Don’t binge this Easter!

Joanne Hart for

You’ve been on a healthy eating plan since the year began – good for you! But here comes Easter riding on a wave of chocolate! Surely it couldn’t hurt to binge a little? Actually, it really can. This is what happens when you sugar binge:

Insulin flood

Too much sugar at one sitting means that your pancreas has to send out a flood of insulin to clean up the excess glucose. While some of that extra glucose will go into your muscles as energy fuel, the rest will be stored in your fat cells as, yes, fat. If a chocolate or sweet binge triggers too much insulin, you can end up craving more sugar – and this isn’t a cycle you want to get trapped in.

Heard of the endorphin effect?

There’s a reason why you might want to respond to stress with a sugar binge, but there’s an even better reason why you shouldn’t!  Eating sugar releases a brain chemical called beta-endorphin – the same “feel-good” chemical released after great sex or during a workout! Beta-endorphins help to decrease pain and boost your mood, but why get them this way? A run, a swim, a couple of circuits will get you the same buzz of joy AND you’ll look great! Which will boost your confidence to get (and give) some beta-endorphins the best way.

You can get hooked

Taking your beta-endorphins the cheap and nasty way can lead to sugar addiction. No, you’re not hooked on the sugar itself, but on that rush of natural opiates that make everything seem better – until you need the next doughnut.

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Avoid binge triggers

If sugar is your weakness, then holidays are a high-risk time, but you can prepare yourself:

  1. Fill up on the good stuff – and this doesn’t mean salad. Proteins like eggs, fish, lean meat, chicken and cheese all take longer to digest than starches, so have a full breakfast before you face the day.
  2. Work your stress off! Imagine: all the inner glow from those beta-endorphins, AND you get to look fabulous!

Eat an Easter egg, even two, but choose dark chocolate and don’t eat them both at once! Drop us a comment on how you battle/manage sugar binges – we want to know.