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Healthy habits for a happy Easter celebration

Gina Cleo

As Easter approaches, many of us might be thinking about indulging in delicious treats – hello chocolate eggs and hot cross buns - and feasting with family and friends. But indulgence doesn’t have to mean going off the rails completely. By following a few simple tips, you can enjoy the holiday while staying healthy and feeling good. 

1. Practice mindfulness 

When we make things off limits, we create what’s called the ‘forbidden fruit effect’ and we want even more of the thing that we are trying to restrict. It’s very counterproductive. So instead of denying yourself of treats, give yourself permission to enjoy them mindfully. If you’re going to have some chocolate, really enjoy the chocolate – notice how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth, take it slowly and use all your senses to really savour the moment. 

2. Moderation is key 

It’s absolutely ok to indulge in treats, but it can be helpful to consider the amount or the frequency of your indulgence. For example, if you know you’re going to have a feast day where you’ll likely eat more than usual or have a drink or two (very normal during Easter celebrations), then consider going back to your ‘usual’ eating pattern the next day. Having a day or a meal of indulgence won’t derail your health goals, but overindulging for a week or longer, can. So, getting back to your healthy routine can really help you to stay on track during these periods. 

3. Plan your meals 

Planning your meals ahead of time as much as possible can be really helpful. When you’re dishing up your plate, it should be half full of vegetables, a quarter of good quality protein and a quarter carbohydrates. I also recommend having those sweet treats as your in between snacks, rather than on top of a meal you’re already having. The other thing you can do is decided to have smaller portions at your main meals so that you’re leaving space for those delicious treats we all love at Easter. 

4. Stick to an exercise routine 

Even if you’re going away for the Easter break, it’s great to maintain an exercise routine and to keep your body moving. Try to incorporate walking or some body weight exercises, for example. Or even just getting outside and playing with the kids or your pets. If you can build some physical activity into your day, that’s a really positive step for both your mind and body. 

5. Stay hydrated 

Focus on staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water. This can help you to feel fuller for longer and also reduce cravings. 

6. Cut yourself some slack  

Getting and staying healthy isn’t a linear process, it’s always up and down, it’s a journey.  I think it’s really important to let go of all or nothing thinking and enjoy these moments because they’re special and they don’t come around often. It’s better to go into Easter knowing that it’s possible (or maybe probable) that you will indulge for a day or two and remind yourself that it’s only for a day or two and you can get right back on the horse again. 

With these tips in mind, I hope that you enjoy a happy and healthy Easter holiday. 

Dr Gina Cleo is Assistant Professor of Habit Change in Bond University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine. 

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