When I first got the idea to write this article, I was going to title it something along the lines of "Why It's OK That I'm Going To Break My Diet While Abroad."
But if we're being honest, I can't write that article about something that I am not feeling OK about yet.
It is currently two days before I depart for Italy, and I have been lying on my couch with some sort of horrible cold that I seem to have contracted overnight. As I sit there through the twists and turns of having chills and needing soup, then heat flashes and eating bowls of ice cream, I began to feel bad about sitting around all day and eating "bad" food. I told myself, "It's fine, I'll just eat better the rest of the week."
But that's when it hit me. I'll be in Europe, surrounded by pasta and gelato, in a T-minus a couple of days.
And that's when I began to slightly panic.
Now, my fear of leaving home and not being able to eat as healthy as I can while under my parents' roof is nothing new. I felt the same emotions the summer before I left home for my freshman year of college. I had finally gotten my healthy diet on track after a crazy senior year of graduation parties and lots of celebratory treats, and then I had to learn how to transfer that over to dining hall food. Bleh.
Now I find myself in a similar position.
And I want to say that I'm not going to worry about it, that I'm going to live in the moment and experience all the Italian food and NOT feel bad. But right now I can't say that with confidence. I think that it will take me some time to adjust and find a balance. But the scariest part is when I begin thinking about how breaking my healthy diet makes part of me feel reluctant to go on the adventure that would cause this deviation.
Obviously, I would never back out on an opportunity like this, but I can't lie and say it won't be a struggle not to feel guilty.
And because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I have some incentive to not let the food rules of society rule my experience. And who knows, maybe it will give me a new perspective on my (sometimes) obsessive ~healthy food only~ mindset once I return.