Are you going Trick-or-Treating with your kids this Halloween or staying home to hand out candy to the neighborhood ghosts and goblins? Either way, you will be surrounded by candy. If you are trying to eat healthier and lose some weight, you might find yourself feeling guilty if you “cheat” and have some candy.
Why not try something different this Halloween (or anytime)? Eat what you want and stop thinking of it as cheating – just do it mindfully and take responsibility for your choices.
Here are a few steps you can take to make healthy eating choices on Halloween and every day.
- Give yourself permission to some candy. If you don’t, you may find yourself overeating because you don’t want to feel deprived. Restricting yourself from certain foods may also keep you craving them whether you’re hungry or not.
- Focus while you eat. Instead of unconsciously popping candy into your mouth as you go about the day, STOP to enjoy it. Take a moment to sit down and JUST EAT your candy; don’t do anything else. Make it a special fun event.
- Savor the flavor. Engage your sense of smell and taste to fully enjoy your treat. Appreciate the delicious smell before you take a bite. Then as you bite into the candy, notice the texture — is it soft or hard, chewy, or crunchy? Take your time and let it melt in your mouth a bit before you start chewing. Move it around your mouth to let all your taste buds get in on the action.
- Reflect for a moment.Once you finish, take some time to think about the experience. Was it as good as you imagined it would be? Did you thoroughly enjoy it? Do you feel satisfied and happy or guilty and worried about the calories? The latter likely means that you weren’t able to fully enjoy the candy and you may be stuck in “diet mentality” thinking. With time and practice, you can move beyond this.
- Decide what’s next. Practice the 4 Really Rule. It’s not actually a rule, just more of a helpful tip. Ask yourself, Do I really (really, really, really) want more candy? If so, repeat these steps.
Does the idea of eating whatever you want scare you? Are you afraid that all you will eat is junk food –chips, cookies, and ice cream? If you’ve dieted for a long time, this way of thinking is understandable. Just know that with practice, mindful eating will become more natural. When you use your internal cues for hunger, appetite, and satiety to guide you in eating, you end up eating just the right amount and kind of food to truly nourish your body.
Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD
If you are ready to QUIT DIETING and would like to learn more about MINDFUL EATING as a way to get to your natural healthy weight, click here to contact me. Let’s start with a conversation!