What Intuitive Eating Looks Like On Vacation
As some of you may saw on our Instagram feed, I went on a weekend vacation to Telluride a few weeks ago. I realize how lucky I am having this beautiful location only a 6 hour drive from our eating disorder practice in Denver. I thought it would be helpful to see my meals and snacks on this vacation to see how to intuitively eat on vacation. Often times when we are working with clients they discuss how getting out of their normal routine really disrupts their eating and they find themselves going back to eating disorder behaviors when they were otherwise doing well at home.
I attempted to take pictures of every meal and snack I ate for 3 days, but I discovered... a food blogger I am not! I forgot many times to take a picture before I ate something so what you see here is not everything I ate. I tried to remember and note what I had as best I could where there isn't a picture. Also, please keep in mind that everyone's needs are different, and just because this is what I ate that does not mean it should be what you eat. As always, honor your own body including hunger, fullness, and food preferences. With that, let's go!
We drove to Telluride on a Thursday so this first meal is when we arrived on Thursday evening. We were driving most of the day and didn't really do much else that day so my appetite felt kind of wonky, but also I knew I needed to eat. This is a big part of IE; sometimes you don't feel hungry but you need to use your mind to decide to eat sometimes. A big misconception about IE is that you ONLY eat when you feel physically hungry. This is false. Yes we should use our bodies to guide us most of the time but also we need to be able to think about how much food we've eaten even if we don't feel hungry.
We went to Siam Telluride this night for dinner and my husband and I ordered two appetizers, two entrees and shared everything. They were delish! We ordered veggie spring rolls(we wanted shrimp but they ran out) and a seaweed salad for our appetizers.
Then we had a salmon dish with veggies and this kinda weird but delicious scallop/ mango puree dish. Also we both had quite a bit of brown rice on the side.
This meal left me full and satisfied. I was not stuffed at all and probably could have eaten more, but we didn't have any more food!
Friday morning we went to a highly recommended breakfast spot called The Butcher and the Baker. This place did not disappoint! I had a small cappuccino and an omelet. When I ordered the cappuccino I simply said "small cappuccino". I did not specify non fat milk or almond milk or anything like that. I think this is one the best parts about recovery; not being picky or caring about this. I am guessing they made it with whole milk, which in my opinion is the only real way to make cappuccino (unless of course you have an intolerance or allergy to dairy). If you go to the birthplace of coffee (Europe) and try to specify what type of milk you want with your coffee drink they will look at you like you're insane. And for good reason... the fat is what makes it taste amazing and fills you up. Both good things for our health, satiation factor, and appetite.
This omelet (which I forgot to take a pic of until after I started eating) was bomb. It had roasted tomatoes, sauteed spinach, and chevre cheese in it. The English muffin came buttered, there were two halves, and it was freaking delicious. I ate about 3/4 of the omelet, and all of the muffin. I was pretty full after this meal- probably around 8/10 on the fullness scale but I knew I wanted to purposely overeat a bit since we were going hiking after this and lunch would be made up of snacks on the trail. Again, this is IE- sometimes we eat more than what we feel hungry for at the time to avoid getting overly hungry later.
Then we went hiking... for a long time. We didn't mean to go on an all day hike but it was so beautiful, the weather was perfect, and we felt good so we just kept going and exploring. I feel like sometimes these are the best days; when they are spontaneous and unplanned. During our hike I ate several snacks along the way, and admittedly only took pictures of about half of them!
I will admit that if I knew we were going to go on an all day hike (instead of the 2 hour one we originally planned) we would have brought more food with us. So I was a bit hungry on the hike but not starving. Again, this is all part of IE; sometimes we eat more than what we need, sometimes less. I didn't feel worried or that I would die on the hike without more food, and I knew I would eat a big dinner so it all worked out.
I was starving for dinner and knew that pizza was the only thing that would do! We went to Brown Dog Pizza and it was exactly what I was craving. We ordered a large salad to share; I had two servings of what you see here.
And then I got a calzone with spinach and chicken.
I ate every last bite of this calzone. I posted this on our Instagram page that night about how when this meal first came out I thought 'this is so much food I will not be able to eat this' but turns out my body was hungrier than I thought it was. I ate all of it and was still not completely satisfied when we left the restaurant. I was probably about 6/10 on the fullness scale. I saw a few women walk by with gelato and immediately searched it out! Found it a few blocks away and got two scoops- chocolate and hazelnut. I thought my husband would share it with me but he was full from his pizza, so I ate it all myself.
In the past I would have felt ashamed about eating more than a guy but now I give no fucks. Our bodies are so complicated that we can't possibly make eating decisions simply on our gender or body size. I happily finished this by myself and my husband could care less if I eat more than him.
The next day we tried Ghost Town Coffee for breakfast. I got a matcha latte and avocado toast with hard boiled eggs. This meal was on the smaller side but that was fine with me as I still felt a bit full from the night before. It was simple food but very fresh and delicious.
Afterwards we went for a walk around town and then it started to rain so we went back to our airbnb and took a 2 hour nap! I honestly don't remember what I ate for lunch as we didn't go out and have no pictures to show for it. I think I had leftover salad from dinner and some random snacks we brought with us (fruit, nuts, etc).
For dinner that night we went to a new-ish place called the Wood Ear Noodle Bar. It was still raining and cold so a hot bowl of noodles sounded delicious. I got the noodle bowl with chicken, and it came with a bunch of veggies and this weird- looking fried chicken skin, which tasted equally weird. We also got a cucumber salad and chips and guac to share for appetizers.
I ate all of the chicken and veggies out of my bowl and about half of the noodles. There were a ton of them! I didn't feel bad not eating it all. My clients frequently talk about feeling like they need to eat everything on their plates, especially if it's a meal out. My advice is always the same; do not let anyone else (including a restaurant, server, parent, spouse, or otherwise) determine your own nutrient needs. A few hours later when I was about to go to sleep I felt kind of hungry so I ate a larabar around 11pm, then passed out. Again, no rules around what time you should stop eating. If you're hungry, eat.
The next morning we went back to the Butcher and the Baker because it was just so freaking good. I got a small cappuccino (always!) and a breakfast sandwich. It came with two eggs, sausage, chevre cheese, and arugula, with a side of watermelon. I ate every last bite. Delicious! Again I was probably a little overly full but it was so good I wanted to eat it all. This is IE- sometimes we eat more simply because it tastes good.
We went for, you guessed it, another hike after breakfast. This is kind of the thing to do in Telluride. It was about a 3 hour/ 4 mile hike. We weren't in any rush so we took our time and took a lot of scenic breaks. On one of them we shared some grapes.
Back in town we went to a late lunch at La Cocina de Luz. I ordered the field green salad and added chicken. This salad was huge! It had tons of veggies, feta cheese, lime dressing, and my husband gave me some of his guac to add to it (nice guy :)). We also had some chips and salsa on the side. I ate about half of the salad and took the rest to go.
After that we did some exploring in a nearby town. I was hungry on the drive and ate a kind bar and an apple (sorry no pics!) that I brought with me. I was staving when we got back to our room but we were pretty wiped and didn't feel like going out so we ate leftovers and had kind of a mish mash for dinner. I had my leftover salad for dinner but also added some carrots and peppers we had brought with us. Then I had a plate of crackers and grapes because carbs. My body needs protein, fat, carbs, and fiber to help fill me up and leave me feeling full and satisfied.
Later on that night I also snacked on a bunch of cheese and some dark chocolate that we bought that day.
The next day we got up and drove back to Denver so no boring car trip food! I hope this was helpful to see how you can go on vacation and still pay attention to your body and eat intuitively. Eating is not perfect and you can see that sometimes I ate more than what I needed, sometimes. less. Also, if reading this leaves you feeling like 'I could never eat like that' meaning you either overeat a lot on vacation or maybe you restrict because eating out feels scary, please know that learning to IE is a process. It took me years to be able to get to a place where vacations don't stress me out. So if this is you, please have compassion for yourself and where you're at in your journey <3