Happy Easter! It’s time to eat chocolate. Time to eat more chocolate than usual, that is… Yipee! I’ve lost four and a half stone, I’ve kept it off for three years and I’ve made a point of eating chocolate every day. Why? Because chocolate helps you lose weight.
But, before you kidnap the Easter bunny, let me explain something. The vast majority of diets fail, but they don’t fail because people don’t know the right things to eat. They fail because dieting is hard to stick to. One way or another a diet means depriving yourself of food. That’s not a natural thing to do and somewhere deep in your brain you reject it.
Our instinct, our ‘Amy Brain’ that is, rewards us for storing as much energy as we can comfortably eat. And in sugar-filled, Traybake Britain, that’s a lot of calories. But we can’t fight our ‘Amy Brain’ forever. We can’t easily hold out for more than a few weeks at most. So instead of just denying these urges, it’s actually far more successful to find a way to give into them (to placate our Amy Brain) but to do it on our own terms. If we actually reward ourselves for sticking to a diet we can lose weight indefinitely.
And for the reward to work it has to be one that means something in terms of what we eat. And for most of us that simply means chocolate! It fits the bill perfectly. You can read about exactly why and how, here. And I’m afraid other rewards just don’t come close.
But when it comes to Easter things get a bit more difficult, especially if you’ve got young children and you find your kitchen filled with the sight and smell of foil-wrapped temptation. There are a couple of ways to help deal with it.
The simplest is to deny everything. Make a pact with yourself. Don’t so much as touch the chocolate button. But this is high risk. Simple does not mean easy. That milky chocolate that tastes of childhood is powerful stuff for us Brits and we’ll find it hard to stick to just a bite. So lets forget that. Stupid idea.
Another plan is to give in to everything and write the whole thing off. Go for the biggest egg you can find and throw in a bunny too. This can be done in the Diet Groove, you simply need to schedule your Reload Days accordingly, but it’s probably not the best idea you’ve ever had. It might be fun for a bit, but most chocolate is so calorific and so sugary, that not only is the cost so high but the reward is short-lived too. It’s not a great trade off.
Far better is to take a Diet Groove approach. Find a simple way to indulge on your own terms. And there are a couple of nice approaches. You need something chocolatey: a definite treat, but one that’s easily limited. Here are two ideas.
First is Cadbury’s Crème Eggs. Offer yourself four for the weekend. One a day from Good Friday to Easter Monday. They come in at 150 calories each so they are not going to break the bank. They are satisfyingly sweet and are ‘limited’ by their singularity. Then see if you can go the Friday without one. And the Saturday for that matter? Just knowing that you’re allowed it might give you the control to leave it. Then give it to a handy child on Easter morning. Have one yourself on Easter Day. Then decide on Monday if you need that last one.
The other product to use are the Lindt Excellent bars. As a treat you could buy yourself one of these. They’re about 520-530 calories each and you could choose one of the flavoured ones as a special bonus. I can recommend sea salt, and orange is always an Easter favourite. Keep one for the whole weekend. Stick to two chunks a day. Or save it all up for Easter Sunday. Either way, like the Crème Eggs, it’s not such a dietary disaster. It’s tasty, it’s rewarding and it’s a whole lot easier that trying to stop yourself picking at the children’s stash.