It is that time of the year again – Easter eggs, hot cross buns, and home-cooked meals. A time to spend with loved ones and celebrate the meaning behind this special time. Food plays an important part in this holiday, which for some can be an exciting time, and for others a time filled with anxiety over all the Easter treats.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where guilt is often served with a plate of food, or treats are wrapped in shame. And this results in people either steering clear of these foods or punishing themselves after they took part in the festivities by starving themself. The sad thing is that this has become so normal, that most people will not even say that they have a toxic relationship with food.
So how do you go about having a better and healthier outlook, improving your association with eating and nurture your relationship with food during Easter?
It is easy to put food in “good” and “bad” categories. When you eat “good” food you are good, but when you eat “bad” food, you feel guilty and ashamed and feel the need to punish yourself for what you did. This little voice inside your head telling you what is right and wrong when it comes to food can create an unhealthy relationship with food and take away your joy with eating. So, replace the critic comments and ideas with gentle and kind words to see all food as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Your body’s main priority is to keep you alive. Therefore, the moment when you starve yourself, you are depriving your body of energy to do normal daily functions. Because your body is so desperate for energy, it produces hormones to make you crave carbohydrates, your main source of energy. When you leave this craving for too long, it is easy to reach a point where your body just crashes, where all logic goes out the door and you just want to eat all the easter eggs filled with sugars without even thinking about it. This results in you having a sugar rush headache, feeling horrible about yourself and then starving yourself again. Instead of doing that, eat to nourish your body to avoid this vicious cycle.
Mindfulness is one of the most important skills you can practice, especially when it comes to eating. How often have you opened a bag of sweets or biscuits and then finish the whole bag without you knowing where it all went? By using mindfulness skills, you can become more in tune with the enjoyment factor of food, so that you can get to that perfect spot of not too little or too much. To feel truly satisfied, but not uncomfortably full. Mindfulness will help you to know how much food is enough for you and your body, and how you feel physically after eating a certain food. This will also help you to start trusting your body to know what is best for you in and at that moment.
You do not want to look back at your life and regret not enjoying an easter egg with your children that are all grown up now, or a warm hot cross bun with a cup of freshly brewed coffee with a loved one that might not be around anymore. Food forms part of experiences and can create beautiful memories. You do not have to over-do it to have a good and memorable time.
We can always learn from our actions, but it is not always the easiest thing to do. We often would rather judge ourselves for an action and make us feel horrible about it. Instead of doing that, ask yourself why you did what you did. Why did you binge eat on easter eggs, or overeat on the Sunday roast? Sometimes it is as simple as you got lost in conversation with your family that you did not notice how much you were eating, but other times it might be that you were eating to make you feel better, which is then the root cause that needs to be addressed.
This is such a beautiful time of the year, and with all the stress in the world, you do not want to put more stress on yourself by something as simple as food. Enjoy every moment, make precious memories with loved ones, and take this as an opportunity.