Easter is a day that for a lot of people struggling with body image find very challenging. The socially acceptable thing to do on the day is to eat copious amounts of food and chocolate. When I first started getting into health and wellness I was bombarded with messages to not let Easter get in the way of achieving my fitness goals.
Growing up in an Italian family, food has always been at the centre of every big occasion. Nonna prepares incredible amounts of food to share with her family. We sit around the table for hours eating course after course until we enter a food coma. The whole time this is happening we are chatting and laughing. Nonna sits at the head and watches contently at the atmosphere she has created.
Unfortunately, I let these beautiful celebrations become something I absolutely dreaded. I would plan how much of everything I would eat to ensure I stayed within my calorie count and looked at the disappointed look on nonnas face when I didn’t have any pasta.
This year was the first time in four years that I genuinely enjoyed the Easter holiday. I didn’t deprive myself of any dessert or food that I wanted. I ate as I pleased and refused to let guilt enter my mind. I can’t say that everyone was that lucky this year and I can understand why. Last night when I got home from nonna’s house I scrolled through my Instagram and felt sick to my stomach at the posts I was seeing. I saw one picture that had all my favourite Easter eggs and next to it how many burpees it would take to burn them off. I like to think the best of people and know that these people (hopefully) didn’t post these images to make people feel guilty. But I do think there needs to be a bit more thought before posting something like that.
It is arguable that there is a level of humour associated with such posts but try telling that to someone who has gone to the gym today and absolutely smashed their body to burn off the eggs. Healing from an eating disorder is something that takes time and patience. A lot of it is associated with self-acceptance and an ability to let things go. Without these two powerful tools guilt can creep in. It is the kind of tormenting guilt that makes you over analyse every curve on your body and go over every detail of what you ate a million times over. It is awful.
Fostering a positive relationship with food, my body and myself has been the most challenging and rewarding journey. Having trust and faith in my body means that I no longer worry about what a piece of cake (or three yesterday) is going to do to my physique. I would rather eat the cake. I would rather be nourished. I would rather look at my nonna smiling at the end of the table not frowning. I would rather LIVE. I would rather SMILE.
We are only given one body that I honestly believe should be treated like a beautiful flower. It should be watered, it should move in the wind and it should be LOVED.
Before I give you the lowdown on my Easter adventures, I want to share with you three of the things that used to really help me when guilt would creep in after Easter.
Get outside – There is nothing worse than being alone with those demonising thoughts. Go for a walk in nature and listen to feel good music. This is not a time for the sad stuff. For me putting on some ABBA and having a little dance as I went always put me in the best mood.
Steer clear of social media for 24 hours – For me Instagram was the real killer, it is seriously meme and abs central. By turning it off you aren’t exacerbating the anxiety by adding more images for you to incorporate into the analysing mode your mind might already be in.
Give yourself grace – I am all about positive mantras and how they can transform your way of thinking. When I felt guilty this one really helped me, “I am beautiful. I love my body. I treat her with love and respect. I trust her. I nourish her.”
This year’s celebrations began on Friday with working at St Rose raising money for the Good Friday Appeal. Every year I am blown away with the incredible generosity of Victorians willing to give all of their change to support such a worthy cause. The unbelievable baristas made over 600 coffees with a $1 from each one going to the Appeal. We also had a tin that was filled to the absolute brim. Such a great achievement. The day ended with a seafood feast at my boyfriend’s nonna and nonno’s house. We enjoyed incredible amounts of calamari, we laughed about our bad haircuts and finished it off with liquor and the most incredible brownies.
The celebrations continued on Saturday with hours of baking with the dream team (Bruno and Lil) to prepare chocolate hot cross buns, almond butter brownies and peanut butter Easter eggs to share on Easter. This year was all about baking and dessert for me. The ultimate procrastination from uni was looking up funky Easter baking ideas and I have to say I am quite pleased with how everything came out!
On Easter I had work during the day. I spent the day surrounded by happy families, a great team and even some family which was so special. After work it was all about the chocolate. I have a secret (or not so secret) love for Cadbruy Crème Eggs and can’t even express just how excited I was to have one with my sister when I finished work. Easter dinner was at nonna’s. Lil, Bruno and I set up the Easter egg hunt and laughed as we struggled at times to place the egg in the perfect spot. For dinner nonna prepared an absolute feast for all of us. It was so lovely to sit down and eat as a big family. After dinner nonna brought out all the dessert (my favourite). I enjoyed a piece of all her traditional cakes. This year nonna added another cake that she used to make in Italy, which I think now is my new favourite. I love learning from nonna and hearing about all the traditions and hope that one day I will be able to make all the food and cakes so it can be continued for generations.
I hope everyone had an eggcelent (couldn’t let that one pass) Easter surrounded by friends and family. Remember that it is only one day of the year and that we are all WORTHY of indulgence. Occasions like Easter are SPECIAL and you DESERVE to enjoy them free from any guilt.