This is NOT another post with ‘tips for eating healthy this holiday season.’ But it’s a post I felt compelled to write given the number of clients I’ve ‘talked through’ Easter with in the last couple of weeks. Many are feeling better than they have in a lifetime. The thought of a long weekend where you can’t escape the chocolate eggs, wine, bread buns, and food of all kinds, in general, is somewhat a source of anxiety for many. They wonder… ‘will the weekend completely derail my health journey?’ ‘Will all my healthy eating be wiped out by some chocolate easter eggs?’ ‘Can I stop at just 2 glasses of wine… or 1 easter egg?’
These concerns mirror a huge flaw in the health and wellness space. That is, the ‘perception’ that healthy eating is permanent. Perfect. On point all of the time. Never wavering. When in actual fact, as I’ve said time and time again, being healthy is about finding balance. It’s about appreciating and enjoying fresh, whole foods that make the body work effectively but mindfully enjoying those little morsels of fun ‘here and there’ too. So what’s ‘mindful enjoyment’ you ask? Consider this: a loved one gives you your favourite chocolate as a gift for Easter. You are surrounded by family, you enjoy a nice fresh seafood lunch with everyone with a glass of white wine (and lots of water), then you pour yourself a nice coffee and savor some of the chocolate. You eat enough that you feel like you’ve had a really lovely dessert… but not too much that you feel ill.
Alternatively, you could receive the egg, then immediately hide in the kitchen and devour the entire thing in one gulp, then look for any other chocolate hidden in your pantry and continue the chocolate-eating fest, barely pausing for breath. This option leaves you feeling so remorseful, ill in the stomach, and on an ‘energy roller coaster’ (due to the sugar/glucose/insulin party you just created in your body) that you do exactly the same thing the next day because ‘you’ve stuffed it all up now.’
The first is mindful enjoyment. The second is not but it’s a very common scenario.
If you want to practice mindful enjoyment, you may be wondering, ‘how do I know when to stop?’ ‘And how often is too often to enjoy these little morsels?’
A lot of this requires activating your ‘common-sense-ometer’ but that can be derailed too due to all of the mixed messages we face from social media, magazines, and marketing in general. Instead, start with a baseline of eating really well for your body. Find a good level of energy, a healthy weight, great digestion, and vitality in general. Then enjoy the little morsels only to the extent that they don’t detail that great feeling. For example, having 1-2 glasses of wine over the weekend is enjoyable and probably won’t have any ill effect in the hours or days afterward…. But smashing a bottle Fri, Sat, and Sun night in a desperate flurry will leave you paying for the better part of the working week. Likewise, going out for dinner, and having a side salad with your steak instead of a massive bowl of chips and then sharing dessert will be much more pleasant in the hours (and day) that follow than devouring a monster dessert on your own…
The bottom line is. You’re human. I’m human. Food is beautiful – both the healthy stuff and some of the not-so-healthy stuff. BUT you also deserve to feel awesome too so find that happy medium and live life without remorse or unattainable standards.
By the way, we cover Mindful enjoyment and how to apply it in our awesome Habits 4 Health course which will change your life. Have a great Easter!