It’s the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, a notorious time for over indulging. Drinks with friends, great big roast dinners with all the extras, and of course chocolate Easter eggs!
I have a major sweet tooth, and will jump on to any excuse to indulge it. But how to we get ourselves back with the programme after a weekend of treats?
The most important thing is to not shame yourself for over doing it in the first place – it’s simple phycology. Humans respond negatively to stress, anxiety and shaming. When we feel these things, it puts our bodies into a state of releasing stress hormones, mainly adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones have a big effect on your brain because they pre-date modern stressors by a long way – these hormones are designed to trigger you fight or flight responses.
In short shaming ourselves, and feeling stressed or anxious about our past behaviours is detrimental to our future behaviours. Humans respond negatively to stress, and the oldest part of our brains, the limbic system which we share with every other animal, will seek to either hide us away or find some comfort.
Now staying in the house certainly won’t help you get back into your fitness routine, and comfort for many of us means soothing ourselves by eating more of the foods that make your brain happy – carbs, fats and sugars (I like to imagine a donut here, because it’s the pinnacle of all 3!)
We have the same evolutionary response to self-shaming our poor eating or poor exercise habits as we would have done a million years ago to being chased by a tiger – it’s a little milder, but it still makes us wish we were tucked away somewhere warm and safe with a donut instead!
If we want to change the way our brains respond, then we have to change the way we think about our past eating behaviours. What we ate yesterday can’t be undone, but what we choose to eat today and tomorrow can be changed for a healthier alternative.
So with that in mind, don’t feel bad about your Easter treats – tomorrow is another day!