Michelle May, M.D., author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle, is well aware that Halloween candy may already have been stocked and refilled at least once at your house! She says, “Halloween can be a scary time of year for those trapped in an eat-repent-repeat cycle. You seem to be haunted by all that candy in the house, leading to a full-blown candy binge, chocolate hangover, and vows to do better tomorrow.”
If you recognize yourself in that get-up, here are a few tips from May for handling the start of the eating season. And, surprisingly, it’s not just about deprivation. She advises the following:
- Minimize your exposure. Wait until the last minute to buy Halloween candy, then buy only what you really think you’ll need for the big night. Get the stuff kids love rather than bags and bags of your favorites.
- Remember, it’s not your food. All too often we eat whatever shows up–Halloween candy, donuts in the break room, or samples in the grocery store. But you didn’t choose to put it there so stop mindlessly putting it in your mouth!
- Get your own. You’ll be less tempted to get into the kid’s holiday candy if stop depriving yourself the rest of the year.
- Share! If you really want some candy, ask your child to share a few pieces with you. Through observation, they learn that it is possible to balance eating for nourishment with eating for enjoyment.
- Eat what you love. Skip the sugary kid candy (unless that’s what you love) and instead choose a few that you really love. Set them aside to eat when you really want them (I like to keep mine in a plastic bag in the freezer).
- Save room for dessert. If you’re going to eat Halloween candy, then adjust for it. After all, does it really make sense to eat all your dinner to earn dessert?
- If you love it that much, act like it! Enjoy those candies one at a time, mindfully without distractions.
- Buy small. The fun-sized treats are the perfect size. And those first few bites are always the best, so think before you dive in for more.
- Eat without guilt. We all know that guilt leads to more eating, not less, so let it go.
- Don’t torture yourself over exercise. Being physically active feels good and provides numerous benefits for your health; don’t turn it into punishment for eating.
- Pass it on. Halloween is a great time to teach your kids how to enjoy a little candy as part of a healthy and active lifestyle.