You know what's really spooky? Restrictive thoughts that make you spend time thinking about food and your body, when you really could be enjoying yourself and those around you. My advice as a registered dietitian nutritionist? Don't let Halloween candy keep you from having fun this holiday. Here's how intuitive eating and a non-diet approach can help.
This reminder isn't limited to Halloween, or any other holiday, but this time of year, it's especially important to remind folks that deprivation rarely has the desired outcome you hope for. As you find yourself surrounded by Halloween candy this year, remind yourself that restriction and deprivation don't encourage health. In fact, feeling out of control around food is predictable side effect of restricting, either consciously or unconsciously. Feeling guilty for having halloween candy won't make you healthier, and neither does talking to your friends/family/coworkers/kids/social media followers about avoiding candy. The bigger deal we make out of candy being 'bad' or 'unhealthy,' the more we are pulled toward it - the forbidden fruit affect is very, very real.
Give Yourself Permission
I want to say I have a lot of empathy for those who feel out of control around candy. It's scary to challenge these thoughts when you feel that you cannot trust yourself around these foods. Keep in mind that learning to trust yourself around food is nuanced, and you might find guidance from a non-diet professional helpful. I don't want to oversimplify solutions, but I also want to spark some curiosity with these questions:
what if you gave yourself permission to eat the candy with attunement?
what if you allowed yourself to eat the candy, and savor it?
how could you really taste it and allow yourself to enjoy it without guilt?
Gentle Nutrition: What Else Might You Need?
You always have permission to eat candy and enjoy it. Permission is an absolute requirement for intuitive eating. That said, it's ok to bring a bit of critical thought into your decisions. Ask yourself, what else have you eaten today? You might also consider whether your body is appropriately nourished with meals & snacks - keep in mind, that when we are physically hungry, it’s entirely normal to seek out foods that will provide quick energy. Foods like candy. It's also not likely that you will be able to eat your candy mindfully if you are ravenous! So, show yourself a bit of self compassion if you realize candy has been your source of fuel. Your body has needed that fuel.
A little bit of nonjudgmental awareness can go a long way. You can pause, and ask yourself if you really want the candy. Curiosity let’s you hold space for the fact that you CAN have candy just like you CAN decide to eat something else if will serve you better in that moment. The great irony of permission is that allowing yourself to enjoy and savor your candy encourages food freedom, and the ability to truly listen to what your body wants/needs. Without judgment. Plus, acting with permission doesn’t allow room for the scarcity mindset - you can always have more if you want more in the future. it takes practice, but you can trust your body to let you know what you need.
So, what are your favorites? I am a Reese's girl, hands down. But I've been known to mix in a Sourpatch Kid every now and then!