Food and Fear: Taking the Fright out of Halloween Treats

For disordered eaters, the fear of Halloween candy is far more terrifying than horror movies, haunted houses and ghoulish costumes. Let’s be honest – we often fear all major holidays because of the food involved, but it seems especially hard on Halloween!
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At least on a feasting holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’re surrounded by others who are also overindulging, so there’s probably a little less shame. But on Halloween, we often find ourselves alone and secretly binging on candy or stealing the kids’ candy – either that or grazing on it constantly in the days after … and then we feel even more ashamed than usual. This kind of shame is powerful, overwhelming and even debilitating.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! In fact, this great fear of Halloween candy just increases the chances of a HUGE binge. So, with Halloween only a couple days away, here are my tips for you on how to survive this week:

  1. Ditch the fear and worry. Halloween will come whether you want it to or not. Remind yourself that fear and worry will not help – they will, in fact, make it worse.
  2. Make a plan. If you are working with a dietitian, nutritionist, or medical professional, talk to them and make a plan (especially if you have serious health conditions*). Otherwise, make your own plan. One option would be to allow yourself to have some candy with NO guilt. You determine the amount. Do not try to compensate by restricting before or after or by overexercising. Just have some and be done with it.
    Note: If you aren’t yet comfortable eating candy at all, then plan to treat yourself in another way. This treat could be another food treat that you feel is “safer,” or it might be unrelated to food – a spa treatment, perhaps! Allow yourself to choose something that makes you excited and happy with no guilt.
  3. Have fun with other people. Go out to a party, take your kids trick or treating, or go see a scary movie. If you’re stuck with a mass of homework or housework, try to make it fun or treat yourself at some point during the evening. Remember,eating disorders thrive on isolation.
  4. If you end up overeating or binging, forgive yourself immediately and move on. It’s not worth feeling guilty about. It’s just not. It’ll make you 10 times more likely to binge again the next day, and then the whole weekend. One binge doesn’t have to turn into 10 binges.

* As always, consult a medical professional if you have a serious health condition.

And there you have it – my tips for dealing with Halloween. I hope you find yourself enjoying Halloween and maybe even enjoying some treats. J So, tell me. How do YOU plan to spend Halloween this year?

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4 thoughts on “Food and Fear: Taking the Fright out of Halloween Treats

  1. Thanks for this!!! All holidays stress me out honestly and this time of year is the worst. I was just thinking about that earlier. but your postings always have a way of calming me down so thanks! =)

  2. “Eating disorders thrive on isolation” is so key for me to remember right now. I am often home alone in the evenings, giving me the perfect opportunity to stew in my emotions or to binge eat my emotions away. It is good to remember to get out of the house sometimes. Great tips! Shared. 🙂

    • So true! I need to get out more too. I work from home, so I’m home pretty much ALL the time. Thinking about taking my work to a coffee shop or library sometimes, just to get out more. And thanks for sharing. 🙂

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