Breaking Up with the CANDY GUILT
Ok, truth, I hate Halloween. Maybe hate is strong word, but I do not enjoy it. I used to before mom life happened. For some reason having kids, which usually brings more magic to all the holidays makes Halloween worse not better. I know that seems so Scrooge of me but bear with me it makes sense.
If all I had to do was put a costume on my kid instead of doing hair and makeup for THREE girls, three times a week for the three weeks leading up to the holiday maybe I’d feel differently. It’s like 27 trips to the salon! Maybe 27 times is an exaggeration, but it is exactly 26 more times than I get to go to a salon in a year. That’s a lot of make-up remover.
I know that makes me sound like a horribly-lame mom, BUT I usually redeem myself with Christmas.
Now, I am not a total Scrooge because I cannot cast this holiday completely aside. Without it there would be no Reese’s Pumpkins, which would mean no satisfaction in mid-autumn life, which is my favorite season.
Over exaggeration, maybe, but they are that good to me!
Those perfectly radioed, Peanut Butter to chocolate goodness, are a good segue into why I am writing this post.
It may only seem relevant to this holiday, but I use these practices throughout the entire holiday season. While baked goods are not as easily accessible as candy is in the drawer, the craving for sugar and all its glory remains.
I totally understand the weakness behind sugar. It is my trigger food and my weakness. It can trigger negative thoughts and behaviors in me when I allow it to take control and I “throw in the towel.”
Yes, even I still have those feelings! I do not want you to believe that I am perfect, or that I do not struggle with food. I am human and food comfort to me. I will however show you that it is possible to develop a healthy relationship with your trigger foods and allow them into your life regularly.
I ramble, so back to CANDY.
I understand that today (Halloween) candy is sitting right there in front of you, staring at you like it is the only thing that will enable you to get through evening of ghouls and princesses. It shines bright with its pretty wrappers and enticing smell.
BUT just because it possesses all these qualities does not mean you lose your ability to CHOOSE.
You are the only person between you and the drawer of candy.
You are the only person that tells yourself that eating it is a bad choice.
You are the only one who labels yourself as “uncontrollable” or “horrible” if you choose to indulge.
So, what are you going to do about it?
You are going to focus on your ability to choose for yourself and take ownership of whatever your decision may be. Easier said than done, I totally get that, but I have listed some ways I feel will help make it easier.
Practice conscious thought. This is where ownership of your choices comes in. When you consume the trigger food (in this case the candy) ask yourself questions like:
Are you going to immediately regret it?
Is it allowing you to follow your goals?
Is it an urge or a reward?
Will you have time to savor it?
It only takes a quick second to determine the answer to any one of these questions and it can make a HUGE difference in what you choose to do.
This in no way means I am implying that eating the candy is a bad/wrong choice. It is all about how you respond. For example, the question “Is it an urge or a reward?’ I can respond with “urge” and know that if I were to indulge I would more than likely be sacrificing something else later, or attach guilt to eating it. If I responded “reward” I know I am allowing myself to indulge and am consciously eating to feel satisfaction, not guilt. This one takes practice but is one of the most rewarding habits when it comes to establishing positive eating behaviors.
Have alternatives prepared. For me the candy can turn into “pop and go.” Meaning I just grab one, pop it in my mouth at any time, then repeat throughout the day. This is a very common behavior and is where a lack of conscious thought comes into play.
To help control this I don’t eliminate the behavior but rather change what I am eating. I know for me personally if I change the one fun size candy bar for a FitCrunch Protein bar (they taste like a candy bar!) I am satisfied the same but eventually I am wanting more.
Instead, I will cut the fit crunch bar up into four equal slices and bag it. Now when I “pop and go” I am grabbing a bite size portion of the protein bar instead of the candy bar AND I know I can still have more later. DOUBLE WIN!
Another favorite alternative for me are these PB Balls. I can make a batch of 20 that will get me through the whole week of Halloween. These are still something that needs to be eaten in moderation, but they affect my body and mind in a completely different way than the candy will. I have a sense of satisfaction instead of a consistent need for more.
Set limitations by setting a goal not a restriction. This is a GAME CHANGER. For real! Restrictive mindsets I advocate against because they have the greatest potential to lead you to guilt, shame and rebellion.
To do this, instead of telling yourself you are not going to eat any candy out of fear of failure (whatever that may be to you), set a goal that you will allow yourself a certain number of pieces per day. You have now eliminated the guilt that would be associated with eating a single piece because you have set eating candy as a goal, with limitations.
Again, this refers back to taking ownership of your choices. At the end of the day reassess your behavior and see if you met your goal of say, 2 pieces of candy. You are now holding yourself accountable to a goal YOU set for yourself. You made a promise to yourself that I know you do not want to break. No one wants to be the person that breaks a promise, so don’t do it to yourself!
Eliminate what is second rate. You didn’t spend the money on ALL the candy brought home so don’t worry about throwing “money” in the garbage by throwing away the ones you do not enjoy. Your kids won’t know the difference and you are doing them a favor as well.
So often we eat things just because they are there without even enjoying it. ELIMINATE that behavior be eliminating what is causing it (I am looking at you Twizzlers!) If you wouldn’t buy it for yourself than don’t waste your opportunity just because it is convenient.
The same goes for the plate of holiday treats that is brought to your doorstep. I can not tell you how many plates we get of “Favorite Holiday Treats” every year and half the time there is no peanut butter involved so I toss them.
If you are a neighbor of mine, sorry, but not sorry? Actually, don’t feel too bad, my husband will still eat half of everything you bring over.
In no way does this make me ungrateful for their kind gesture, just now they know to bring something with peanut butter!
If they forget, they will not know what is happening once I close that door and they do not need to; their kind gesture was to think of me and prepare a treat. I don’t have to reciprocate by eating it unless I want to.
Even with all of these practices, simply remember it is your choice! You know yourself, your limitations, your goals and what will work for you right now to achieve them. Do not be afraid to TRUST that!
PS I would love to know what your favorite treat you love to indulge in is! Comment below and SHARE this post with friends!