When I say "Easter" to you, what is the first emotion that pops into your head?
Is it guilt and anxiety over chocolate and hot cross buns and all the yummy treats that will surround you?
It is a secret elation that you have a legitimate excuse to let your 'dieting hair down' and indulge in all the BAD food you've been denying yourself?
Is it anger that you will have to miss out on ALL THE FUN of Easter because you can't possibly relax your strict macro weighing and counting even for a day otherwise you will be back at square one and undo all the good work you've done for the past 2 months?
Is it bitterness that you know you'll be spending at least a few hours everyday trying to 'work off' or counteract the amount of calories that you know you'll consume because...chocolate!
Or is it pure happiness and joy that you are about to enjoy a 4 day weekend and some much needed family time?
Easter for many is a mine-field that is so full of traps and obstacles, guilt and temptations that they end up missing out on the JOY that should be the Easter holiday.
I really feel that in 2018 as a society we have come to a crossroad with our attitude towards nutrition and health. The problem is that both roads that are on offer are at complete ends of the food chain, and it is literally f@**ing with our minds and emotions trying to decide which road we should be travelling down!
One the one hand our social media scroll is filled with images of Acai bowls, Buddha bowls, Goodness bowls, Poke bowls, Smashed avocado, sushi, vegan dishes, Quinoa, teff, kale....ALL THE SUPERFOODS! It's a virtual smorgasbord of clean, green and nothing obscene for our visual delight and virtuous inner self.
And on the other we have the revolution that has elevated firstly, the humble little macaroon to #foodporn status which has since been followed up with donuts, cronuts, loaded milkshakes, loaded fries, burgers and more. This junk-food mountain hits below the belt (LITERALLY) with flavour explosions and childhood fantasies come to life to tempt and taunt even the most committed 'clean eaters'.
In fact it's even taken a relatively ordinary jar of hazelnut chocolate spread and given it some kind of mythical, magic power over the #cheatmeal enthusiasts.
In fact there are CAFES opening everywhere dedicated to Nutella and the many dishes you can create with it!!!
FFS doing research for this blog I even discovered that there is a WORLD NUTELLA DAY!!!!!! (5 Feb if you must know).
I shit you not!!!
What actually prompted this blog was when I picked up the latest copy of the free Coles magazine in the Supermarket. I find these little mags handy for dinner inspo occasionally and well, they are FREE! So why wouldn't you?
Now on the front cover of the latest mag from Coles, if you haven't seen it, is this:
HOLY TIM TAM MOTHER LOAD Batman!
Now I absolutely love my chocolate too, but I literally felt my waistband expand and my cellulite double just looking at this image on the cover!
This is the PERFECT example of indulgence gone FREAKING INSANE!
We have 50% of our cues and information sources telling us to be mindful, eat clean, superfoods are the go, and my favourite....find balance.
I've gotta ask - WHERE IS THE BLOODY BALANCE IN THAT IMAGE?!?!
The other 50% of cues and images consist of calorie-laden, over-indulgent, designed to make your mouth water and your knees weak, processed, sugar and trans-fat filled SHITE!
No wonder people are confused!
You have a generation of people walking around following and living the #fitspo #fitspiration #bodygoals #cleaneating lifestyle for 5-6 days of the week before turning 180 degrees and running in the opposite #foodporn #cheatmeal #refeed #carbsarelife direction!
Take this free magazine for example....in Spring it will be filled with all things and recipes healthy, green, light, low-fat, slimming, fresh etc....you get my drift, as we head into the warmer months and people start to fret about their weight.
But come Easter and Christmas - they are all no holds bar, all bets are off, free for all, shove as much calories in your gob as humanely possible because.......tis' the season?
Ok, so the point of this blog is NOT to be the Easter Grinch - especially as I love my chocolate as much as the next bunny!
But, if you suffer from the negative emotions that I described at the start of this blog when you think of the next 4 days - then it's time to take control so that you can ENJOY Easter rather than break out in hives at the thought of it!
Firstly, have a plan.
If you are a realist (and let's face it....human) and you know that you are going to indulge a little over the Easter weekend then admit it to yourself, OWN it and then try to plan for it.
Actually write a plan either on paper (which is ideal) or in your head what, and when you are going to indulge in. And then STICK TO THE PLAN!
What might that look like?
Maybe a hot cross bun on Friday with your coffee.
Out for breakfast with family on Saturday and a glass of wine with dinner Saturday night.
A small amount of good quality dark chocolate on Sunday that you can slowly savour and actually TASTE (rather than unwrapping and shoving it in frenzy-like because it will of course be the ONLY chocolate you will ever eat again). If you are going to eat chocolate, make it the best, nicest, darkest chocolate you can afford and at least get some nutrients from it! (hint: a Cadbury creme egg holds ZERO nutritional value).
Lunch with family and friends on Sunday as you celebrate some family time.
Actually PLAN what you would REALLY like to experience and enjoy, write it down (as that makes it more likely to happen) and then ACTION the plan.
Similarly plan the rest of your meals a little on the lighter side with predominantly fresh vegetables and salads with good quality protein on those days where you know the calories are going to stack up.
Start each day with a good breakfast and then fill the rest of your day up with nutrient packed, healthy, small meals that are doing GOOD things for your body and drink PLENTY of water.
Even if you don't want to plan ahead, it can help to write down everything that you DO eat and drink over the weekend.....this can be a really powerful tool to help you pull back when the going temptation gets rough and you can SEE how much is going in.
Knowledge is power!
If you are serious about not crawling out the other side of Easter weekend feeling like crap and beating yourself up then do yourself a solid and educate yourself a little on WHAT exactly you are putting IN to your body.
Take that TIM TAM Fat bomb above for example. All of the recipes you find in these magazines by the way have detailed nutritional breakdowns.
This little beauty is designed to be cut into EIGHTEEN slices!
Yes, you read that correctly - but I would bet my house (if I owned it) on the fact that hardly anyone who actually makes this cake will read that important little piece of information.
To put it in perspective - an 18th of this 20cm round cake is the width of one Tim Tam.
Now in downing that sliver of cake, in about 2 minutes flat, you will consume:
43g Fat (27g of Sat Fat)
Essentially in that 1/18th of the cake you will be eating around a THIRD of your energy needs for an entire day, As an added bonus you will get in most cases, MORE than your daily fat requirement and NINE teaspoons of sugar!
Oh hang on - you do get 1g of fibre #silverlining
Oh MY GOD Dan, you are taking ALL the joy out of Easter!
Ummmm, no, I am just trying to show you how EASY it is to consume a weeks worth of calories over a 3 day period if you don't educate yourself a little and wise up!
Here's a scenario for you to consider - Easter Sunday.
You get up and as a family enjoy a cooked breakfast together with bacon, eggs, avocado - the works. A healthy, hearty breakfast with your lovely family. Perfect!
For morning tea you enjoy a hot cross bun or two with butter and a cuppa.
Lunch is the big family roast lamb with roast potatoes and trimmings and a bottle or two of wine . Followed by 1/18th of said cake (assuming you stop at one slice....yeah right, 'sif).
Later in the day you may enjoy some of those Easter eggs you have lying around that the kids didn't eat, or that your guests bought over.
But honestly you're so full at dinner time you either skip it or you just pick at left overs until a little hunger kicks in and so you have maybe a few more small eggs because you'd rather they all be eaten than sitting around over the next week tempting you.
Now, this is not a scenario that is in anyway far fetched, in fact I would say it is fairly typical.
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA JUST HOW MANY CALORIES YOU HAVE CONSUMED ON THIS ONE DAY ALONE????
Well, neither do I exactly...
BUT I AM educated well enough to know that it would be WAAAAAAAY more than what your body needs to function for the day and quite possibly for the next few days at least!
I'll say it again knowledge is power.....and in this case, it can also be the greatest ally for preventing a major blow out!
Move more every day
If you're not a daily exerciser - this is one of the two times during the year that you need to move your arse anyway!
If you do workout regularly, MOVE IT MORE!!!
Walk, run, ride, weights, swim.....don't care what your choice is....
The reason is pretty obvious.
So there you have it lovely readers, my tips for surviving the annual chocolate overload.
Pop back here on Easter Monday as I'll be reloading one of my previous blogs on strategies for getting over the Easter weekend ASAP.
Ultimately I hope that you celebrate your long weekend with family and loved ones and that negative emotions don't effect your enjoyment of the holiday.
Here's to being irresistible!