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Candy is the least spooky thing about Halloween

Halloween is one of those holidays that involves a lot of yummy candies and fall treats. I mean the whole holiday is based around dressing up in fun costumes, saying “trick or treat” and collecting as much candy as possible. It seems like everywhere you turn right now, there is a bowl of festive candies sitting out. Now instead of holding yourself back, I want you to allow yourself to take a piece or two or three and enjoy every bite. Holding ourselves back from food like candy, can cause us to crave it even more and may lead to a binge of it later on. So… let’s all practice how to have a judgment free Halloween this year!

In order to have a judgment free Halloween there are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Candy is not “bad”

  • Allow yourself to indulge

  • Practice mindful eating

  • Respect your body

Candy is NOT “bad”

Food should not be labeled as “good” or “bad” because food isn’t just black and white. All food provides fuel to our bodies, whether it's an apple or a piece of chocolate. At Balanced Nutrition we practice a “Health at Every Size” (HAES) approach. (To learn more about what that means you can click here to read a recent blog post about it.) So, here at Balanced we believe that food is food, no matter what it is- and that includes candy! Candy should be enjoyed by everyone, and not just around the holidays. If your body is craving a piece of candy you should listen and enjoy it! And that doesn’t mean you need to work out after to ‘burn off the calories’ or eat more vegetables later to make up for it. It is more than okay to just enjoy your candy and move on with your day. If you struggle with placing morality on foods, bring this up in your next session, feel free to bring a piece of candy too (or whatever food is challenging for you) and process it with your dietitian.

Allow yourself to indulge

Allowing yourself to indulge in things like candy is important! Yup, that’s right I said it’s important. If we restrict foods like candy and desserts, we are going to crave these foods more and more. This could lead us to possibly over-indulge on that food later, or just leave us feeling left out and unsatisfied. It’s nearly impossible to avoid these foods, especially when there’s a holiday coming up, so allow yourself to indulge in some of your favorite treats! Not only will it give you satisfaction, but it will also be fun to enjoy these yummy treats with friends and family. It’s also helpful for people who may struggle with disordered eating to see others enjoying their favorite treat without feeling the need to make up for it later. It can teach those individuals that sugar is not bad, it’s just sugar and it is more than okay to eat it.

Practice mindful eating

What is mindful eating? Mindful eating means that you are in the moment while eating.

It means you are leaning into what your body is telling you by focusing on your cues, thoughts and feelings. The alternative is leaning into distractions which can make it challenging for you to have this conversation with your body and mind. Being mindful of how the food tastes, your satisfaction level and your fullness are all a part of mindful eating. So, how do I practice this with candy? If you are craving that Reese’s pumpkin (my favorite candy), then take it out of the wrapper, embrace how it looks, your reaction to seeing it out of the package, take a bite and really acknowledge the texture and how it tastes. After finishing, ask yourself if you are satisfied. If yes, then great! If not, then ask yourself what you can do to reach that satisfaction. Being mindful while eating allows us to connect with our body and avoid overindulging.

Respect your body

Our bodies are amazing. They allow us to run, jump, read, teach, speak, sleep, eat and so much more. Our bodies are our homes. They are unique to each and every one of us, which also means that you should not be comparing your ‘home’ to someone else’s. Body image is hard for a lot of us, especially because of social media. But it is important to remember that not everyone is built the same. Everyone of us has a different genetic makeup. Even if I ate the same exact diet as the person next to me, that does NOT mean we will look the same or even close to the same as each other. I know it may be hard to find that self-love that so many people preach about, but what is important is body neutrality. Realizing that you were given this body and your body deserves your respect. And if your body is telling you it wants some skittles, then treat it to some skittles. After all our bodies do for us the least we can do is to feed it and satisfy cravings.

-Devon Giunta, Dietetic Intern with Cedar Crest College


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