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Stay in control of the chocolate excess this Easter.

A long public holiday is on the horizon… Yes, Easter is almost upon us. A chance to catch up with family and friends, a time to relax, go for long walks, enjoy a delicious spring roast and often the time to sit and eat lots of chocolate, egg shaped chocolate, that is.

So how can you enjoy Easter and also feel good afterwards. Eating your way through too much of this tasty but unhealthy, calorific treat can result in weight gain and unhelpful feelings. No one wants that type of Easter.

Amy Brown, Skipton based Clinical Hypnotherapist gives 5 tips to help you stay in control of your chocolate intake.

What you would like from your Easter the most?

Is it to eat chocolate or is it really something else? Relaxation and socialising are more likely to be your answers.

Write down now what it is and keep that thought at the forefront of your mind. Tell yourself several times a day, now and at the weekend – ‘This Easter I enjoy socialising / connecting/ walking/ relaxing.‘

And how do you want to feel after the Easter weekend? I am guessing relaxed, refreshed or satisfied rather than guilty, shameful, defeated or frustrated. Will eating lots of chocolate honestly support this?

Accept right now, at this moment, that you are worth taking care of. You honestly are.

You are worth looking after and worth feeding decent healthy food to. You are wonderful as the unique person that you are and as you are not. Tell yourself this every day and every evening, either silently repeat this or out loud as you look in the mirror. It can take practice to speak nicely about and towards yourself. Everyone deserves self-care. What words would you use to speak to your best friend and use them to speak to yourself. How do they speak to you? Talk to yourself with love and become your own best friend.

Get in tune with your internal self-talk.

The one that just said ‘what self-talk?’ That one. Our self-talk can have excuses and justifications for our behaviours (like eating excessive chocolate) which are often unhelpful. We have very quick, almost instant justifications that can occur when we are about to eat something unnecessary. These are wide and varied and can include: I deserve it; it is a celebration; I am tired; I have been so good; it’s a reward; I want it; once it’s gone it’ll be out of the way; it would be rude if I didn’t eat it. And the list goes on. The best thing is once you are aware of them you can choose to ignore them. They are justifications you once made up and we all have them. They needn’t be your reality.

Start the day with proper, decent breakfast.

Porridge or eggs are a great breakfast; poached or boiled are healthiest and scrambled are the least healthy (and those chocolate ones, of course!). If you are hungry you are more likely to eat the wrong foods. Your blood sugar plummets and you crave quick bursts of energy such as chocolate. This does not work, it is a vicious circle. If you feel hungry, drink a large glass of water as thirst and hunger are regularly confused and twice a day eat a healthy snack such as a banana and 3 or 4 nuts which will help stabilise your blood sugar and curb your cravings. Plannng other balanced meals this Easter is key too.

Enjoy some chocolate but be mindful about any you do eat.

This is not about deprivation of any food types but about self-care.

Over eating chocolate, or any food type, is not self-care. Decide how much chocolate is an acceptable limit and is an amount that is going to help you to feel positive emotions next Tuesday.  Focus all your senses on eating the chocolate: sight, smell, taste, texture and even the sound of the chocolate and take your time to eat it. Be with it. An interesting exercise is to spend 5 minutes (setting a timer is best) eating one chocolate button. This will mean you really experience (and enjoy) that chocolate button.

When Easter is over give the rest away or melt down then chocolate and make crispy cakes for a charity fundraiser or a buffet lunch. If you are given choccie eggs they can be appreciated simply for the kind gesture. You can actually choose to focus on the love and appreciation of the gift and leave them. Yes, that is actually an option.