Is the thought of a kitchen filled with Halloween candy giving you the heebie-jeebies?
Are you feeling frustrated, and helpless, about your annual binge on fun-sized bars?
Perhaps you’re thinking of boycotting “Trick Or Treat” this year, just to avoid the temptation…
I get it. Those mini chocolate bars have a way of getting themselves eaten, and the guilty feelings that follow are as horrid as a Wes Craven movie. But that’s not going to happen this year.
Today’s post will help you overcome the treat temptation, to stop overeating Halloween candy, and avoid holiday weight gain.
Halloween should be scary for the movies, the costumes, and for your husband’s attempt at pumpkin carving. But, for many of us, the real fear comes from recollections of uncontrollable candy binges.
Memories from last year — snacking on Snickers and crunching on Kit Kats — is enough to induce the ghost of a belly-ache. Not to mention a wave of pre-emptive guilt (you assume it’ll happen again).
And it’s not only Halloween night that causes concern; that leftover loot has a way of making eyes at you from across the kitchen counter all week long.
If you currently have, or have ever had, a problem with over-eating, emotional-eating, food-addiction, or sugar-addiction, then being faced with an oversized bowl of bite-sized candy is a recipe for disaster.
But you can’t rely on willpower to get you through Halloween night, let alone the whole holiday season, so you’re going to need a strategy.
How To Stop Overeating Halloween Candy
Tip One: Buy Yourself A Real Treat
Have you ever declined dessert at a restaurant or dinner party, only to go home and raid the cookie cupboard? Willpower has its limits, which is why deciding NOT to have any treats isn’t always a smart move.
But that doesn’t mean giving in to the wrong temptation.
The problem with Halloween candy is that it’s downright crappy. Unless you’re giving out organic, Fair-Trade, single serve dark chocolate bars — thereby killing your “cool status” with the neighborhood kids — the stuff that you’re sharing is low in quality, high in sugar, and often made via third-world child labor (1).
Halloween candy wreaks havoc on your blood sugar, messes with your metabolism, and eating it can make you feel pretty bad about yourself.
To me, that’s not worth the splurge.
If you’re going to indulge, then I recommend doing it correctly! Buy yourself a small, high-quality treat, and savor every mouthful. This might be an expensive chocolate bar or a ridiculously beautiful pastry from your local bakery; the point is that when you eat something decadent, it should feel sensuously satisfying.
Tip Two: Do You WANT More Candy?
Food should make you feel good, physically, mentally and emotionally. Overeating food that doesn’t tick all three boxes is a sign of self-punishment, not self-love.
The “Want Test” is something that I share with my clients when it comes to eating treat foods. You can eat anything you WANT, in the amount that you WANT, if you’re eating from a place of self-love, feeling emotionally balanced, and rejoicing in epicurean delight.
Food guilt leads to overeating – you think you’ve already blown it (“it” being health), so you keep going. This approach does three things:
1. You don’t believe you deserve the occasional treat (you’re not good enough, thin enough, fit enough, etc.).
2. It turns your body into a trash can where unwanted food gets tossed.
3. And it takes away the natural connection you should have with your body, which tells you when you’ve had enough.
This mindset is what turns one donut into five and two chocolates into a box. It hurts your relationship with food and eats away at your self-respect.
The “Want Test” puts you back in a position of power; you choose what and how much you eat.
If you find yourself starting to unwrap another piece of candy this Halloween, take a moment and ask yourself:
- Do I want this?
- Why do I want this?
- Do I want this for my taste buds (will it taste any better than the last bite)?
- Do I want this for my body (is it fueling me)?
- Do I want this for myself emotionally (am I using this food as a crutch)?
As you answer these questions remember that there is ALWAYS more food, you can always have another treat tomorrow, and your desire for health IS stronger than your sweet tooth.
Tip Three: Discard The Leftovers
For overeaters, the morning after Halloween is when it hurts the most. You wake up with that sinking (sugar-aching) feeling in the pit of your stomach, and the critical voice inside your head yells “I can’t believe you did this again!”
So you decide to get the leftover candy OUT OF THE HOUSE.
Here’s what not to do:
- Don’t take it to work (you still have access, and your co-workers might not feel so thrilled)
- Don’t try to hide it for later in the holidays (come on, we all know that doesn’t work)
- Don’t stand in the kitchen eating it while trying to come up with a solution
Here’s what you can do:
Throw it out — in the outdoor trash if you have to. Worried about waste? Don’t be. Worry about your health. My mum taught me that eating unwanted food is wasting food anyway.
Of course, I hope on this November 1 you will wake up and feel at peace with your body and mind. All it takes is implementing tips one and two from today’s blog post, and reminding yourself that you are in control of the decisions you make, and you CAN choose another option.
I hope that these three strategies are helpful as you tackle Halloween, and the entire holiday season, with a sense of calm. Trust in your body and, no matter what happens, remember to be patient and kind to yourself as you continue to tweak your healthy-living routines.