Casual Friday: Easter Candy Edition

by Andie Mitchell on March 28, 2013

easter candy

For my mother, it matters very little that I’m 28. I will forever wake up on Easter Sunday to a basket overflowing with Mini Eggs, Crème Eggs, Reese’s Eggs, Peeps, and enough of that silky, fluorescent grass to ensure that I will never, ever get it all out of my home. Two years ago, when I was living in Seattle, she mailed me seven pounds of chocolate. It was the most delicious period of Daniel’s and my life, to say the least.

No matter how deeply I care about health and maintaining a happy weight, I will never stop eating my favorites on Easter—it’s just a special day. And I look forward to this basket—this Cadbury-laden holiday—all year. Now, in a perfect, peachy world, I would leave you only with this: Save me a Crème Egg? I’d tell you to enjoy yourself fully and eat what you want; eat what you love. I’d tell you not to sweat it if your candy trough is empty by noontime. Call it brunch!

But then, I know that for the binge eaters among us (current and recovering), this isn’t quite helpful, and it’s not always easy to handle holidays. So here’s what I can offer you, because I do want everyone to partake in deliciousness to some degree: the key to enjoying the things you crave—truly enjoying them without slipping into a bender—is the positive self-talk and visualization that go on before consumption. For me, I begin by consciously choosing only the treats I love most. I don’t waste my time on anything less than a favorite. Russell Stover Vanilla Cream Eggs? Yes. Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs? Of course. Jelly Beans? Meh. It might require a bit of taste snobbery, but ultimately it ensures that I’m eating what I crave and also helps to set up a flexible boundary. It allows me to maintain some sense of control. Next, it’s a matter of saying to myself, “I’m going to enjoy every last bite of these and when I’m done, I’m going to do ‘X’ (any activity to move on with my day or night).” I visualize myself successfully enjoying the treats that I’ve picked and then going about my life as I normally do without continuing to eat recklessly. The visualization—imagining the whole eating and moving on process from start to finish—lends a sense of confidence, a loose plan to follow. It allows me to practice the kind of mindful eating I believe in. I remind myself of the positive feelings that bloom from being able to indulge without gorging—of eating in a way that I’m proud of—and  when I think of the times that I’ve successfully done just that, a strength builds. A cycle starts.

Now, if all of this seems a bit silly and over-the-top, well, I hear you. I do. But it won’t feel silly for all of us. Some will understand what I mean when I say that one of the main goals in developing a healthy relationship with eating is learning to trust ourselves around all food, without the fear of abusing it. Maybe for those among us who have just recently embarked on a weight loss journey, this year will be your first in trying eat Cadbury Mini Eggs moderately. If this is true for you, rest assured that we all wish they were nutritionally akin to broccoli florets.

It’s worth mentioning, though, that no one has ever—ever—gained a significant amount of weight from eating candy or carrot cake or an amazingly decadent brunch on Easter, just as no one has toppled over from the lone Thursday of Thanksgiving. It’s the eating the days before, the days after, the weeks, the months—that leave us heavier. It’s not the treat in isolation; it’s our treatment of it long-term. So while I’d love for all of us to avoid bingeing, I’d like this to serve as a gentle reminder that we enjoy ourselves, too.

Regardless of the choices you make today, tomorrow, or Sunday—if Easter is even a part of your life—know that you’re going to be just fine. We can always move on. And if need be, we can always start over.

 

photos by: eek the cat, bochalla, jamiesrabbits

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Courtney March 28, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Andie,
I very much appreciate your thoughtful words of encouragement. I have been on a weight loss journey for about a year and a half and I am having a hard time finding ways to enjoy the foods I love without going too far and/or feeling nothing but gross feelings. I appreciate the note of visualizing and imagining truly enjoying those special foods but then also visualizing the stopping and moving on piece. I do not have this mastered and it is very encouraging to read your gentle message. I am pretty new to your blog, but love reading it! Very inspirational!

Thanks again!

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Blythe Dearden March 29, 2013 at 12:12 am

Thank you for your beautiful thoughts and writing. I would love to get to a place where I no longer fear food.

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EmmaW March 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Have you read Your Eatopia before? I’m sure you would find it very helpful. I’ve been using her information to help myself learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and eating.

http://www.youreatopia.com/

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Ali March 29, 2013 at 3:12 am

This is such a wonderful post and comes at precisely the time I needed it. I have been on that vicious cycle of eating really well and really clean for a couple of weeks and then dropping the ball and as they say “throwing the baby out with the bath water” – not sure why that saying just popped into my head… Anyway, I cannot thank you enough for this because I really need to get on a healthy path and not be so destructive about my approach to eating. I need to incorporate treats now and then I think in order to not crave them constantly. I am hoping that by using your visualization technique, I can retrain myself to really sit back and enjoy having a treat on occasion as opposed to feeling like once I’ve had one treat, all is lost so I might as well go back for more, and more. It’s such a frustrating cycle.

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Fiona Jesse Giffords March 29, 2013 at 5:18 am

The Easter eggs memorizes of the beautiful and sweet memories of childhood. Lagging the celebrations makes us more miserable to celebrate the occasion. So spend the day with guilt free eating and enjoy every bit of it.

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Kate March 29, 2013 at 7:12 am

Thank you – For sharing yourself with others in such a direct way. It is amazing how your posts relate for me every time! As a binger myself, this really speaks to me and I needed it at this exact point of my life. I am a binger who bakes, which has been a dangerous combination lately. I struggle to eat mindfully and feel the need to constantly pull myself back onto the “mind wagon”.

Thank you for being up there on that wagon to reach out as you do to help others like me back up there with you!

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Mari March 29, 2013 at 7:21 am

Great advice- 1) Make a choice, 2) fit it into your day and 3) move on. Simple and effective; thanks for the reminder. By the way, it’s PEEPs for me:)

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Maureen March 29, 2013 at 8:14 am

My friend,
I don’t know how many times I can express how much your posts mean to me without it sounding trite or overused, but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Again, from the bottom of my heart. This post was exactly what I needed this morning; the exact reinforcement of the game plan I went over with my therapist from someone who has been there. I wrote again in my post this morning, about how finding your blog helped save me from myself. And it still does.
Have a wonderful, happy and healthy Easter. And while I’m snobbishly enjoying my cadbury confections (because they really are the best), I will toast you ;)
xoxox
Maureen

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Ax March 29, 2013 at 8:32 am

Thank u for this post!!!! I always appreciate your posts about mindful eating and binge eating. I actually think they finally helped me to stay on track.

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Heidi March 29, 2013 at 10:09 am

Thank you for this post! I love Easter and the time spent with family, but I have been worrying about how I will be around all the food. It’s nice to be reminded that enjoying ourselves is part of a balanced life :)

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Aubrey March 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

This has to be one of my favorite posts from you. Planning an activity to move on to after you’ve enjoyed every last lovely bite of your favorites is such sound advice! This is something I think I can use after every meal.

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Gay Smoak March 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

Thank you for so selflessly posting your heart to us strangers! You truly inspire me!

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Leslie March 29, 2013 at 11:34 am

What a great post and a great reminder! I feel like we are in the same head space when it comes to food. It took a long time for me to get there (and the loss of 108 pounds) but food and I are friends again. We can go anywhere together and be completely comfortable in each others presence. People sometimes tell me I should be so proud of my weight loss, and I am, but I think I am prouder of my new relationship with food. Cheers! (FYI I am envisioning us “clinking” our Reese’s peanut butter eggs)

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Donna baumgartner March 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

Eggselent! :)

Happy Easter Andie!

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Julie March 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I really loved this! Very different from the typical ‘holiday tips and tricks’ articles – it was so human! (If that makes any sense.) I know I can relate to this, and I appreciate you putting it into words. Happy Easter!

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Heather March 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Now I am over here bawling! It was as if you were talking to me. Just exactly what I needed to hear, especially going into this holiday weekend. I will be reading this a few times this weekend. Thank you ~

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Cynthia March 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm

All good, but please recognize that for some of us, the feelings of fear that precede a treat and the self-loathing that follow giving in to even a small treat more than erase any joy felt from consuming the treat. Some of us are simply not yet in the place to “eat just one” and move on. Not consuming any trigger foods is also a valid choice.

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Andie March 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Cynthia, this is such a valid and necessary point you bring up–and one I hadn’t even thought of. Thank you.

Andie

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Heather March 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Cynthia I agree also with what you are saying. I am definitely stuck in the ” can not just eat one” thing. When I start, it eventually triggers a binge and I feel completely lost again. I really want to apply the visualization technique and try to just be as conscious as possible about everything I put in my mouth. I am still battling the “all or nothing” concept and struggling with it. These are some great helpful hints.

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Hootie March 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hmm…I never would have thought to do this. I’m gonna quote bethenny frankel here: “Food is not your best friend; Its not your enemy either.” I like that approach :) I know that food is your creative outlet but I love that you leave out the loathing. It’s all about what’s between your ears. It’s easier for me not to eat cupcakes if they aren’t in the house but if they are in the house… Mind you I am Very Aware of them BUT as long as I know I can have one later we can occupy the same space and I can trust myself with them. This is gonna sound crazy…but maroon 5s song “one more night” reminds me of my “old” relationship with cupcakes before I struggled so much that I let go, you may find that funny if you substitute his thoughts about a girl to thoughts you have had about cupcakes :) http://youtube.com/#/watch?v=fwK7ggA3-bU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DfwK7ggA3-bU

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Hootie March 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Oops that YouTube link didn’t work, here’s another http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xrt1yl_maroon-5-one-more-night_music#.UVYzCYy9KK0

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Stephanie Hanson March 29, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Very well said and so true – thank you for always sharing your words of encouragement. I will be enjoying some delicious treats this Easter too and I will not feel guilty at all!!

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Sharon Deutsch March 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Yes!!! I so agree, Andie. It’s not the holiday eating itself. It is giving up and continuing this overeating behavior long after the holiday itself. So, the way I see it is, eat and enjoy a holiday, but the next day, go back to your healthy lifestyle. The key word is…CONTROL. Be in charge of your life! HAPPY EASTER!!

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Hootie March 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Yes, that’s what I meant to say… Just because you trip up does not mean you need to throw yourself down the rest of the stairs :)

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Bek @ Crave March 30, 2013 at 2:17 am

LOVE this post! :) Thank you very much for writing it!

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Mandy J March 30, 2013 at 11:13 am

Andie, you’re so right! Fear is what sabotages us. It’s so timely for me that you posted this on Easter because I believe Christ died to take away our fear. In Him we’re free to really be who we were meant to be, and never left wanting. All we have to do is love, others and ourselves, which is so easy to forget. Part of loving ourselves is to trust ourselves, and accept permission to make mistakes and then correct them. Thanks for the reminder. Happy Easter.

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Denise Rivers March 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Thank you for this beautiful post. I try every day to follow these concepts. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed. I love the idea that you essentially build the “muscle” of mindful eating success every time you do it. It always helps to know others are not dieting, but instead eating mindfully.
Have a wonderful Easter.

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Melanie March 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Hi Andie, I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and have found it really insightful. I’ve had this post in the back of my mind all day and have stuck to your advice of just eating my favourites. Have so far devoured quite a few Cadbury mini eggs and ignored everything else.

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Debra March 31, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Love those Cadbury mini eggs! This year I bought 2 of the mini bags instead of one (usually more) of the large size. Also I’ve put them in the freezer so each egg melts so much slower on my tongue. Heavenly!

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Gay Smoak April 3, 2013 at 12:16 am

What a great idea to freeze the mini Cadbury eggs-I’m definitely gonna try.

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Suzanne April 1, 2013 at 12:01 am

Hi, Andie! I just found your blog through Pinterest (the Chicken Parm Burgers look amazing!). I’m 62 1/2 lbs into a 165 lb weight-loss journey and these words hit home. Sometimes Mini Eggs happen and that’s okay. Thanks for the encouragement!

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Trista April 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Thank you so much for this post! What a good idea to plan out in your mind how you’re going to enjoy eating a treat and then move on. Does this work for stress eating?

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Tim April 2, 2013 at 11:39 pm

My wife is a softie and always gets easter baskets for the kids (even though they are in junior high and high school ;) ) This past weekend we were in a hotel in downtown Chicago over the Easter holliday, and she still got them baskets to have that morning. I didn’t indulge too much myself, but tough to stay away from milk chocolate and white chocolate.

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Mireille April 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Excellent advice! It’s about the other 364 days (minus a few more), right? When I used to binge eat it was feeling like I’d failed that made me not want to stop – because then I’d be faced with the guilt. It was by giving up the guilt, not the chocolate and other treats, that I became relaxed around food and happy and free!

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