Tired of feeling stressed and guilty when Halloween rolls around? As an intuitive nutritionist, I share 3 ways to cultivate a healthy relationship with sweets.With Halloween just around the corner, comes the inevitable stress of having access to an abundance of candy. In a culture that constantly fears the consumption of sugar, how could you not stress about it?
But how does this stress affect your holiday enjoyment? How does this stress affect your children (if you have them)? Do you find yourself hiding candy after the kids go to bed and feeling guilty afterwards? Are your kids (again, if you have them) learning that candy is “bad” or “useless” from you?
What if you could have a more peaceful and neutral relationship with sweets in your home?
What if you could tune into your body to tell you how much candy to eat (or not eat) instead of listening to arbitrary rules?
What if you could actually enjoy candy without feeling guilty afterwards?
What if your kids could approach candy with coordination and not feel like they have to eat it all because they don’t know when they’ll get another chance?
Everything is possible my friend.
The key to changing your relationship to candy is to change your mindset about candy. How exactly do you do this?
Here are 3 ways to stop feeling stressed and guilty about sweets:
1. Take out candy from the forbidden food stand.
When you limit certain foods or food groups because you feel out of control around them, you’re essentially putting them on a pedestal. You give them this forbidden food charm and power over you.
It’s kind of like when you put a little kid in a room with a million toys and tell him the only toy he can’t have is the blue ball. So guess what game they’ll want to play and fixate on until they can?
As adults, we do the same thing with food. If you tell yourself you can’t have pizza or pasta or candy, guess what foods you’ll be thinking about all the time?
You can also think of it as the “bad boy effect”. There is something attractive about something or someone that we thought was bad for us. If you think candy is bad, you may find you want it even more.
If you want a healthier relationship with candy, take it off the pedestal. Begin to see it as morally neutral. Give yourself permission to enjoy it guilt-free.
Tune into your body and notice if you enjoy sweets as much as you convinced yourself you did. Notice how the candies make you feel, mentally and physically.
Start making choices around sweets from a place of coordination, rather than a place of rules and restrictions.
2. Keep candy in the house outside of Halloween.
An important part of making peace with food (even sweets) is allowing yourself to eat it. I talk unconditionally permission.
This isn’t just a holiday around Halloween. This isn’t a day off unless you were “good” the rest of the day. This is not time off if you worked that day.
This is a license, regardless of the circumstances.
When you restrict food, you create a scarcity mindset around it. Your brain only thinks about that food, and when you finally have access to it, you feel out of control, maybe you binge, and then you convince yourself that you can’t be trusted around it, and the restriction starts again.
But it’s the restriction of food that leads to binge eating or feeling out of control, not the food itself.
Research shows that this is true. When people diet, the pleasure centers in their brain light up even more in response to foods that were off-limits compared to non-restrictors. It’s no wonder you feel out of control about the foods you’ve been avoiding.
If you only give yourself permission to have candy once a year, you can bet on a last supper effect (ie I have to eat it all now because I don’t know when I’ll eat it again). Allowing yourself to have candy in the house outside of exactly Halloween time can help neutralize the morality around it.
It can also help your brain switch from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset, helping it realize that you have access to candy whenever you want it, not just this one time every year.
3. Be careful with the language you use.
The language we use around or towards food can influence our beliefs and feelings about food. If you have children at home, they will pick up on the language you use for food.
If you say “candy is full of junk” you will believe that candy is junk.
If you say, “I’m so bad for eating this,” your kids will think candy is bad.
If you say “we don’t keep candy in our house” you create a scarcity mentality around it.
Instead, try saying phrases like:
“Candy is just candy, it’s neither good nor bad. As an apple is an apple – it is neither good nor bad.’
“How does candy make me feel?” (Or to a child, “how does your tummy feel after eating candy?”)
“All food serves a purpose. Candy makes me happy.”
“I can have sweets any time of the year. Not just today.”
Are these tips helpful? What would you add to this list? Please leave a comment below and let me know!
For more handy food blog posts, check out below!
5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Easier
6 Tips to make cooking easier
6 ways to find more enjoyment in food
Is food addiction a real thing?
The Beginner’s Guide to Intuitive Eating