Easter Hangover

Easter has come and gone for another year. We have probably all spent time with family eating far too much chocolate and other desserts than we really should have. But hey, there is the 10% rule where if you do everything right for 90% of the time, the other 10% you should be able to get away with. The only problem with binging out on junk food like we tend to do this time of year is that old habits start to creep in.

Have you ever been really strict with your nutrition, reached your goal, celebrated reaching a milestone by eating a big slice of cake, chocolate or any other sweet stuff and found that you struggle to get back on the wagon? There is a very good reason as to why this happens and that is the fact that we are addicts. Sugar addicts.

Sugar is a highly addictive substance that releases feel good hormones into the brain. Our brain associates this with a reward response which is why we so often crave sweet foods when we are feeling down and depressed. It is of course a poor way to get that pick me up as it is a fleeting feeling that doesn’t hang around for long, meaning we have to go get more of a hit. I’m not going to go into all the issues surrounding high sugar consumption here as I have covered it before, but I will tell you how to get past it.

The first step to overcoming an addiction is of course to admit there is one. We had an Easter chocolate binge, admit it, get over it and get back into the headspace you had before the binge. The worst thing you can do in this situation is have the “To hell with it” attitude. How many dieters do you know that say something like “I had a sweet today so to hell with it, I may as well have that sugar laden dessert tonight”. This is of course the worst thing to do as where does it end? Does it continue into the next day when you start to undo all the good work you have done previously? The sooner you admit it, accept it and get over it, the sooner you can be back on track.

Second step would be to have a cupboard/fridge cleanse. Just go through and clean out everything that has crept into the house over the past few days and get rid of it. If you can’t bear to throw it out, just donate it. I’m sure you have a neighbour that would appreciate it or even a local charity that knows of a family doing it tough that would appreciate a gift from a stranger. If it’s not in your cupboard, there is no temptation.

The third and final step I would take is to change your self talk. When you are doing well and looking after your nutrition like you should, your self talk is different than when you are not. If I’m offered something like a chocolate bar, the first thing I think is “No thanks, I don’t eat that sort of thing” as opposed to most peoples self talk that says “What the hell, one chocolate wont hurt”. What we say to ourselves is so powerful.

Someone once said to me the most powerful two words are “I am”. If you think about it, it is so true. If you constantly say to yourself “I am unhealthy, unfit, unworthy etc” how would you feel? Compare that to saying to yourself “I am healthy, fit, worthy etc” there is a vast difference to your whole attitude toward life, not to mention your training.

I remember reading a study years ago where they got students answering a survey on a piece of paper. What the questions were, is irrelevant as what was written under the text was the more important part. Underneath all the questions right across the page were either positive or negative words in a subliminal kind of way. They did not make up part of the questionnaire, but the brain still picked them up. The students who had the positive words on their paper walked out of that exam with their heads held high, backs straight and smiles on their faces. The ones with the negative text, were the complete opposite. Slumped over, heads held low and looked like you just told them their favourite pet just died. So if just reading negative words can have an impact on your attitude, how much do your thoughts effect you?

When changing a certain aspect of your like, like your nutrition, self talk is the most powerful factor in your success. That combined with the first two steps is a recipe to get over the chocolate hangover and get back on track with your training.

Hope this has been of some help to you,

Run Well

Chris O’Driscoll


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