday and this one, aside from the food aspects and thoughts; I was happy with the way I looked. I was confident and so what if I bloated a bit after a meal, it’s totally normal. I looked healthy and happy (there’s a photo of us in Menorca 2016 below). This time round though my head is in a completely different place.
I’m your typical, young woman in the sense that: sun + pool + cocktails = perfect equation. I am so unbelievably excited to get on that plane, dump my worries and stresses at the airport door, hold my baby’s hand, splash him in the swimming pool and make memories for a life time. That side of things, I have no issue with, the thing that makes me feel a bit apprehensive is my energy levels, aches and pains and anxiety. If I can’t maintain a level of ‘buzz’ it’s game over, Harvey 1 – Mummy 0!! I feel like I’ve planned things pretty well though to try and combat this – express check-in, kids pools, kids clubs (they’re an absolute blessing) and evening entertainment, so minimal effort required on my part, whilst still being able to enjoy our Mummy and Son time, as well as have a bit of a chance to recuperate! Win-win right? I’ll let you know how it works out!
Obviously the big fears and anxiety relate mainly to food, meals, snacks, eating etc. Going on holiday I will leave behind my safety nets (sometimes worst enemies- we have a marmite relationship), my Fitbit and scales. All of my calorie counting is logged on my Fitbit app and there I can see how much I’ve ‘earned’ and how big my calorie deficit is based on my activity. I’m not going to take it on holiday with me, in the hope I can be a bit less obsessive over every tiny, little bite of anything and the fact I need to get rid of the white band around my wrist, where I’ve tanned with it on – oopppss! The scales will be harder to live without. At home, I base what I’m ‘allowed’ to eat on what I weigh – along with the calories, (stupid, I know, water balance and fluctuations don’t seem to matter in this bubble of irrationality), on holiday I won’t have this, so will have to trust my instincts which scares me quite a lot. People have questioned whether I’ll be ok with all inclusive but actually it’s the best option going, taking everything into consideration:
- I don’t have to worry about deciding on where to go out to eat and making that choice (which often causes a surprisingly intense wave of anxiety and stress)
- I don’t have to think about what I feel like eating. It’s buffet based so can have as much or little variety as is on offer
- Harvey will be fed and watered whenever he feels the need and I won’t have to sit at a table with him (except at main meals), or go and physically buy him snacks/meals/ice creams. He can make his own food choices and help himself, with the odd treat of course – which is something I’ve always encouraged in him and he generally eats a fairly healthy, balanced diet, so I trust him to do this. Even with his million meals a day (hollow legs and all that)
- I won’t have to prepare food or even be around food unless it’s time to actually eat. This will eliminate the ‘build up’ to meal times
- If I don’t fancy much there’s no pressure to order a big meal (as you would in a restaurant) and then feel guilty and embarrassed for only picking at it
- Snacks are available pretty much whenever we want but they’re not sat around the room or in my bag, which at times would potentially trigger a binge-purge, which is something I want to avoid like the plague while away. I find it very tough, out of my comfort zone and more so around Harvey, however, there’s occasions where the urges are so strong it’s almost impossible to avoid. I’m fairly confident I’ve put everything in place to make it a bit easier though. So fingers crossed for a B/P free week!
- Last but by no means least… drinks are all free!! I don’t mean I’ll be getting absolutely bladdered but who doesn’t enjoy a cheeky cocktail on holiday!! And ones you don’t have to pay for always taste a bit better!!! This also means no countless trips to the local store to pick up drinks and be around all the food in there.
My biggest food fears are probably; losing control and ending up in a cycle of B/P, finding it so difficult to actually physically eat that I end up feeling flat as a pancake, the overwhelming anxiety of meal times, and the comments I may (or may not) get regarding what’s on my plate – not that it’s of any relevance to anyone but me, however you can imagine how it is, people can be nosey and 9/10 times don’t mean any harm but still, it’s not the best thing to be on the receiving end of.
At home, I’m a bit OCD when it comes to meal planning. I get really stressed out if I don’t know exactly what I’m going to be eating and my anxiety goes insane if I try to ‘wing it’ when it comes to meals and snacks – any other aspect of life and I’m a pro at winging it. But food, nope, I just can’t do it. I need to know exactly what and when I will be having. Every weekend, I turn to my trusty meal planner pad and rack my brains for the week ahead! It can take a surprising amount of time to do, but better that than the alternatives. Going away on holiday, no matter how much I research and prepare (trust me, I’ve exhausted google and tripadvisor) its going to be impossible to plan meals and snacks to the level of detail I do at home. I don’t know precisely what will be on offer (main meals are all buffet based, so could be anything), whether we will eat out at all or what we will be doing and when, and if we will even be in the hotel some days. I guess you could say it’s a fear of the unknown! With my detective skills, I have managed to find out times of meals and snacks and what is available at snack times, not that I’ll indulge in these much, but for Harvey’s sake, it’s good to know and to be able to plan in the option to have something at these times, if I do feel on top of my game and fancy it (wishful thinking, maybe?), so that’s something I guess. Being scared of not knowing what I will be having and not being able to intricately plan, all comes down to calories (notice the theme – it’s all about calories – it shouldn’t be though!). Not knowing the calorie content of the foods I’m going to be eating is a big, scary thought! I could hazard an educated guess, however there’s no certainty and reassurance from our trusty food labels when everything’s in self serve bowls and dishes. I think this is one of the things I’ll struggle the most with! I have a vague idea of what might be on the buffets, so have a rough plan of what meals may consist of, at the same time i’m trying my best to not over plan and end up in a tizz when things aren’t as preempted!
Aside from food, worrying about how I look and being out in my bikini, has been in the forefront of my mind and probably will be while we’re away. I’ve already laid the mental foundations to put perspective on the way I look but it’s not always that easy to just not be bothered. As I said above, people can be nosey. I can’t stand people looking over or staring and having to wonder which part of me they’re judging and what they’re thinking. They may not be thinking anything and may have just glanced in my direction, but I’m a bugger for reading way too deep into things. It makes me feel unbelievably uncomfortable. I’m dreading any comments about the way I look and the fact I’ve “had a child but you’d never know”. You’ll be surprised how often I get this. I know it’s meant as a compliment (most of the time), but it cuts deep and adds to the lack of self confidence, but no ones to blame – not everyone understands and appreciates the struggles or won’t be aware there are any and I do accept that, it’s just processing it all that’s the tough part.
Anyway, I’ve gone on for long enough now. I’m sure the holiday will be a success and my fears and anxiety are a massive exaggeration of what it will be like in reality but only time will tell.
Wish me luck