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Easter Candy: From Shame to Moderation

By Erica Bartlett

Chocolate easter egg in red wrappingWhen you think about Easter, what comes to mind? It wouldn’t be surprising if candy is one of your first thoughts since Easter is second only to Halloween in candy sales.

How does thinking about Easter candy make you feel? Excited, guilty, anxious, ashamed, happy, or something else?

If you’re like me, it may bring up a variety of memories and emotions. In my early childhood, I felt only excitement. Getting up on Easter morning, I couldn’t wait to see – and eat – what I’d find in my basket, and I loved following the clues my parents put together for our egg hunt.

Once I started gaining weight though, things changed. My mom no longer got me regular candy, except maybe a small chocolate bunny. Instead, she focused on sugar-free candy, carob instead of chocolate, and non-food items.

This had two unintended consequences:

One, I really loved Easter candy, especially Cadbury Crème Eggs, and since I didn’t get them in my basket, I looked for ways to sneak them. And two, my brother got all the treats I longed for so I resented the difference in treatment. It reminded me that my parents constantly scrutinized my weight and food choices.

As an adult, my conflicted feelings meant that I couldn’t fully enjoy my visit to Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. As I went through the tour and tasted chocolate, I couldn’t help worrying that others were judging me for taking the samples. After all, why did someone my size need more sweets?

Then when I got to the store, my initial excitement at seeing bins of Cadbury Crème Eggs (in November!) quickly turned to shame as I wondered if I could buy any without anyone who knew me seeing. I managed it, but the subterfuge lessened my enjoyment of the candy.

When I finally lived by myself and had the opportunity to eat whatever and however much Easter candy I wanted, I enjoyed it at first. However, as my diet changed, I encountered a different problem. The candy tasted too sweet and I no longer wanted so much of it. I was very excited to find mini Cadbury Crème Eggs which struck a perfect balance between the taste I craved and a portion I could enjoy. I wonder if I would have gotten to that place sooner if I’d been given candy freely in my youth without embarrassment or shame.

These days, I can generally walk past the aisles of Easter candy without it calling out to me. Occasionally I still want a taste, but a taste is truly all I need of the sweetness and nostalgia of my younger years.

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About the author

Erica Bartlett discovered mindful eating in her early 20's, and it changed her life. Not only did it allow her to lose half her body weight and maintain that loss for over ten years, it also helped her discover many new things that she loves in addition to food. One of these newer passions is working with others who have food and weight concerns, which is why she is now a licensed Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating facilitator and a certified Health Coach. Her website is www.rediscoveringfoodmaine.com, and she keeps a weekly blog at www.losingbattle-erica.blogspot.com

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