Goblins, Witches and Ghouls…oh my! But candy…AHHHHHHHH!
For some, the haunted houses, spooky walks and monsters walking around are the least scary things about Halloween. All of those things are nothing when it comes to candy and treats!
Pumpkin-spiced everything, Apple Cider Donuts, corn on the cob all scream Fall and Halloween. These are some of the things people look forward to most when Autumn is approaching, along with warm cozy sweaters of course. Wouldn’t it stink if all the good and fun things about the season were overshadowed by one’s discomfort with or even fear of food?
The anticipation of the holiday starts on October 1st for some. That anticipation may be excitement for many, but anxiety-wreaking for others. Halloween is known for its spooky aesthetics, but also for the large amounts of candy one can accumulate through our trick-or-treating tradition. Let’s put this in perspective, October 1st hits and anxiety begins to set in with the anticipation of the celebrations prior and up to the date of Halloween. We may make Halloween themed cakes and cookies. Then, we usually have our large bags of assorted candy ready to go at least a few days before the holiday (last minute shopping rush is no fun!). Then, on Halloween day, we finally open the candy if we haven’t gotten into our stash beforehand and we sit by the front door next to a huge bowl full of sweet deliciousness. Sounds awesome, right? Maybe for some, but for someone struggling with an Eating Disorder, there’s nothing pleasant about it!
As the holidays come approaching, beginning with Halloween, we are surrounded with treats, at least in our culture. We have celebrations and gatherings with food as the center. Being surrounded by food for someone with an Eating Disorder can feel as debilitating as putting a person who’s claustrophobic into a coffin (do not try this out!). While there are many reasons for this, and reasons may differ from person to person, I want to focus on some tips on how to survive the spookiest season for those struggling with eating issues!
- Do not alter your normal eating patterns. Assuming you are eating according to what you know you need according to your healthy self (see blog HEALTHY SELF VS ED), do not alter your eating. If you decide that you are going to restrict your food intake so that you can accommodate getting your candy fix, you will likely go overboard with the candy to an extent that no longer is enjoyable leaving you feeling sick and with an overwhelming sense of guilt. On the same note, don’t decide on a “just screw it” type of mindset either and decide that if you’re going to indulge, you might as well go all out. Again, this will not lead you anywhere good and will perpetuate your Eating Disorder.
- Do not compensate your eating or exercise. Do not tell yourself you can only have candy if you work yourself to the bone the next day at the gym. Likewise, don’t say you can’t have candy since you didn’t make it to the gym that day. That’s not to say that you may decide to take out your normal snack and swap it for some candy that day or in the following days. That is ok, but eating some candy in addition to your normal eating also won’t kill you.
- Do not judge. When you label the candy as “bad” in any way, shape or form, you are giving that candy (or insert any other food item here) power. You are giving it power to make you feel awful about yourself. Candy is just candy, something that you can enjoy, something that is meant to be tasty and enjoyable to have. View it as just that.
- Allow yourself to have it. Do not forbid yourself. Allow yourself to have the candy. If you physically need to say it out loud, do it. Say out loud “I am giving myself permission to eat this and to enjoy it.” By forbidding it, again, you are giving the food power. Check out this video.
- Enjoy it. You are reaching for the candy out of a desire to enjoy it. How can you enjoy eating something if you are telling yourself how bad it is or how much you will need to run later to “work it off.” You brought yourself to eat the candy, now enjoy it.
- Forgive yourself and move on. You ate the candy, there’s no benefit to beating yourself up about it. The only thing beating yourself up can do is make you feel bad about yourself, perpetuating your unhealthy relationship with food and your body. Now it’s time to move on. If you over-indulged in the candy, or allowed your Eating Disorder to rule your decisions in any way, learn from it and move on. You don’t deserve to be beaten up about it.
I hope you found these tips helpful so that you can enjoy all the thrills, chills, frights and sweetness that the Halloween season has to offer!
Please share with anyone that you think may find it helpful! If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts, please leave a comment below!
Leave a comment telling me your favorite candy!
I wish you wellness on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!
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Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder