Easter has been and gone and we (hopefully) got to enjoy a long weekend to celebrate the occasion. I don’t know about you but Easter in my house becomes a second Christmas in terms of food. I headed back home on Saturday evening and was met with plans of a giant roast dinner on Sunday followed by a hot cross bun bread and butter pudding for dessert and then of course there would be all of the chocolate. I remember in the past that Easter would scare me. The thought of not being in control of what I was going to eat was difficult to cope with. I’d either exercise hard in the run up so that come Sunday morning I had earned my right to eat what my family had made and end up binging or I’d not exercise hard and therefore not eat what my family had made and end up binging or I’d not exercise hard but eat what my family had made and then try and “make-up” for it with exercise afterwards and feel so much guilt and shame that I’d end up binging. It was a no-brainer, no matter which of these routes I would take I would end up binging.
This year I decided to take a different route. I allowed myself to eat what I wanted to in the amounts I wanted to which included the giant roast dinner and the hot cross bun bread and butter pudding and the left overs and the snacks and the everything in between. I listened to my body. I honoured it and I felt really in tune with myself. Come Sunday afternoon I didn’t want to gorge on chocolate, I didn’t feel guilty for enjoying my lunch or the need to eat everything in sight because “I’d fallen off the wagon”. There was no wagon for me to fall off and it felt so good. I did enjoy some Easter chocolate in the evening, despite not feeling particularly hungry but because it was Easter and I was sharing an egg with my family and I wanted some. The difference here was that firstly, I ate it and secondly, I didn’t feel immediate guilt for eating outside of physical hunger. This is something which used to be extremely foreign to me. I didn’t enter into a binge state of mind. I ate like a normal eater. Now that the weekend is over I’m not analysing everything I’ve eaten or tried to eat healthily to “balance out” the weekend’s eats. I’ve just continued to listen to my body and respond. I realise that the above scenario may sound like a dream for you. It was for me and when I was stuck in the diet and binging cycles I never thought I could ever be a normal eater. But I’m getting there and so can you.
If you’re feeling guilty about what you have eaten this weekend.. let it go. Today is a new day and when you’re hungry, eat. That doesn’t mean only eat something healthy, that doesn’t mean only eat a certain amount it just means eat in the way that feels best for you today regardless of what happened yesterday. This is how to be an intuitive eater, listening to and responding to your body’s signals but also understanding that sometimes we eat outside of hunger and that’s fine too. That’s normal. I promise.
If you binged this weekend.. let it go. Binging is okay. Accept that it has happened and take a moment today to reflect on why it happened, did something in particular happen and trigger a binge response? Binging is a way of our bodies trying to comfort us and zone out from a situation or it is a response to a type of restriction – either physical or mental. I always see binges as a chance for me to learn something. Do not berate yourself for binging, linking guilty and shame to this will only perpetuate the mentality of needing to remedy it with restriction which will only lead to more binging. I talk about some practical steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a binge on my previous post: So, you’ve binged?
Eating shouldn’t be something we fear or plan for weeks in advance. It’s a basic human need and it is our duty to respond to our body’s requirements to function normally. You cannot plan what your body is going to want in a months, weeks, days or hours time. That’s the act of being intuitive, honouring and responding to your needs in the moment and respecting that sometimes our needs is something on a deeper level than being physically hungry such as being good for your soul.. like splitting an Easter egg with your family on a Sunday afternoon or eating a slice of Birthday cake at a Birthday party or literally any situation where eating makes you happy on an emotional level. Remember that Easter is an occasion to relax into, to enjoy and to make memories and not to stress out as to what you’ve eaten or how many workouts you’ve done.
Finally, please be kind to yourself. If you have been practising restrictive behaviours by dieting for a long time then it is going to take a long time to heal. It’s going to take a long time to work on your destructive thought patterns. But, it’s so worth it. Real change takes a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of emotional exploring. Don’t be hard on yourself if Easter has been a difficult time for you and remember that many people sugar coat their lives on social media and only show you what they want to see. Comparison is the thief of joy and you have to focus on what is the best thing for you. But, I promise you that is never a diet.
If you want to talk about anything that’s happened for you this weekend that you’re struggling with or anything at all then you’re welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t always get back to you super quickly but I will always reply. I am also thinking about doing some Instagram live sessions on similar topics so if there is anything that you are desperate for me to talk to, please let me know!