While I am writing this post to hopefully help out some of you, but I am also writing this to help myself. At the moment, I am sitting on a plane headed to Atlanta all by myself. I only bought one plane ticket. Ana wanted to come with me, but I told her to f*** off and stay at home. Okay, well I wish that happened. Not going to lie, she definitely snuck into my head with me. But I don’t have to listen or obey her.
Here are some pieces of advice that I have learned from previous trips!
- Pack along some safety snacks. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to bring my quest bars and boosts with me. But this is the real world, and sometimes shit happens. So I come prepared by packing along a few of these “safe” foods. I’ll probably use some of them. I know I will be challenging myself enough at the meals, so I feel like it’s perfectly fine to bring along a few things to keep my anxiety down.
Speaking of anxiety, don’t forget to pack any medications or vitamins that your doctor has recommended!
- Especially if you are flying, pack meals. Sometimes, things at the airport get really really backed up. Even if you planned to have extra time to pick up lunch or a snack at the airport, sometimes it doesn’t work out. I like to make sure that I bring along any meals/snacks that happen while we are traveling. That way, I don’t miss out on anything and my ED doesn’t have as much of a chance at talking me out of eating.
Have someone to hold you accountable. Even though I am flying alone, I am not really alone. Because I can already imagine the multiple-times a day texts from my mom “did you eat?” “what did you do for lunch?”. As annoying as it is, I know that that kind of accountablity is what I need. If you are traveling with your family/friends, it would be a good idea to mention to them ahead of time that you could use some extra support right now.
- Bring coping skills and set aside free time! Traveling, even “fun” “relaxing” vacations can sometimes bring more stress to those in recovery than just being at home. Make sure to bring along some of your personal favorite coping skills and self love necessities.
Don’t shave! Okay, this might not apply to everyone. But I have a history of self harm, and I leave behind razors to help minimize the chance of self harming.
Have someone order for you. Obviously this isn’t going to happen on this trip. But a lot of the time, I like to have my mom order for me when we are eating out at a restaurant. It helps bring my anxiety down knowing that I have no control over what I am eating, and not having to stress over a menu can make it easier for me to not feel as guilty.
- Do not weigh yourself! In a perfect world, we wouldn’t ever weigh ourselves. But hey, let’s be real! But honestly, I have experienced weigh gain from traveling many times in the past. Traveling, especially flying, DOES make you retain water, get bloated, and weigh a little more for the next few days. Plus, if you are changing time zones, your food schedule will probably be a little different. And the types of foods you are eating are probably not what you are used to eating at home. All of these factors make your body digest food at different rates. If you get home and weigh x pounds more, chances are, it is NOT an accurate representation of your real body weight. Wait a few days after traveling to schedule a weigh in or to take your weight seriously.
- Remember, it is only a VACATION. It is not going to last FOREVER.
What advice do you have to traveling WITHOUT your eating disorder? I’d love to hear!