sharing my best piece of advice if halloween candy makes you feel anxious.
For many, the holiday season brings both feelings of excitement and anxiety. I certainly felt those dual emotions when I was mixed up in diet culture and disordered eating.
Halloween in particular (which, once you’ve aged out of trick-or-treating really becomes about sitting at home with a big bowl of candy waiting for trick or treaters to come!) used to bring me a lot of anxiety.
The whole night became about nothing more than fighting the urge to eat candy (which, in turn, lead to an anxiety-filled obsession with the candy). Ultimately, my resolve would break and I would decide to eat “just one” but one always became two, two became three and so on, until I had consumed well past the point of comfortable fullness.
I would ultimately wake up the next morning feeling like a failure, as if something were innately wrong with me or I was broken in some way because I couldn’t just enjoy a few pieces of candy like everyone else.
It took a lot of time and healing to realize that I wasn’t broken in some way, nothing was wrong with me and the only thing failing me was diet culture. My anxiety, obsession and out of control feelings around candy was not due the candy itself, but the way that I was thinking about the candy.
I completely fell prey to diet culture’s toxic messaging of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food and the villainization of sugar. As a result, I worked to avoid it completely but the more I tried to avoid it, the more alluring it all became.
It wasn’t until I made peace with food, accepted that there were no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods and learned the importance of habituation that I was able to finally get to a place where Halloween candy didn’t have a vice-like grip over the whole holiday for me.
So, if you’re feeling anxious about Halloween candy, my best piece of advice is not to avoid or restrict it, but rather, allow it. The research is clear that restriction and avoidance (physically or mentally) are big factors in feeling out of control around food and eating past the point of comfort.
Allowance of all foods opens the door to being able to eat the foods you want without guilt, in an amount that feels good, and move on without a second thought.
Now we keep a gigantic bowl of Halloween candy around from the beginning of October well through Halloween. Sometimes I’ll take one here and there, sometimes I’ll take several, but a lot of time, I just kind of forget about it. The power it once had over me dissipated once I simply allowed it.
Other Great Reads:
- The Science Behind Your Halloween Candy Binge (And How to Prevent It)
- The Way Parents Talk About Halloween Candy is A Harmful, Toxic Mess
- Don’t Be Scared of Halloween Candy + Kids (The Appetite podcast episode)
- The Sticky Topic of Halloween Candy
- How This Dietitian Handles Halloween Candy
- “Can I Make My Kids Halloween Candy Disappear?” (Burnt Toast podcast episode)