Every year, scores of well-intentioned folks give up chocolate for Lent, only to find themselves in a sugar coma with a food guilt hangover that lasts for days. Of course, it’s not always chocolate—it could be whatever it is you vow to give up for 40 days and then can suddenly have again on Easter Sunday. For example, last year, I did without online shopping for Lent, only to hit the cyber sales hard. Lesson learned.
It’s similar to how dieting and then attempting to go back to your BeforeLife (instead of continuing on a new, healthy-life adventure) without a maintenance plan tends to result in weight regain—when we deny ourselves something, we go all-out when we’re “allowed” to have it again.
Before we start talking about moderation, though, I really need to share this gorgeous recipe from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet It Is for Chocolate Peanut Butter Peeps Skillet S’Mores. If you’re going to indulge in some sweet stuff this weekend, this is the kind of thing to go for—forget the waxy crap from the drug store—unless of course that’s what really does it for you.
Now that you’ve had a chance to drool over that loveliness, how about a few tips to help you enjoy a little of the good stuff without feeling like you have to overdo it?
1.) Make space. If you know you’re doing to want dessert, skip the buttered roll at dinner, decline the second drink—don’t bother with the extras you don’t really care about. Your great aunt whatever-the-f*** will forgive you for not eating her mashed potatoes.
2.) Scope out the scene. See what’s available and make a note of which thing (or things) you really want to try.
3.) Start slow. No reason to go balls to the wall right out of the gate. Take a small portion and go sit down away from the dessert display to savor your treat. Tell yourself that if you really want more, you can always get up and get some.
4.) Wait 20 minutes after eating. Drink some water. Have some coffee. Chill out. 9 times out of 10, you’ll feel satisfied and forget all about wanting a second plate of food. That said, if you’re legitimately still hungry, then serve yourself a little more.
5.) Enjoy it today and then put it out of sight, out of mind. Whether that means putting it in the freezer* or giving it away, resist the urge to leave the Easter candy out all the next week. This has a tendency to lead to mindless munching and nagging sugar-guilt, which is such an energy-suck. You’re too busy and important to waste time putting yourself down.
*Having leftover chocolate on hand comes in handy for later chocolate emergencies, like when you have unexpected company and need dessert to go with a bottle of wine.
Anyone observing, did you give anything up for Lent? Any epic Lent failures like my no-shopping experience? What’s your favorite type of candy or chocolate?