Tips for Easter Eating

Posted on 11 April 2017 by Dominic

It’s hard to believe that the Easter Holidays are upon us, it feels like December was just the other day!

Whether it’s Easter, Eid or Pesach or any other festival, remember it’s a holiday and over the holidays we tend to eat more than usual and it’s quite normal. Even people with a “normal” relationship to food eat more over the holidays. So expect to eat more at some meals.

Some religions practice fasting or elimination of foods at this time of year, so we need to be mindful that when we restrict certain foods and after a period of elimination there can be a backlash of overeating those foods.

This is also a time of year when there is chocolate everywhere! Easter bunnies, chocolate covered marshmallows, Lindt bunnies! (If you haven’t yet tried the gold Lindt bunny with the green bow, do yourself a favour and try it – lots of crushed hazelnuts – very yummy!)

Let’s move onto the tips….

Create Meaning

What is important to you about this time of the year? It could be the meaning of Easter or Pesach. Perhaps it’s the people with whom you are spending time or perhaps it’s just a much-needed break! For those of us in South Africa, the past few weeks have been difficult for most of us… I caught myself eating mindlessly as I was reflecting on the effects of the downgrade of our country to junk status.

Pay attention to your hunger

Try not to let yourself get too hungry. Our brain goes into panic and famine thinking that will tend to trigger overeating later. If you are preparing for a function – remember to eat! We tend to neglect ourselves and just taste mindlessly as we cook. If you are feeling hungry and have a few hours until your meal – have something small to take the edge off.

Give yourself permission to eat what you want … without the guilt!

Yes, this includes chocolate and hot cross buns and teiglach! Restriction and elimination of foods just leads to craving and eventually we overeat or binge on these foods. So whatever it is you want, give yourself permission to have it!

Do not catastrophise your eating

Beware of “all or nothing” and judgmental thinking around food and eating. Just because you overate at a meal, had chocolate or potatoes or anything you think you shouldn’t have, does not mean you have blown it! You did not commit a crime, all you did was eat!

Have fun, relax and have a break

It’s time for a break. It’s time to rest and play. If we aren’t having fun and connecting with people we love, the chances are we will turn to chocolate or food for fun.

Eat as mindfully as you possibly can

It’s quite challenging to eat mindfully when there are lots of different foods and when there are lots of people and events. Often during the holidays our emotions can run high too!

  • Before eating, take a few deep, slow breaths.
  • Assess your hunger and how your stomach feels.
  • Choose the food you love and leave the rest. Eat what you love first, don’t leave the best for last because you may feel too full at the end of the meal.
  • Use your senses… see, smell, feel, taste the food.
  • Eat sloooowly with your full awareness and attention.
  • Remember to put your knife and fork down in-between bites and not to pick up your fork until you have swallowed the food in your mouth. Don’t forget to chew your food.
  • Practice the pause. Pause in between mouthfuls and pause when you are halfway through your meal.
  • Tune in. Tune into your belly. Are you half full? How full do you want to be?
  • If you have reached a comfortable point in your body but your mind still wants more… remember you can have more later!

Whatever you do, whether you overeat or eat just enough or undereat, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Let it be… Let it go as best you can. Be kind to yourself. Feeling bad, ashamed or guilty about what or how much you are eating does not help to change the behaviour. It is more likely that you will end up eating to suppress those feelings.

No matter what happens, choose kindness, compassion and patience. As I often say to my clients: you cannot hate yourself into change.

This holiday…

May you be safe
May you be at peace
May you treat yourself with care

Be well!
Xen

Do you want to learn more about what Mindful Eating is all about? Book a FREE Introductory Session with me or sign up for my free email series - "30 Days of Mindful Moments".

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