3 Easter Eating Secrets from a Dietitian
Spring has sprung and Easter is right around the corner! When it comes to traditional holidays, they all seem to be centred around three things: food, family and copious amounts of chocolate. Don’t’ get me wrong, I’m not complaining. How do you feel? Are you excited/optimistic or are you feeling impending doom from inevitable over-indulging?
Today, I will share my top 3 dietitian Easter eating secrets. This topic was inspired by several clients and family members who showed interest in how my eating changes during these food-centred holidays. They asked, “As a registered dietitian do you stress? Do you indulge? Ever over-indulge? Do you grant yourself permission?” The honest answer is, no I don’t stress, yes, I do indulge and yes, I sometimes over-indulge. Lastly, I always grant myself permission. Get ready to grab your Easter basket to collect a few nuggets in this blog on Easter Eating Secrets from a Dietitian.
Do you want to know how a #dietitian handles #Easter eating challenges? Find out here! Click To Tweet
Andrea’s Easter Eating Secrets:
Know your Food Philosophy:
When it comes to our eating behaviours, our way of eating is rooted in our beliefs and values and these get wrapped into what I call a “Food Philosophy”. This set of (often early established) beliefs around foods shapes how we eat and how we feel about food. Your food philosophy has great power as it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, many have the beliefs: healthy eating takes too much time, eating well is too expensive or healthy food tastes bad. If these are your deep-seated beliefs around eating, then you will somehow prove yourself right! It is paramount to first acknowledge your food beliefs and your food philosophy. Are they positive? Negative? Are they inspiring change or holding you back?
Andrea’s Food Philosophy:
To my core, I believe that food goes beyond nutrition! Food is love. Food is connecting with others. It is enjoying the simple pleasures. Food is to be respected. Food is not the enemy.
This food philosophy shapes my way of eating, food relationship and feelings around food. I do not believe that food should be scarce (this promotes feast-or-famine eating), I do not believe that food enjoyment is sinful (it’s amazing to truly enjoy food!) and I do not believe in food restriction or labeling as “good” or “bad”. When we feel restricted, we all want MORE (read here why parents should not restrict Halloween candy).
By knowing your food philosophy you can experience how your beliefs shape your eating. For example, when you think about Easter, if you feel helpless to over-eat, then your food philosophy will influence your actions negatively. If you feel like Easter eating should be celebrated and enjoyed fully (without stress), then your food philosophy will influence your behaviour and eating in a different way.
Grant yourself Unconditional Permission to Enjoy Foods:
Coming into the Easter season, try updating your Food Philosophy so that no foods are off limits. This neutralizes emotion and decreases the desire to have the “forbidden fruit”. Instead, allow yourself to have what you want and in the amounts that you desire. Wow! I know this sounds counterintuitive and probably shocking. However, granting yourself unconditional permission to eat what you desire (an Intuitive Eating Strategy) decreases feelings of restriction, which will trigger binges. With this strategy, we become more adept at eating when hungry and stopping when full.
Try unconditional permission to eat what you desire = decrease restriction = less binge behaviour Click To Tweet
If you’re still not convinced that you can ALLOW yourself to eat what you desire (and that it can improve your diet and food relationship), read my very popular blog entitled, Why Parents Must Stop Restricting Halloween Candy. In this blog, I explore the dangers of restricting with strategies to promote a healthy food relationship and avoid uncontrollable binge episodes.
Instead, this Easter, when you see a chocolate bunny, notice your internalized narrative. Are you saying, “I can’t or shouldn’t eat X?” How does that make you feel? Do you want X more? Try, stating, “I grant myself unconditional permission to enjoy X.” This opens the door to intuitive eating and healing your relationship with foods which can take time and counselling support.
Increase your Body and Hunger Awareness
Did you know that your body never lies? In fact, it is constantly trying to communicate with you. When we get into the habit of listening and honouring our bodies, our relationship with foods and our eating are transformed. Here are some tips to increase your body and hunger awareness:
- What does physical hunger feel like in your body? (grumbly stomach, light-headed, shaky, etc.)
- What does it feel like when you are full/satisfied or had enough to eat? Where do you feel this sensation?
- What does it feel like when you are over-full? Check-in to see how much food it took to get to that point. What does this feel like in your body? Do not judge or condemn yourself.
When we start to tune into our bodies after eating (and even before eating), we are able to respond in ways that are self-nurturing. For example, if you know how much food it takes to get you “Thanksgiving Day full” then you will be more empowered to regulate your intake. There is nothing wrong with over-indulging sometimes, but body awareness is the most important. And use this information to empower your behaviours.Listen to & honour your body, this transforms relationship with foods & eating Click To Tweet
Easter is an opportunity to practice eating for enjoyment, nourishment and pleasure. It is an opportunity to take a closer look at your Food Philosophy and ask if this is serving you in your eating habits. Transforming your relationship with food is something that can take support from a dieititan and/or a professional mental health counsellor. By listening to our bodies, and granting ourselves permission to enjoy all foods, we are able to make empowered decisions.
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter! Would love to hear about your food traditions this season!
Here are some related blogs with additional information: