I used to be really afraid of Halloween and not because of the ghosts and goblins. I was afraid to have Halloween candy in my house. I was afraid I would eat the candy before the Trick or Treaters came around. My solution was to make other plans on Halloween. Many years (before kids) I went to the gym or a friend’s house on Halloween to avoid buying and giving out candy. It was the only solution I could think of to not overeat the candy.
I found Intuitive Eating and found a peace with food that I had not had before. I decided to let go of my fear of Halloween candy and see if I could put it in proper perspective. Intuitive Eating teaches us to not label foods as good or bad, food is just food. Granted some foods are more nutritious than others and help fuel our bodies better than others, but the judgment that it is good or bad is not helpful. Labeling food as good or bad puts a judgment that can lead a person with a food issue to want it and think about it even more. If you are scared to have Halloween candy in your house and you would like to try something different here are some suggestions:
- Give yourself a break from giving out Halloween candy and take the night off (it worked for me for many years). Go to the gym, the movies or the mall.
- Let go of the idea that candy is bad food. When a certain food is labeled bad we can tend to see it as something to hide and sneak.
- If you are going to eat candy- eat it and really enjoy it. Sit at the table use a napkin, use a plate and really savor what you are eating. Often candy grabbed out of the bowl and eaten while doing something else. This is really mindless eating that leads to overeating.
- Take a deep breath and really ask yourself if you are hungry. If you are not hungry really ask yourself why you want to eat. Maybe you are feeling some emotion that you want to curb. Emotional eating is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. If you are hungry, ask yourself “what do I want?” AND “what would give you the energy I need to do what you need to do?”
If you do overindulge on Halloween candy you can acknowledge it and return to try the suggestions above. It takes time to change this behavior and to begin to understand why you do it.
I solute your courage to consider not overeating at Halloween. This is a tough time of year if you are an overeater and it is not easy to just stop. I know there are many who will tell you “just stop overeating.” I know it is not as easy as that. But, try something different and acknowledge that you are moving forward.
Try something new. I would love to hear what you tried below.
Kim McLaughlin, MA is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in helping people with eating issues and eating disorders. If you are concerned that about overeating, weight or your use of food in general please contact her here. Sign up for her FREE Top Tips to End Emotional Eating here. Check out her website at www.FeedYourSoulTherapy.com.