With Easter around the corner, and a fest of chocolate on offer, you may have thought you’d heard the Easter Bunny calling you!

Around the March equinox, there are many cultural/religious festivals happening – if Easter is not something you participate in, you can apply these tips to any festival.

Remember: it’s a festival

Whether it’s Pesach, Easter, Eid or any other festival – it’s a holiday! It’s very normal for people to overeat on these occasions – even so-called ‘normal eaters.’ So expect to overeat. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but if you give yourself permission, you’re more likely to stop when you’ve had enough.

In remembering that it’s a festival – remember what else about it that is important to you. Perhaps the religious or cultural significance is meaningful for you. Maybe it’s the people with whom you’re spending time. Or perhaps it’s time away from your usual routine.

Whatever it is, focus on that: explore those meanings and expand on them. Why does this matter to you? Then invite all that it means to you to nurture you.

Don’t go hungry

Please don’t starve yourself in advance of the festival meal (or meals). This will just set you up for overeating. When your brain is in starvation mode – and sees food – it switches to feast mode. Don’t set yourself up for that! Eat when you’re hungry in advance of the meal.

Give yourself permission to eat whatever you want

Restriction sets you up for overeating or binge eating. Remember – when you tell a child she can’t have a particular thing, all she wants is that particular thing. Same with you and food. If you tell yourself you can’t, mustn’t, shouldn’t have the soft white French bread, the cream cakes, the Easter eggs, roast potatoes and gravy, or trifle – you won’t stop thinking about it! And, most likely, eventually you will have it – but probably won’t enjoy it, because you’ll be wracked with guilt.

So give yourself full permission to have whatever you want, without the guilt.

If you notice the guilt creeping in, as it no doubt will, then take a breath, and say to yourself ‘oh, that’s one of those old thoughts about what I should and shouldn’t eat. These days I give myself permission to eat what I want.’

Eat as mindfully as you can

It’s often difficult to eat mindfully when there are lots of people around, or lots of activity. Often at these times emotions run high too. So, these guidelines should help:

  • Before you eat, take 3 long, slow, deep breaths
  • Assess how hungry you are
  • If you’re at a buffet, be picky! Select the things you think look really delicious; leave the rest
  • Look at your food – really take it in
  • Smell your food
  • Briefly consider and give thanks for all the people, plants and animals that were responsible for this food getting from where it started, to your plate
  • As best as you can, eat slowly, putting your fork down between each mouthful
  • Half way through, check in with yourself – are you still hungry? Are you still enjoying the food?
  • If you’re no longer hungry, or no longer enjoying it, give yourself permission to stop, reminding yourself that you can have more later

Whether you overeat, undereat, or eat just enough….

BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Let go of your judgements (as being bad as well as being good) – towards yourself or anyone else. Judging hurts. Don’t hurt yourself!

Whichever way you eat, it doesn’t make you a good person or a bad person!

One more tip

If there’s something that really appeals to you but you know you’ve had enough, put some aside on a plate and put it somewhere for later. You may want it then, you may not, but doing this will make it easier to stop when you’re satisfied.

Whatever you’re celebrating, I hope these tips support you in being mindful and kind to yourself!

If you’re ready to transform your relationship with food and your body, I offer a free Discovery Session. This is a high value session – in which you will discover more about your relationship with food and your body, and your next steps. Contact me to find out more.

Sending you love! xxx

With love,
Vania

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