I (KG here) recently turned 28. This fairly unremarkable birthday gave me pause to reflect on how I have changed since we first started travelling 10 years ago. I was lucky enough to spend my birthday drinking wine and eating great food at a wine chateau in Georgia. Once upon a time, I would have worried about the extra kilo (or five) that this treat would add to my waistline. The younger version of me constantly worried about my weight while travelling. I knew it was silly, but it was a worry that always seemed to linger at the back of my mind. But I got over it – and here’s how.
Stepping off the scales
When we first started travelling, I compared myself to other travellers a lot. I spent energy worrying about what I ate, what I drank and what I wore. Now, I am aware that objectively I am not ‘fat’. But that didn’t stop my negative inner voice taking over. Constantly second guessing myself was boring, and draining. This ultimately took energy away from enjoying our travels and meeting new people.
Then eventually, I realised I had to stop. The first step? I stopped weighing myself. I haven’t weighed myself for 5 years, and I have no intention of weighing myself again any time soon. The second step? I stopped counting calories. I didn’t need my self esteem tied up in useless numbers.The third step? I stopped reading travel blogs telling me how to ‘stay fit on the road’ etc etc. Instead, I made a commitment to be kind to myself, and this included consciously stopping negative thoughts.
Who cares? Nobody!
I soon realised that the friends I made while travelling didn’t care about what I ate or how much I weighed. And vice versa. Travellers choose to hang out with other travellers because they’re fun to be around. Because they’re interesting, easy to talk to, or have a good sense of humour. It dawned on me that people simply didn’t care about my weight, and that I shouldn’t either. In fact, worrying about it so much was actually kind of self-absorbed, and super boring.
Why your weight doesn’t matter
The truth is, your weight will fluctuate when you travel. Where the food and drink is good, and you’re chilling on the beach then you will put on a couple of kilos. But equally when you’re somewhere where the food is crap (I’m looking at you Mongolia) or being super active you will lose those kilos.
And even if the weight doesn’t come off? Who cares. Seriously. I promise that the people you want to become friends with, and the people who already love you, won’t give a flying toss.
So my advice to travellers: don’t worry that you can’t go to the gym or eat the food you’re used to. You are one of the lucky few who are able to travel the world. Make the most of it! Enjoy the food, go out for drinks, meet new people, and have fun. You may never have the opportunity to return. In 20 years time, will you think ‘I’m so glad I opted for that plain salad instead of trying the hellishly fattening Parisian cheese and wine’? No, you will not.
Look after yourself
I’m not suggesting that you go on a booze-fuelled, junk food-laden trip around the world. You still need to look after yourself when travelling. Eat the odd vegetable, get enough sleep, drink water and take a break from drinking occasionally. Listen to your body. If you’re getting burnt out, stop for a few days and rest.
Staying healthy is important. Travel can be hard on your body, and it is easy to get run down and really sick. And being sick on the road is no fun at all! Plus, you want your body to be able to do awesome stuff like hiking to Mt Everest Base Camp or kayaking in Halong Bay.
But that doesn’t mean you need to fuss over everything you put in your mouth.
Does this mean I never have the odd ‘I feel fat’ moment, or wish I looked like the size 0 yoga instructor at the beach? Well, of course not. I do have these moments. But I have a lot less of them now, and it’s fab.
Live in the moment and enjoy your travels! Good luck! Katherine x
Do you worry about your weight when you travel? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.