Are You Haunted by Halloween Candy?

It’s time for Halloween again!

I feel like everywhere I look, there is a bowl of Halloween candy. Even at my daughter’s orthodontist’s office!

What thoughts and feelings does this omnipresent candy bowl or this picture above bring up for you?  

Anxiety, shame, body checking, cravings?…….  

All across social media, I’ve seen posts about about what to do with all that candy that enters our homes..  I recently read about the ‘Switch Witch’ that comes and replaces kids’ candy with a toy. Then, there are the dentists who buy it back, and the campaigns to donate it to our deployed troops.

As good-intentioned as all these programs are, they are missing a key element.  Through the desperate need to rid our homes of candy, we are telling ourselves (and our kids) that we can’t be trusted around Halloween candy!  

And you might even believe this too.  What do your inner voices tell you?  That you can’t eat just one piece of candy? That you don’t deserve the candy because you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror? That candy is bad because it is full or fat and sugar?

My thoughts around kids and Halloween candy can be found here on last year’s Halloween post. Bon Appetit even decided to tackle the issue this year. 

But, for today, let’s talk about the adults:

I can hear you telling me that those inner voices are absolutely true.  That if you eat a Three Musketeers bar, it will send you into a binge; that you are truly addicted to sugar and can’t stop at just one; that you have the evidence of prior binges to prove to me that you truly cannot be trusted around candy…..

 

I’m here to tell you that you have the capacity to enjoy candy and eat it an amount that makes you feel good.

I know exactly how you feel because I spent so much of my life with these same feelings.  But all those feelings existed when I was trapped in a diet mentality and had a list of forbidden foods. I denied myself these foods day after day. That is, until I couldn’t take it anymore and that one Milky Way bar would pass my lips and I’d continue to eat many more until I felt physically ill.  I don’t love to think about those moments, but learning from them helped me get to the point where passing by a candy bowl or eating a Milky Way make me feel the same emotionally.

 

So, what’s the key to overcoming these thoughts and feelings?

  1. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat the candy.  Can you consider that the power that this candy has over you is related to the fact that it has been forbidden for so much of your life?  Perhaps the reason you eat lots of candy and it feels like a binge is that you don’t unconditionally allow it.  Is eating it tied to ‘being good’ at your next meal, extra time on the treadmill, or do you really ‘allow’ it at all outside of a binge?  Science tells us that we really want what we cannot have. This is true for food too!
  2. Show your body some respect and love.  How do you feel when you eat so much candy that you feel physically drained and ill? Don’t be hard on yourself when you feel uncomfortable about your eating. Rather, use it as a learning experience: perhaps you would feel great after three mini Snickers, but not 10….
  3. Seek satisfaction in your eating experiences.  Eating is meant to be a pleasurable experience, but it’s hard to truly enjoy a treat when you sneak a candy bar from a basket or your child’s treat bag and quickly pop it in your mouth, hoping no one sees you!  Can you imagine what it would be like to sit down at the table, take a deep breath, unwrap that candy, smell it, take a bite, close your eyes and get the full experience?  Are you willing to try it as an experiment?

 

These three elements are just a few of the topics I cover when I work with women in their Intuitive Eating journey.  

 

Note:  Intuitive Eating is based on the book of the same name by Registered Dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.  It is based on ten principles and has been scientifically validated.  These principles work synergistically together to help you stop the battle with food and your body and learn to eat with joy and satisfaction again.  You can learn more here.