Holidays can be scary times for people with food issues. For many years I spent the run-up to certain holidays panicking about what I was going to eat (or not eat) at home, at friends’ houses, at parties, at restaurants, at the next Royal Wedding (Seriously, was Kate’s dress not gorgeous? Also, now I want my long hair back.) The evil trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually what does most people in but for me, Easter is my crucible. (Whoa, did I just compare myself to Jesus there?) All my favorite foods come out at Easter time. It’s not just the 60 different varieties of jelly beans – this year’s winners were the giant cinnamon jelly beans from the hardware store down the street. Yes, the hardware store. Yes, the same one that sells pickled eggs in a jar of brine that you fish out with your fingers. I know. Anyhow, between the Cadbury eggs and the SweeTarts gummy bunnies all the way up to the raspberry jell-o pretzel salad on the day of, I’m surprised I don’t pee pastel from all the artificial food coloring I ingest.
But this year was different. This year was my first Easter as an Intuitive Eater. I’ve been Eating Intuitively (as in using Geneen Roth’s program aff-only $3.98 on Amazon right now!) for 11 months now and I was determined that not only was I going to Eat but by golly I was going to enjoy it (oh and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, priorities Charlotte!) Yeah, no pressure or anything. I did pretty well in the month leading up to Easter. You may remember my brief backslide during the Bod Pod Debacle of ’11. But I’m glad that happened because it showed me that I can get myself back on track and it reminded me of exactly why I’m working so hard at being healthy the, er, healthy way. Because I never, never want to feel like that again. Every time I’ve been tempted to weigh myself I remember just how crappy it made me feel and how long that feeling stayed with me after The Debacle and it’s pretty easy to resist the lure of the number.
In fact I continued to do great – nothing major changed in my eating patterns, which is pretty major in and of itself – until a couple of days before the big event. And then me being me I got all freaked out as I started filling Easter eggs for my kids to fight over on Sunday morning during our annual Egg Brawl. Nothing like pouring bags of sugar indirectly into your already hyper and destructive spawn – I have mentioned I have 3 boys right? – and then trussing them up in suits and telling them to sit still for 3 hours (Mormons have long church services…). Ten minutes or less until one of them starts trying to hang himself with his tie. I digress. Seeing the piles of Whopper eggs and Starburst jelly beans (not the best kind) made me suddenly want to eat some. And since I am a black-and-white thinker, I panicked thinking that if I allowed myself to eat some that would mean I would eat them all.
So I did what I always do when I panic about something first-world and ridiculous: I e-mailed a friend or five. (For the record, when I panic about something serious I call my dad and my husband. In that order. A fact that perturbs Gym Hubby seeing as we’ve been married for 11 years, I live with him and yet my auto-pilot is still set to Daddy. But only in red-level crises! Existential angst? Dad. Toilet overflowing thanks to my 4-year-old who poops elephant piles? Gym Hubby all the way. Love you, honey!!!) My friend Shellie immediately wrote back to me reminding me of all the things I’ve learned and practiced with Intuitive Eating. She reminded me to take it slow, eat what I wanted but making sure to sit down and savor it, to not eat standing up or hiding and to remember that for the love of little green apples, the whole point of the day is Jesus, not food! (Okay so that last part was just me inferring. Priorities Charlotte!!)
Some of our friends that a) know about my food issues and are still friends with me and b) are aMAYzing cooks invited us over for Easter dinner. You know what happened? We talked a lot. Then we ate some food of which I took exactly what I wanted and sat down and enjoyed every bite. There was even a moment where I had to pinch myself and think I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to eat all this yummy food! No angst whatsoever. Not even at dessert time when I had a big slice of my friend’s Best Carrot Cake I’ve Ever Eaten in My Entire Life cake. I ate one slice, licked the frosting off the plate and instead of fretting about whether or not I should have another because this-is-the-absolute-last-time-I’m-ever-eating-cake-again-I-swear-I’m-starting-a-diet-tomorrow, I remembered that eating too much sugar gives me a killer headache and an energy crash and was satisfied with what I’d had. Then we all played a hilarious game that involved acting out famous people during which Gym Hubby set the record for not referencing Lady Gaga. I laughed a lot. I held a friend’s baby. I watched my baby try on all 30 pairs of shoes in the foyer (girl loves her shoes, takes after her mama!). I caught up with some old friends and got to know some new ones better. And you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t think about food after I was done eating. No obsessing over what I hadn’t gotten to eat (only to inhale a half gallon of freezer-burned sugar-free ice cream at home because I felt deprived) and no feeling guilty over what I did eat (only to vow to eat only salad for the next week). I left full but not stuffed. Happy.
A coup of the non-egg variety.
What’s your holiday food strategy? Anyone else still call their parents first in an emergency even though they haven’t lived at home in years?
Want to talk about something totally unrelated to food or Easter? Try this invasive question: When talking about private parts do you use nicknames?? My undercover investigation in public bathrooms (born out of having someone potty training for last 5 years, I swear I’m not a creeper) says most people do! Check out my post on Redbook about what havoc parents wreak when they teach their kids about their hoo-has and winkies!