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 of food as good or bad creates a judgment that can lead a person with a food issue to actually want it and think about it even more.
If you are concerned about having Halloween candy in your house and 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 is 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, 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 can start to be addressed by asking yourself, "What am I feeling?"
If you do overindulge on Halloween candy; acknowledge it, don't beat yourself up, and try the suggestions above. It takes time to change this behavior and it is important to begin to understand why you do it.
I salute your courage to consider not overeating at Halloween. This is a tough time of year and there is a lot of encouragement to overeat. I know there are many who will tell you "just stop overeating" but also know that it is not as easy as that. Try something different and acknowledge that you are moving forward.
Have any suggestions? I would love to hear what you tried in the comment section below.
Kim McLaughlin LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (mfc 27667). She works as a psychotherapist in Roseville specializing in counseling people with binge eating, compulsive eating and eating disorders. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. This blog is not meant to be a substitute for counseling and if you are in need of counseling services contact Kim McLaughlin LMFT here.
Kim McLaughlin LMFT has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Binge Eating here or visit her website at www.feedyoursoultherapy.com.