“The holidays”, as in Christmas season, are still a few weeks away, but Halloween is right around the corner! Some might brush it off as not a real holiday, but I love Halloween and definitely get into the festive spirit! Whether you are into it or not, it tends to be a time that is tricky with food.
During holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are once a year foods, potentially triggering family members, and multiple courses from appetizers to desserts. Halloween is not a big dinner holiday, but it can feel difficult just the same because it involves a LOT of candy.
Having big bowls of candy in the house can be a trigger for binge eating, emotional eating, and even restricting in order to ‘save up’ for candy later. All of these are harmful behaviors, yet there IS a way to have a positive relationship with a big bowl of candy! It starts with permission.
Part of the reason that Halloween candy is so irresistible is the fact that we typically don’t allow ourselves to have it all throughout the year. When foods are off limits, they become so much easier to overeat since our brains and bodies think it will be our only chance to enjoy the food. This means that Halloween candy might be hard to eat in moderation if you’ve been restricting sweets or off and on dieting all year long. Regardless, you can start with permission! Allow yourself something sweet when you crave it and remind yourself that the bowl will still be there tomorrow (and that you can buy more for the kids on Saturday). Sweets are not a scarce resource, and when they are around often, and you know they are not gone forever, they control us less.
The other part of intuitively eating special holiday foods is paying attention to how they make you feel. I love to use the example of travel. If you go on vacation and eat out plus have cocktails and dessert all day everyday, you probably don’t feel your best by the end of the trip. You might come home craving a nice home cooked dinner. This is because you are noticing how you feel! You notice some bloating, fatigue, stomach pains, or just feeling blah. Does this mean never eat candy because it makes you feel bad? No! An appropriate serving of candy will likely make you feel great (it’s delicious!) but a whole bag of mini snickers might leave you on the couch with a stomach ache. The goal is to find your point of feeling satisfied without stuffed. There are not set limits or rules about this (that would be very not intuitive!) it is all up to YOU and YOUR body! Allow what you want, and listen to your body cues in order to stop before you are uncomfortable. (This is definitely challenging and long term work if you have a history of an eating disorder or disordered eating…or even if you don’t! If you would like support in learning this, I recommend you work with a dietitian- check out my services here!)
I am always grateful for being an intuitive eater because it allows me to enjoy all the fun foods of holidays! You absolutely can get there too! If you are wanting to try out a fun Halloween recipe, these treats from Taste of Home are my absolute fave! Not only do they feel like a fun art project to make (a great creative distraction in a stressful time…#2020) they taste incredible – like Reeses eggs or trees! I made them according to the recipe and then decorated half with drizzled white chocolate and mini chip eyes to make them into little mummies! If you make them, tag me on insta to show me how you decorate!