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How to avoid post-Easter guilt

I don’t know about you, but in my mind Easter is synonymous with chocolate.

If you’re a bit of a chocoholic like me, this time of year can be a little bit difficult to navigate without overdoing it on sugar.

Here’s a few tips to help you enjoy the Easter holidays:

1. Allow yourself to enjoy your favourite treats. For both myself and many of my clients, restricting yourself and feeling like you can’t eat something you love tends to backfire.

As humans, we have a limited amount of willpower and during times like Easter when we are constantly bombarded with ‘temptations’ we might be very good at saying no for a little while but eventually this starts to wear thin. Combine this with the inner child inside all of us who wants everything more when they’re told they can’t have it, and we have a recipe for disaster.

Also, life is too short not to enjoy it. A few days with a couple of extra small treats doesn’t matter in the slightest in the long term. Our usual daily eating habits are much more important and if we get stuck in a thought cycle of

“I’ve failed my diet because I’ve had a chocolate egg - so I may as well finish the whole box (plus the packet of hot cross buns) so that they’re all gone and I’ll start again after the holidays”, then we’re much more likely to overeat and gain weight.

Instead, rather than just eating for the sake of it, be mindful of choosing small amounts of your favourites (for me it’s Lindt or Cadbury and I’m happy to go without other brands that I don’t love). Then focus on savouring them rather than scoffing them down quickly without really tasting them.

2. Listen to your body.

Think about the last time you overindulged with your food or drinks. Can you remember how it felt? Often it might be ‘sluggish, tired, very full, bloated and / or uncomfortable’. Personally I also often feel foggy-headed and notice it affects my skin. If it’s sugar, I also feel it on my teeth.

Use this opportunity to practise eating amounts of food that feel good (eg. Comfortably full, energised). Also remember that you’re human and none of us are perfect. Even I don’t get it right all time time - which brings me to tip number 3.

3. Practice self-compassion and self-care.

If you’ve overdone it by eating foods (or amounts of foods) that don’t feel good or align with your goals, you may be tempted to feel guilty and punish yourself by going on a strict diet.

For most people, this doesn’t work.

What does work better long-term is accepting what happened, learning from the experience, and moving on. The next meal is a fresh start.

Focus on actions that will make your body feel good. This might be delaying the next meal or snack until you’re actually hungry again, doing some gentle exercise or choosing lighter meals with extra salad or steamed vegetables for a few days.

So in a nutshell: enjoy yourself whilst trying to eat amounts that don’t leave you feeling sluggish, then get back to your usual healthy habits.

Happy Easter everyone!

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