Hotcross buns, hotcross bun donuts, Easter cakes, Easter eggs, caramel rabbits, salted chocolate chicks, marshmallow lambs, and on it goes. I’m not saying I don’t love these things- in fact in the past 40 minutes alone I feel I’ve ‘liked’ about 85 pictures of various hotcross buns. But it can be a little overwhelming. For someone with any form of ED, be it restriction based, or binge based, occasions likes Easter can have a detrimental effect. It’s very similar to Christmas- you really want to ‘indulge,’ like it would seem everyone else is, and start Easter Sunday with 14 Malteser bunnies, as surely you’re missing out, and missing the whole point of the occasion if you don’t. Equally you’re not actually sure if you want the Malteser bunnies, and there is also still a fear of ‘ballooning’ by having 1-3 days of off piste eating.
I remember talking about this last year, and wrote a similar post just before Christmas, but this Easter there seems to be more food than EVER. Whatever shop you go into seems to be selling some form of Easter treat. To someone who has spent a lot of time restricting what they eat, this can be totally overwhelming. You want to allow yourself some treats, as everyone else does, but you also can’t actually decide what to eat first, as there’s just so much, and you want it all. You try and pick something but you’re thoughts are just too sporadic and frantic- a little like my typing! Also if it’s binge eating that is the issue then walking into M and S is like opening the flood gates. There is HUGE temptation, everywhere. So many new ‘Easter’ products, which to buy?! Maybe just get them all.
I am quite far into recovery and am a million miles from the dark place I was but even I find occasions like Christmas and Easter can get a little but overpowering. As many social occasions are geared around food, it can then feel like you’re not ‘joining in’ by not eating every piece of chocolate in sight. But when you actually think about it, yes the food and drink is a great aspect, but the main focus should be spending time with your friends and family on these occasions, enjoying their company, having fun.
It was actually around Easter 2011 that my ED journey began. A friend got me an Easter egg, and I ate the whole lot, making myself sick straight after, something I’d never done before. Fast forward a year and I was doing the same thing, but mixing it in with also restricting what I was eating. My bulimic phase was gradually shifting to an anorexic one. Around Easter 2012 I had to go to a friends wedding, knowing my ex and his new fiancé would be there. I’d given up chocolate for lent as the urge to binge on it was becoming too big so I decided to cut it out totally. I woke up on Easter Sunday, the day after the wedding and I ate chocolate from start to finish, by the end of the day I felt awful, mentally and physically. I was also convinced I’d have put on SO much weight and couldn’t wait to weigh myself to see. From that point the anorexic phase took hold and I started to slowly lose my life to it.
So, thankfully these days things are a bit different but I still struggle when faced with SO much choice food wise, particularly ‘treats.’ Things I try to do that help:
- Pick something I actually want. Not the thing someone else on Instagram maybe eating, what do I want? Sometimes we don’t actually want chocolate, we’d rather have some Greek yogurt and a PB, and that’s fine. You can eat what YOU want. You are not missing out if you don’t eat the limited edition Cadbury chick filled with Smarties
- Remember that I can eat what I want, when I want. Some food have a long shelf life, meaning you don’t have to eat them around the occasion. If you fancy a Mr Kipling Easter cake (are those even a thing!?) you can eat it next week, or the week after. Just because it’s geared to Easter it doesn’t mean you have to eat it over Easter. A lot of ED sufferers will hoard a few things anyway- I still have chocolates from Christmas because I haven’t got round to eating them yet, and that’s fine.
- Stick with your choice. I’m laughing at myself while I type this as I can’t decide ANYTHING. Saying that, if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer choice of things on offer, go with what you fancy and stick with it. You can always have the other options another time.
- Most importantly remember that occasions like this are not purely about food and drink. They are about being with the people you love and enjoying that time. I have such fond memories of big Easter lunches with my gran, and egg hunts in her garden. What I wouldn’t give to have her here for just one more of those. Don’t let your ED take away something that should be a happy time.
- Don’t feel guilty- having said the above do not feel guilty if you simple feel you can’t eat the same meal as everyone else. Adapt whatever it may be to suit you so you are happy with it, and can actually enjoy the day/time rather than stress about a meal. If you really, really feel you can’t eat a full Sunday roast, make some changes, have just the meat and plain green veggies. The end goal should hopefully be to have the same as everyone else at the table but if, at this moment, you can’t do that, try and meet halfway.
Also know that if you do eat more than you usually would, or feel comfortable with, it’s OK! 1, 2 or even 3 days will not affect you. Always remember that it’s what you do on average that counts. There are 30 days in a month (mostly) so if you eat ‘badly’ for 3 of those days that isn’t even 10% which is teeny tiny