What If I Eat Too Much Halloween Candy?
Here’s what to do if you eat more Halloween candy than you planned.
If you’ve been reading about or practicing Intuitive Eating, you might be starting to allow previously-forbidden foods into your diet.
Perhaps you’ve eaten french fries or Oreos and you may have even learned that you can eat them and live to tell about it.
But, Halloween, and the candy bowls that come along with it, tends to give people the figurative creeps.
Nearly every day I hear something like:
“I’m addicted to [insert candy name here]!” Once I eat one piece, I just can’t stop!
Yes, smart, successful women, are frustrated with and terrified by Halloween candy.
Do you fall into this camp?
If you’re curious about my philosophy regarding Halloween for adults and children alike, check out my prior blogs on the subject.:
Before I give you my thoughts, I’d like to take a guess about how the whole candy binge thing goes for you:
Perhaps you start the day with a good amount of anxiety. You just KNOW how it’s going to go.
You want to forego the binges of prior years, so you vow to abstain from candy all day.
Maybe you even try a substitute (sugar free candy or gum are a few common ones).
You make it through your work day and dinner, but sometime around 8 pm, you let your guard down. One small candy turns into another, and another.
And then you say, what the hell!!…. And proceed to eat until you feel physically ill.
“I’ve broken my promise to myself so I might as well eat whatever I want tonight and start again tomorrow.”
Say this above scenario happens?
Now, if you’re like most women I know, you’ll start with the all-or-nothing thinking (aka “What the hell!”) and then you’ll pile on the negative body talk and the self hatred, thinking things like “you can’t even skip the candy for ONE day! You’re such a failure!”
Does that sound about right??
The thing is, you have two choices in a situation like this: (1) berate yourself and perpetuate the cycle of restriction, bingeing and regret or (2) muster your courage and reflect on your eating experience with a curious, non-judgmental mind.
If I had to guess, you’ve tried approach #1 quite a bit.
How has that served you?
Has that helped you get in touch with the reasons you eat??
If you’ve had more experiences with negative self-talk than you can count, what do you have to lose by trying approach #2?
If you struggle and eat too much Halloween candy, here’s the first thing you should do:
Describe the situation in purely objective language, without judgment. You can use my PDF download worksheet to walk you through this exercise. Download your copy HERE.
Here’s what you might be thinking or saying now: (Note: All of these are unhelpful judgments.)
- I can’t believe I can’t even control myself around candy for ONE day!
- No wonder my clothes don’t fit!
- I’m so ashamed!
- That’s it; I’m not eating until dinner tomorrow!
Instead, I’d like to encourage you to describe your experience without judgment.
- I ate some unplanned Halloween candy tonight.
- I was really hungry when I started eating the candy.
- I love the taste of peanut butter and chocolate.
- My stomach feels so full that it is uncomfortable.
- I feel a bit light-headed.
Write down your list as you reflect.
If you catch yourself making judgments, bring your thoughts back to your physical experience.
See how long you can make your list.
The next day: Read your list the morning after Halloween. Are you able to remember that experience and how you felt in your body?
Why Is This Exercise Helpful?
Being able to explore your eating experience without judgment is a key step in overcoming the restrict-binge cycle.
You see, when we are able to sit with and examine our experiences in a non-judgmental way, we can take valuable lessons away from the experience.
In contrast, when you judge yourself and your actions, you are immediately compelled to jump right back on that restriction bandwagon. And, I’m sure your life experience will tell you: beginning to restrict and deny yourself things is the quickest way to perpetuate a cycle of overconsuming them.
What do you have to lose by trying a different approach?
What might you gain?
We all have eating experiences that we didn’t plan. It’s part of life. It’s what we DO with those experiences that either drags us back into the unhealthy pit of restriction and disordered eating – OR – moves us farther along the path to eating according to what makes our bodies feel best.
Why not try something different this time?
Ready to try this exercise?
I’ve created a worksheet based on the exercise above. It’s a downloadable PDF that gives you space to journal about your experience and reflect back the next day. Download your copy HERE
Kelly Abramson MS, RD is a dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who works with clients in Alexandria, VA and virtually via telehealth. She guides women as they break free from dieting to find joy in food and their bodies. Kelly blogs regularly at NpowerYou.com and has created a free e-book for download, “7 Steps to Overcome Stress Eating.”