Why chocolate is not just for Easter

 

Who could have predicted the glorious Easter sunshine the UK basked in last weekend?

Of course, it would have been much easier to predict high consumption of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, and if you are like me, you may still be feeling slightly sick at the sight of chocolate.

A Dietitian owning up to eating too much chocolate!?

Yep, it’s true. I’m only human after all and an egg shaped, sugar coated chocolate treat (or three) is simply too good to pass up. Of course, for some of us, one piece of chocolate hits the spot and can be part of healthy, balanced diet; for others any chocolate can be too much as they find it very hard to regulate intake, with even a tiny piece morphing into several bars and a tub of ice cream.  

Why is it that some people are better able to regulate their chocolate intake?

Often, those who struggle are the ones who see their situation as black and white. They’re either on a diet, or they are not. They are either eating chocolate, or they are not.

Of course, their temptation is to justify a period of over eating with a period of extreme restriction, usually cutting out whole foods groups or limiting their eating window, therefore perpetuating a cycle of binge, restrict. This is linked with worse health outcomes and can also be psychologically damaging.

If this reflects your experience, now that Easter has gone, rather than swearing off chocolate and committing to an increasingly restrictive pattern of eating, why not focus on healthy eating habits, being kinder to yourself and taking part in more gentle exercise?

Why to be easier on yourself
  • Did you know one medium chocolate egg and one crème egg has 680Kcal?
  • Did you also know that 2 and a half hot cross buns with butter is 650Kcal?

To gain one 1lb of body fat in a week, you need to be in a 3,500Kcal excess (above your daily demands). Therefore, you would need to eat 5 eggs or 13 hot cross buns to gain 1lb of body fat (In fact, you could probably eat a little more, as the body burns more energy when we over eat). When you put it like this it becomes clear even a couple of Easter eggs, eaten as part of a once a year celebratory event, seems negligible in the grand scheme. And it really is. One-off eating occasions have little to no impact on your long-term health and weight loss efforts.

Set yourself free from food stress

Often food itself isn’t the biggest issue, it’s the accompanying thought and emotions that can cause us so much trouble.

  • “I feel fat”
  • “I shouldn’t have eaten that, I’ve failed”
  • “I’ve had one, I may as well finish the lot”

It’s these thoughts which encourage the diet mentality and strengthen our emotional turmoil around food.

It’s not easy to break free of the patterns but it is possible. The first step is to resist the urge to compensate for a period of overeating with a period of fasting. The second is to double own on your healthy habits and eating patterns, focusing on the positive things you can do.

The Just Routine App is great for both these things, showing just how little an impact a one-off eating occasion has on your week and improving overall diet quality whilst building healthier eating habits.

Summer is just around the corner and with it comes the temptation is to become more and more extreme with our diets; for a fresh start this year do the complete opposite!

Relax your rules and focus on what you can add to your diet rather than take away. Chocolate is not just for Easter!

Ian specialises in helping people overcome the challenges of stress and emotional eating.

Check out his courses here.

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Ian is a Registered Dietitian specialising in online weight loss coaching and personal training. Ian uses mindfulness and behaviour science to help people make sustained improvements to their health.

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