We are super excited to say that our very own Steph is back doing a little bit of writing for us (whoop whoop!) Some of you may know her from her series of weekly “Ask Steph” articles she wrote a while back for Shona, and some may know her from her counselling and psychotherapy work or if you are very lucky, you may have met this fab lady in person.
Well, Steph has been hard at work and has now established her very own business. Steph Golds – Talk Therapy is a safe place for you to go if you feel you need a little bit of help and want to talk it out. Steph has built both an in-person support system – by offering counselling sessions (but she prefers to call them check-in chats) – and an online support system – by offering helpful content you can read through when you are hitting a bit of a rough patch.
With Easter coming up, Steph knew this could be a big trigger for people with a difficult relationship with food, and wanted to tell us all a thing or two…
Easter can be an interesting time of year when it comes to food. And for some, it can be a bit…problematic. Especially for those with eating disorders or those in eating disorder recovery. You might know someone, or you might BE someone, who uses food in different ways to cope. What I want to share with you today is a little bit about what to look out for and how to look after yourself when it comes to food at Easter. Because Christmas isn’t the only tricky time of year.
Chocolate eggs have been on sale ev-ery-where since January 1st, peeking at us from every cash register, popping up on ads all over the place. The Christmas Roses are still in the kitchen but the world is onto the next choccy craze. And then. Before we know it. Please welcome…Pancake Tuesday! Also known as…Eat as many pancakes as you can, and then the following day (if you’re semi-interested in Lent), take a vow to restrict something from your diet for 40 days until you eat as much as you can again, except instead of pancakes, this time, it’s the said chocolate eggs that have been lurking at every corner…exhausting!
It’s a recipe for normalising the overeat-undereat-overeat cycle. Which really isn’t good for our bodies or minds.
And what else pops up everywhere on January 1st? “Lose weight now!” “Join our gym!” “Shed those Christmas pounds!” We are bombarded with mixed messages about food and our bodies A LOT. And that can be difficult to navigate if you’re not feeling too good about yourself.
Did you know that how we behave with food says a lot about who we are and how we value ourselves? In my counselling work with eating disorders and body image issues, I see lots of interesting behaviours around food. Some people overeat, some under-eat, some emotionally eat, some restrict lots of different food types…and all of these different behaviours represent what’s going on for someone and how they’re feeling.
It’s fairly “normal” for us all to overeat and under-eat from time to time. But when there is consistent behaviour around food that doesn’t seem to be going away, it might mean something more. Food is a basic need that we all have; it should be enjoyed and it provides nourishment for these gorgeous bodies that we live in. When we use food in ways that hurt us (overeating or undereating), it’s like a smokescreen; there’s usually something else going on that’s causing some kind of unhappiness. So if that’s you, or someone you know, be compassionate. Don’t judge the behaviour. Get curious and supportive and seek help. Because it doesn’t have to be that way and no one needs to struggle alone.
Keep an eye out for friends and family and check in with them over Easter. Ask them how they’re really doing, and wait for them to reply. Top tip: do this for yourself too 😉
Eat regularly – this will keep your blood sugar levels nice and chill and it will reduce the risk of overeating later on.
Eat mindfully – listen to YOUR body. What does it want? Don’t deny it anything. If you want some chocolate, have it. Taste it. Enjoy your food. But listen to it when it’s full too. I love how Oprah talks about food; in her book “What I Know For Sure”, she says, “All the carrots, celery, and skinless chicken in the world can’t give you the satisfaction of one incredible piece of chocolate if that’s what you really crave.”
Think beyond food – what else is Easter about, besides chocolate? Friends, family, time out, relaxation. Focus on other things that bring you joy.
Fresh air – get outdoors, every day. Fresh air is just the best, and will always make you feel better.
Chill – however you like to. Listening to music, walking, journaling, and chatting with friends.
Breathe – keep that nervous system in check and everything will be easier. Check out my breathing techniques video from our Shine festival 2021 (link).
If you’re concerned about yourself or someone else in relation to eating disorders, you can go to www.BodyWhys.ie for lots of supports and information.
If you would like to support us and the work that we do, you can find out more below