An explanation as to why we eat so much when we’re on vacation…you heard it here first!

The minute an initial email is sent about an upcoming bachelorette weekend for a girlfriend 2 things happen. First, ample “reply alls.” You may too chirp in with a whimsical response of “omg, can’t wait” or “it’s going to be the best weekend ever,” with 7000 exclamation points. Second, we mentally start packing. And when we pack, we pack our snacks with the same diligence we pack our clothes & toiletries. There’s planning, prepping and plotting. Most of which happens in the aisles of a Target while sipping a Starbucks latte and trying to keep up with 3 different group texts about the upcoming weekend. Your inner monologue while in Target might sound something like this, “I’m going to try to eat healthy this weekend so Skinny Pop, yes, need the biggest bag they have. Now let me go grab some healthy nuts. “Oh but here’s a Costco size square container of individually packaged Twizzlers, yes, I’ll get these for everyone else to enjoy. Oh here’s a 38 oz. circle tub of Archer Farms Trail Mix with peanuts & M&Ms, yes, need, healthy enough. Don’t forget you need paper towels, hair ties and a Father’s Day card. Umm is that a limited edition bag of all pink Starbursts, that’s amazing, I need these. Oh and you need zip lock bags, an avocado for dinner and Venus razer replacement blades. Oh look, the limited edition S’mores Oreos I just saw in my newsfeed on Facebook, absolutely need to get these for everyone to try. ”  

This past weekend I attended the bachelorette party of one of my favorite people. My friend, Liz, from college. We cheered together.  When my best friend, Kate, and I loaded up her car to start our 2.5 hour drive to upstate New York for the party, we took a moment to laugh before we shut the trunk. It looked like the two of us were going away for a year. The trunk was packed to the brim with our matching Vera Bradley bags, pillows, blankets, towels, snacks and a breast pump. The same way we overpacked things like pillows and blankets “just in case,” we overpacked food.

Nonetheless, after a quick stop at Starbucks for nonfat  grande lattes with one pump hazelnut for the drive, we were on our way. Upon arrival we headed into the kitchen of the big rented lake house to load our snack contributions onto the communal counter. Since we were the last two gals to arrive, there wasn’t even room for what we had brought. There was something to satisfy every craving… salty, sweet or savory. The room was full with friends and calories. The unopened bags and boxes brought anticipation of fun weekend.

The weekend was filled with bon fires, boat rides, morning yoga, lots of laughs, lots of gossip and of course, lots of calories consumed. In fact, the weekend ended with us, eating a table of candy looking at a phone filled with Facebook pictures from college. Everyone admitting that they ate too much this weekend. And of course we all ate all much, because it was there, right in front of us.

Maybe you haven’t been to a bachelorette party recently but I’m sure you’ve been to a girls getaway or family vacation.

It had me thinking, most getaways or vacation involves a good snack binge. All car rides are accompanied by tons of snacks. The hotel rooms we stay in,  always need snacks. Life needs snacks. And none of us want to eat these snacks YET at the same time, all we want to do is eat these snacks. Why is this? Why do we need the comfort of these things? It’s not because we’re hungry. It’s certainly not because we want to gain weight. It’s not because we haven’t made plans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. None of us are going on vacation to a hotel room and getting snowed in for 5 days. So why do we always leave the places we go feeling overfull and hungover with guilt?

What I am coming to realize is that these snacks are comfort. They’re life’s giant security blanket that’s big enough for all of us to fit under. They’re friends at a party as much as every human in the room. They bring stories, they bring happiness but most importantly, they guarantee a good time. See in life, we all set the highest expectations for everything we do. These expectations are so high, they’re almost impossible to reach.There is so much pressure for everything we do to be so perfect, so fun and so Instagram worthy. Every vacation taken needs to have the perfect clothes, the perfect weather and the perfect pictures. Snacks secure that. A hotel room filled with snacks can secure happiness regardless if our resort and weather aren’t up to par. The same way a place filled with snacks can secure happiness if our friends can’t. If anything doesn’t reach the expectations we’ve envisioned, food can help us hit the high. I assume similar to the same way we gravitate to drinking when we want to have a good time. After all they’re called “spirits” for a reason, to lift the mood.

So if this is the case and we don’t want to always leave a fun weekend filled with food remorse I think we all can lower our expectations a little. We can do that by simply remembering that the imperfections in life are what makes it perfect. The rainy days are sometimes brighter than the sun. The awkward moments bring the biggest belly laughs. And there is never a need to filter your perfectly imperfect reality. Food can add to the party but it doesn’t need to be the party. This simple way of thinking can save us calories…. and cents at any Target checkout:)

At the end of the day, we’re all essentially just trying to live life to the fullest and if a bag of your favorite gummy candies does that, its ok to let it. Happy Monday!

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Here’s my friend, Lizzie, on her bachelorette weekend. She actually said, if “I’m not the cover of Monday Dieter on Monday, I’ll be pissed.” Love you girl!!

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