Health – Bittersweet Easter

It’s not Easter yet, but the tempting chocolate eggs and bunnies have been in the shops since last month.

For several years, every time I reached into my pockets, I found hidden chocolate wrappers: evidence of a sneaky sugar habit that started when my children were young – that challenging phase of motherhood, when I was tired in the afternoons and there were more sugary foods in the house.

What began as a treat for my children had quickly spiralled into an addiction for me, fuelled by negative emotions.

Easter was a nightmare. The abundance of hot cross buns and chocolate eggs at work and home made it impossible to resist. I would begin Easter weekend with good intentions, only to end it feeling ashamed, bloated, and full of regret. 

I took action and kicked my sugar addiction for good 10 years ago, but I know many others are not so lucky. As a weight loss coach of 12 years, I’ve seen that Easter can be the most challenging time of the year for those struggling with their sugar intake.

If you are feeling apprehensive about the Easter holiday, here are some tips to help you navigate the weekend without falling face-first into the egg basket.

• Limit the festivities: Just because hot cross buns are available year-round, it doesn’t mean you need to overindulge. It’s important to remember that Easter is just one weekend. If you decide you want a few Easter treats, enjoy them over one or two days rather than one or two weeks before and after. 

• Make a plan: This is the best way to avoid overeating, especially if you are going away for the weekend. Plan nutrient-dense, high-protein meals to stay full throughout the day.

• Have good alternatives available: It will be much easier to avoid temptation when you have good alternatives on hand. My favourite options include low carb hot cross buns (available in Ōrewa at Keto by D café), dark chocolate, sugar-free chocolate and keto cookies. 

• Maintain your good habits: Fatigue and dehydration can lead to sugar cravings. Drinking at least two litres of water daily and getting enough sleep will help you to stay on track. 

• Get moving: Exercise is a great way to manage stress and reduce the urge to eat. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or tempted to indulge in sugary treats, take a walk outside, hit the gym, or do some yoga. 

When I finally quit sugar for good I still found Easter challenging, but implementing these strategies has made it much easier. With mindfulness, pre-planning and movement, you can have a wonderful weekend without ending up in a sugar coma!