Easter is coming and we are all looking forward to the long weekend and spending quality time with family and friends. But, for those of us trying to lose weight, Easter can also be a time of temptation, frustration and regret. Between Easter Eggs, Hot Cross Buns and big family dinners, Easter can derail your weight loss. But it doesn’t have to. Let’s make a plan so you can avoid the anguish, enjoy yourself, but also stay on track during this holiday season.
Restrain your Shopping
It can be tempting to over purchase Easter treats. Everyone loves the idea of piles of Easter Eggs and I know many of us love ‘treating’ our kids. But if you have too much in the house, it makes it very difficult for you to resist temptation. Simply having less in the house makes it easier for you and it also models to your family the concept of moderation. Nothing is a greater gift to your family than health - yours and theirs.
Instead of having a big bowl of chocolate for anyone to munch on, try allocating the treats to each family member, including yourself. That way, it helps with portion control. You can only eat your allocation and nothing more. Even though you might be tempted to steal your kids eggs, you won’t be able to if everyone knows exactly how many they were given. Once you have eaten your two for example, that's it.
Buy quality over quantity
All Easter Eggs (and Hot Cross Buns for that matter) are not created equal and it is much better to buy fewer, high quality Easter Eggs than over indulge in lots of cheap, waxy chocolate. Instead of buying many packets of cheap Easter Eggs, buy one with top quality chocolate. Dark chocolate has more health benefits, and because it is so rich, it is more difficult to over eat.
But a word of warning, don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because it’s dark chocolate it's health food! It might be slightly better for you, but dark chocolate still has a lot of calories and should definitely be a ‘sometimes food’.
If you know you’ve got a big dinner Sunday night, plan to go for an equally big walk Sunday afternoon. Walking briskly for 30 minutes will burn about 100 calories. Exercising is also good for the soul. Connect with your breath, your muscles and with nature.
Avoid all or nothing thinking
It is perfectly possible to have one Easter Egg and stop. Just because you have one Egg doesn’t mean you have to eat the whole packet. Beating yourself up for one indulgence can often lead to overeating. “I’ve blown it, I might as well eat the whole packet.” This kind of thinking actually makes weight loss even harder. If you feel like you’ve derailed, it’s OK. Take a deep breath, be kind to yourself and reset. Don’t wait until next Monday to get back on target - choose the very next bite to get back on track.
If you can , opt for Eggs which are hollow, which obviously contain less chocolate and therefore less calories.
If you have well-meaning family and friends who give you Easter Eggs, you can consider regifting them. Allow yourself a small ‘treat’, but then give the rest away to your kids or your neighbours. It will make their day and it will remove your temptation.
Stick to tradition
The temptation is to eat Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs all weekend long. But, by sticking to tradition you can still enjoy some yummy foods without blowing out. Good Friday morning is when we traditionally eat Hot Cross Buns, so have one on Friday morning and avoid them for the rest of the weekend.
Similarly, Easter Eggs are traditionally saved until Easter Sunday. So, tuck that special egg away and be strong about not ‘egging’ sooner than Sunday morning. Delaying the gratification will actually mean you enjoy it more and it will seriously minimise the overall calories of the weekend.
Be “weightloss smart”
We’re certainly not saying you can’t have a Hot Cross Bun on Friday morning.You can still enjoy food, but make sure you are weight loss smart. That might mean choosing Traditional over Chocolate or Peanut Butter Hot Cross Buns. Have a small amount of Olive oil spread instead of lashings of butter. Go for a hollow easter egg instead of a cream egg. Try chocolate dipped strawberries instead of solid chocolate. If you are clever you can still enjoy special foods without letting them ruin your weight loss.
Chocolate is delicious - there is no doubt about it. So if you eat it, actually enjoy it. Don’t stand in the kitchen and shove it in. Sit down somewhere comfortable, look at it, smell it, take small bites and truly taste every mouthful. You will eat less and you will enjoy it more.
Enjoy your weekend
Hopefully some of those tips will help you enjoy your Easter, without derailing your weight loss trajectory. Remember that what is truly special about holiday weekends is time to sleep in, reflect, read a good book, catch up with friends, go for a long walk, start a project.
Easter is also much more than Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns. It’s also about hope, new life and new beginnings. Use this as a time to reflect on your weight loss goals. Do you need a reboot? Do you need to shed things that are holding you back? Do you need to implement new routines, new mindsets, new structures? Like a chick breaking through the hard egg shell, this rebirth can sometimes be hard, but it will be worth it. It’s never too late to give yourself a new beginning.