Don't Binge and Drive

A few weeks ago, I headed on my long awaited Spring Break road trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama. First stop: Nashville, Tennessee. For most, the inability to move more than an inch or two for hours is what they dread the most. But me? I personally had another concern: what the f*ck was I going to eat?

For anyone else who feels conflicted between fighting cravings for that bathing suit bod and diving back into the delicious taste of salty Lay's potato chips and chocolate covered is a guide for staying strong. Or at least sane...

Photo: Remy Kam (Wisconsin '16)

Photo: Remy Kam (Wisconsin '16)

Rule #1: Know Your Habits

How hungry will you actually be in the time you’re traveling? Are you the type that tends to eat snacks every couple of hours, or do you stick to three large meals a day? If you get hungry, will you just eat anything around you or will you allow yourself to starve? I personally need to eat every couple of hours and therefore try to bring several healthy alternative snacks so that the uncontrollable hunger doesn’t cause me to reach for something I wouldn’t normally chose to eat. If you happen to be one of those people who can go hours on end not being hungry, I envy you.

Rule #2: Know Your Bod

Everyone is different. We all prefer to eat different things and our bodies and minds respond differently to the food we put inside of it. If your best friend can eat ten bags of chips and feel ready to take on the world, don’t necessarily think the same thing applies to you. And vice versa. If you want to eat something that’s stereotypically unhealthy, do not feel pressure by your friend eating apple slices in the seat across from you. There is no reason to allow what other people chose to eat affect your own feelings and choices. Stay strong in what’s best for you and you will be happiest. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Rule #3: Is It Worth It?

As much as you know what’s “bad”, be realistic with yourself about the types of snacks you’ll eat on the road. If you want Goldfish, buy the Goldfish if you think you can restrict yourself to a healthy portioned amount. If you have more binging tendencies, maybe having a whole bag to access (especially when you get bored) isn’t the best idea. Whatever your decision, just be realistic about your expectations with your choice. If the consequences feel worth it, go for it, but then realize you have no right to complain.

Rule #4: Do as Jess Glynne says and, “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself”

If you went to the market and carefully selected healthy items for your trip and end up indulging in the extra candy bars your friend brought, forgive yourself. This is huge, because most of the time when we feel defeated it’s when our eating habits get even worse. One day of unhealthy eating, or one unhealthy food item, will not ruin everything you’ve worked for. It is okay to address that maybe you should’ve have eaten this or that, but once you do, let it go. Call it a cheat day and do better tomorrow. Food guilt is the worst.

Photo: Sophia Schoenau (Tulane '18)

Photo: Sophia Schoenau (Tulane '18)

Rule #5: Bring Water

The same signals are sent to our body when we are both hungry and thirsty. If you just ate a large breakfast and have been in the car for about an hour, you are probably thirsty. We are so much more dehydrated then we realize. While it’s also true that having to stop for a bathroom break every couple of hours isn’t ideal, you’ve gotta give some to get some.

Rule #6: Food is Not the Enemy

Driving for hours and hours on end can become (for lack of better words) incredibly boring. If you are hungry, eat. But if you are bored, try drink some water, read a book, listen to some music, or entertain yourself in another way. Food is not the enemy, but your stomach may not be too happy with you if you don’t pay attention to the true needs of your body. Eating is something that you must do for your body, but it should not be viewed as an extracurricular activity.  

Rule #7: Stay Balanced

I write this rule mostly for myself. The more you think and analyze the food you have consumed and the amount you’ve worked out, the more you allow it to affect you in a negative way. Although this may not be the most active day of your life, your body is still working, calories are being burned, and therefore food needs to be consumed. Don’t deprive yourself.

Rule #9: Have Fun

You’ve got this. Do not let your concerns about food distract you from the overall amazing experience you are about to have. Eat when you’re hungry. Indulge a little. Drink that water like it taste like champagne, and maybe drink that champagne like it tastes like water if you feel like it. Most importantly, strut that bikini like you're Candice Swanepoel on the Victoria Secret runway. If you’re not confident, fake it 'til you make it. You are your own worst critic—everyone else thinks you look amazing.