October is my favorite month. Though I’m biased (it’s my birthday month!), October starts the official track towards the holiday season. There’s no doubt that I have a sweet tooth so Halloween is a personal favorite. For some, this time of year means haunted houses, spooky movies, and fun costumes. For others who struggle with food and body image, however, October often ignites a stressful few months.
In regards to Halloween, let’s address the elephant in the room. Is candy bad for health and how can we navigate this holiday without fearing the influx of sweets? For someone who loves nutrition (I devoted my entire career to dance nutrition!) I want to prove that we can find guilt-free pleasure in the very treats we often hear to moderate.
My answer does not list tips to help you dodge the candy nor does it list tactics to “beat the craving.” There’s no advice to “drink gallons of water to fill you” nor do I recommend keeping a candy-free household.
Instead, we’re going to EMBRACE THE TRUTH. The truth is that Halloween, as with most holidays, is fun! Holidays bring joy and celebration into our lives and most often, holidays center around food. Harboring a restrictive mindset towards food will only lead to a sad holiday!
But how can we actually embrace the fun without the anxiety surrounding the potential of eating ALL of the candy? To answer this, I’m sharing my top 3 tips that you can implement to trade your fear with confidence during the holidays.
#1: Plan Ahead, But Don’t Obsess
When possible, stick to your usual routine, which likely includes about 3 meals and 1-2 snacks throughout the day. Even on the holiday, steer clear of “saving calories.” This mindset leads you to a dreaded cycle of under-eating and over-eating. Next, I want you to embrace your favorites. Before diving into the candy bowl, consider the options that you love most. The healthiest candy is the one that best satisfies you. Personally, I’m a chocoholic. Your candy choice doesn’t have to be a nutritional superstar. Simply choose your favorites and eat them mindfully. Take time to assess your internal cues of satisfaction and fullness. Be confident that you can enjoy these options tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, and so on. Therefore, no need to “get them all in before they’re gone!”
#2: Be Gentle, You Can Totally Eat More Candy!
I’m not one to ever say, “everything in moderation.” While too much of anything is never a good thing, let’s be serious… sometimes we overeat. It’s normal and it happens. Especially around the holidays when we’re enjoying celebratory experiences that often surround food. Be gentle with yourself. Realize that one instance, even if it involves you going overboard… is never going to make or break your lifelong health. Trust yourself that tomorrow is always a new day. This doesn’t mean that tomorrow is a chance to “make up” for the excess from today. Rather, utilize tomorrow as an opportunity to nourish as usual (while still making room for those delish candies).
#3: Build Trust, Not Willpower
Since we’re building a rule-free lifestyle, there are technically no rules surrounding Halloween candy. If you wanted to eat ALL of the candy, all day, for a week (or more)… then you can totally do it! I won’t hold you back! BUT- consider this… How will you feel physically afterward? Eating an abundance of sugar can leave you drowsy, sluggish, and bloated. Consider a way to enjoy sweets while still promoting self-care. Rather than holding yourself to willpower, trust yourself that tomorrow you can enjoy the same candy as part of a nourishing meal plan that makes you feel good (physically and mentally).
Now that you’re ready to enjoy your candy, remember that there’s no “good” nor “bad” food. Restricting your most pleasurable options will result in a vicious cycle of restricting/overeating. Embrace the fact that candy is fun and yummy. After all, humans are wired to prefer sweet flavors. Enjoy every bite, savor it as part of a nourishing and mindful experience, and move on when you’re comfortably satisfied.
Did you try my tips? Share your experience below!