What to do if you feel like you ate too many Easter eggs
I love Easter. I love the long weekend, I love a roast dinner, I love the egg hunt (no shame in being in your mid-twenties and still scrabbling about the shrubbery in your Mum's back garden to find the most Creme Eggs before your brother does), I love spending time with my family and obviously, I bloody love the choc. I love that crack of cold chocolate as you plunge both thumbs into an Easter egg, I love making a bowl with one half and crumbling shards of sweetness into the other, I love the sweet sugary pastel shell of a Mini Egg and biting the ears off a Lindt bunny. I love Easter. I love it all.
For the past couple of years, Easter has kind of crept up on me, but it used to be a huge event in my calendar. I would count down from the 40 days of Lent, when i’d invariably give up chocolate, sugar, bread, crisps or some other food I loved but totally demonised and treat Easter Sunday as a complete binge day. And on and on it would continue until all my eggs were gone- it was usually within the space of about two weeks. I was in awe of friends who still had Easter eggs in our university house in June, totally untouched. They whittled their way through their stash slowly but surely, eating chunks of chocolate after dinner and in front of the telly when they fancied it, offering it around to all of us and then wrapping the foil back around the egg when they felt satisfied. It was a far cry from my approach of eating all my chocolate as quickly as I could, often alone, often in secret, often well past the point of fullness and often feeling awful about it afterwards. I remember that probably the worst binge I’ve ever had featured an Easter egg as pudding: I had just got back from a ten mile run (my own personal form of purging) and gorged on chocolate until my tummy hurt so much that I had to lie down for a few hours.
Now, there’s no shame in eating your eggs all at once if you fancy it. I dare say that as you read this, I’m probably elbow-deep in Malteser bunnies but now that I don't diet, try to eat intuitively and have stopped regarding food as 'good' or 'bad': I am one of those pals. Until last weekend, there was still a full chocolate orange in my kitchen cupboard from Christmas, along with the contents of three Cadbury selection boxes, an unopened box of fudge and a tray of out of date mince pies. I found that once I removed sugary treats or anything I once regarded as 'tasty but evil' (copyright: me) from a pedestal, it stopped having power over me. I don't feel the need to restrict 'bad foods' because I've worked really hard to remove that from my vocabulary. I love sugar, I'd say I pretty much have it every day but because I don't restrict it anymore, these days I rarely ever binge on it. I think the rubber band analogy works well in this situation- imagine restricting yourself from eating a certain food is like stretching a rubber band: the more you avoid something you want to eat, the more you pull and pull on the rubber band until it snaps. And that snap is you diving headfirst into a vat of Mini Eggs, eating them uncontrollably, until you probably end up pretty uncomfortable. These days, there is no rubber band when it comes to eating chocolate: I eat it in a quantity I want, when I want, without judgement or shame and that's something I'll be working into my attitude towards all the Easter eggs that are (hopefully) coming my way.
If you're feeling a little apprehensive about Easter or think that you ate too many eggs, then first solidarity, pal, we've been there too, and secondly, here are a three lil tips that'll hopefully help you through the next few days.
Whenever, wherever. You can eat chocolate whenever and wherever (you and that Creme Egg are meant to be together). If there isn’t the time limit of one day or one week or one month then you don’t have to eat it all at once. There’s no last supper mentality. There's no binge. There’s no 'I’ll just eat it all now and get it out of the house and then I won't eat it'. Eating it is kind of the point of food, pal, so enjoy it and try to listen to your body, but eat as much of it as you want right now, knowing that you have full permission to eat whatever, whenever and however you want.
Keep your chocolate in the kitchen:
This is hard. I used to hide my sweet treats away but I find if it’s there in plain view in the kitchen cupboards, it neutralises them: they're just like any other food. Chocolate’s not special, it’s not the forbidden fruit, it's not shameful, it’s not something you eat in secret in your bedroom, it's chilling in the kitchen with chickpeas and lentils and custard powder and raisins because it's just another food. Do you keep carrots in your bedroom? No? Why not? And why is chocolate any different?
Be your own caregiver:
Try to be the one to look after yourself at Easter. Imagine you're looking after baby you and baby you happens to eat a little too much chocolate and they end up uncomfy. Do you berate them? Tell them they're a bad, greedy person? Tell them they need to go run 15 miles the next day? Tell them not to eat breakfast? No, you don't. You look after them: you tell them that it's natural and it happens sometimes and the best thing they can do from there is probably drink a glass of water, have a little lie down and respond to whatever their body wants next.
If you're in need of a little more support, my pal Alice wrote a brilliant piece on post-Easter fear last year. Whatever happened over Easter: it's happened now. You can't go back and change it. You can't go back and un-eat that Crunchie bar. So dust yourself off and continue to try to enjoy yourself and the food you're eating, wherever, whenever and however you choose to.
This piece was originally published on my and Alice's monthly newsletter, Since Sliced Bread. We write about how much we love carbs and try to give helpful advice on living a life free from diets. You can sign up to receive the newsletter here and read our archived issues here.