Holidays are often problematic for people.
They almost always involve a lot of food and goodies.
Halloween can be one of the worst. Your house has an enormous bag of delicious candy sitting there for weeks before the holiday, because you’re a planner. And it’s not the cheap candy. It’s the good stuff, because you’re a good person. And every time you’re bored, stressed, or both, you grab a few pieces to deal with how you’re feeling, because…just because, I don’t need a reason!
And then, just when it’s time for all those adorable little monsters in your neighborhood to come to your door and finally take all that candy away, your own adorable little monsters go to others peoples houses and bring back more candy than you started with.
So…what do you do?
Give Yourself Permission
First off, let’s be honest. Eating a few pieces of candy for a few days is going to have very minimal, if any, negative effects on your progress.
“But I can’t just eat one or two!”
(If you really can’t stop with a few pieces of candy, there’s a good chance that you’re using it as a coping skill. Common, but problematic. If that’s the case, it’s worth diving into your habits and behaviors. Coping skills can be pretty damaging to your progress. Developing healthier ones is critical. If that’s you, let’s talk.)
Oftentimes, we can’t stop with a few pieces of candy because we’re stuck in this “all-or-none” mindset. If we have one piece, well we’ve already screwed everything up, so we might as well eat the whole bag! That’s where giving yourself permission comes in. We tend to crave the things we can’t have. You know how in TV shows the parents forbid their daughter from dating the “bad boy”, and then all the daughter wants to do is date him? It’s like that, but the bad boy is candy. And not bad. And you’re the parents. And you’re also the daughter.
OK, so it wasn’t the best example, but you get the idea.
This is where most diets fall apart. We say we can’t have certain foods, which makes those foods instantly more attractive. Then when we finally give in (because restriction sucks) we feel like we’ve failed because we did something we weren’t “supposed” to do.
I’m sure it does. Because most of us have been there more times than we would like to admit.
I don’t want to get sidetracked from the point of this post (surviving Halloween), but the truth is that the way you survive Halloween is the same way you survive every day. By chilling out, and giving yourself permission to eat what you want.
A funny thing happens when you do that. You tend to crave the foods you’d like to eat less of a lot less than you normally would. You take the power away from those foods, and put it back in your own hands. Where it belongs.
It seems simple. But that’s a good thing. All too often, complex approaches leave us tired, frustrated and no further along than when we started. So let’s try simple.
After the trick-or-treating is done, and your kids are in bed, and you hear the sweet siren song of that big ol’ pile of candy…tell yourself, “I can have it if I want to.” This means there’s no guilt if you do, and there’s no white-knuckling it if you don’t.
You just might be surprised at how easy it is to just have a few pieces, or even none at all.