AIF Coach and proud chocoholic Lacey Blackman has some words of wisdom for fitness aficionados whose passion for working up a sweat is matched only by their love for sweet treats…
There’s no disputing that Easter time is a Chocoholic’s favourite time of the year. With a wide array of treats, from chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Crème Eggs, to choc-chip hot cross buns, it can be very easy to get carried away.
For the health-conscious chocolate lover, it’s normal to feel a little apprehensive about the pending Easter ‘Chocalypse’. Personally, I’ve lost count of how many Easters I’ve tried to avoid the smells of freshly-baked hot cross buns or ignore the rustling sounds of foil being torn from an Easter egg, only to succumb to temptation and overindulge in all the chocolatey goodness!
The aftermath of any seasonal festivity can be a little de-motivating. Perhaps there are some lingering feelings of guilt about how much food was consumed. Or, you may simply be uncertain about how to get back on track with your health and fitness goals after going a little overboard. Plus, it doesn’t help when the bakery keeps selling the buns after the holiday and all the Easter chocolates are temptingly half-priced at the grocery store…
Thankfully, there are some proactive steps and actions you can take to shake off the sugar rush, boost our motivation and steer you back on track with your health and fitness goals:
Before resorting to any radical changes in your routine to ‘undo’ any of the Easter fun, it’s very important that we put things into perspective. There are 365 days in the year, and when we put together all the annual holidays, celebrations, birthdays and so forth, I’m certain there are at least 350 days where we are slaying our health and fitness goals. A handful of days where your nutrition and training aren’t your #1 priority definitely won’t wreck all of your hard work, so swap any thoughts you might have that you’re self-sabotaging for an acknowledgement that you’re simply enjoying life and celebrating with loved ones.
Whatever nutritional routine was working in your favour prior to the Easter festivities, get straight back into it! Whether it’s going to the weekend markets to buy fresh fruit and veg, writing out a weekly meal plan or cooking food in advance, ensure that these habits and rituals continue to be implemented as soon as the holidays are over. Structure is our saviour – we don’t need to ‘restrict’ ourselves moving forward, rather just be mindful that the Easter festivities don’t roll over into our regular routine and become the norm. That post-workout poached egg on avo toast really doesn’t work so well with crème eggs anyway (I’ve heard).
Getting back into a healthy nutritional routine will improve your physical wellbeing. Chocolate is unarguably delicious, but it’s generally high in calories, sugar and saturated fat. Ensure you eat nourishing and nutrient-rich foods every day by selecting a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, fibre-rich grains, low-fat dairy and other foods low in saturated fat. Also, remember to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. The Eat For Health Program is a fantastic place to start when unsure of how much of the five food groups to eat each day.
I’m the first to admit that I have the biggest sweet tooth, but that doesn’t mean constantly fighting sugar cravings through dietary restriction. If the Easter holidays flare up the sugar addiction, use this time of year as an opportunity to explore creative ways of reinventing snacks and desserts using sugar-reduced alternatives (triple points if the nutritional value is higher, as well!)
If intentions were set throughout the Easter holidays to moderate the intake of discretionary foods, then this is something to be celebrated – no matter the extent! Although I encourage a more relaxed attitude towards nutrition during festive occasions and believe that all things should be enjoyed in moderation, we all have different goals and standards that we set for ourselves, and these should be respected by others. Even if things don’t go according to plan, you should still award yourself some praise for giving ongoing consideration to your health and fitness goals.
When it comes to bouncing back after the Easter ‘Chocalypse’, the key is to not try to reinvent the wheel, but to instead resume the health and fitness plan that works best for you. You don’t need to go to extreme measures to get back to the place you were pre-festivities, because you likely haven’t strayed too far from the path in the first place. Enjoy the chocolate-filled occasion with your family and friends, and have a very special and safe Easter!