This time of year can induce feelings of dread; the taunting of the treats in the cupboard, the overage at the end of the night when not enough kids came by, the guilt about the carnage of shiny wrappers in the trash bin.
Halloween doesn’t need to be so frightful. There are ways we can approach these sugar filled holidays gently and joyfully.
Here are my 3 tips for shifting your relationship with sugary delights:
Our past shame-filled eating escapades have left us telling a story that we can’t be trusted with anything sweet. What usually results is a promise to ourselves of absolutely none. That’s when the battle begins. We feel the restriction and deprivation and the rebel in us rears up its head. If the rebel wins we go wild and don’t just have one or two but instead have the whole bag.
What if we don’t let the rebel enter the scene. What if we stop making such a villain out of treats. What if instead we told ourselves that we could have something sweet if we want to trusting ourselves to do so in a way that is balanced, peaceful and healthy.
You may be thinking that if you did that you would lose all control…In my work with clients I find the opposite is true. When they give themselves permission they become empowered. Then they drop the drama and connect with their bodies more fully and tend to make better choices.
The important thing here it to become really clear about when it is emotional eating and when it is simply pleasure eating. This is where it is really important to have done the work to understand your emotional dynamics and your particular relationship with food.
This is also where having a connected and loving relationship with your body helps. When we respect our body we bring it into the encounter. We remember our obligation to take care of our body and are in a much better position to be moderate with what we are consuming.
My next suggestion is that you use the power of presence. If you are going to experience something for pleasure then really show up for it. Taste it, enjoy it, be mindful. Make yourself the promise that this Halloween you will only eat a treat if you do so as a mindful eating practice.
So often when we are eating something off our ‘no’ list we eat it in a blur, we want it gone so fast so that we don’t remind ourselves we are doing it. This makes about as much sense as deciding we really want to hear a particular song, searching it out on iTunes and then putting earplugs in the minute it begins to play. One you decide to enjoy something allow yourself we really experience it.
Eating mindfully had the added benefit of connecting you more deeply with the moment, your emotions and your body. This is supported by many research studies that have proven that mindful eating reduces the incidence of binge eating.
Food is for nourishing our bodies, yes, but it is also for nourishing our senses. We live in a world where we have access to delighting our taste buds with confections made just for pleasure. When we tell ourselves that it’s for them – the lucky ones, the thin ones and not ever for us we can’t help but enter into a war with our will power.
If you really like a particular food then allow yourself the pleasure, but ensure that the experience is really pleasurable. So often when we find ourselves eating something sweet it can be done so smothered in guilt and shame. What’s pleasurable about that? If your going to let yourself have something you think is delicious then HAVE IT. Enjoy it. Delight in it.
Make sure it is something you really love and especially make sure your body feels good while eating it. If your tummy is full when you eat it then you are not fully experiencing pleasure, you are likely feeling sick. Check in with your hunger scale and eat it at a time when your belly is neutral and you can simply enjoy it.
There you have it. My 3 tricks for enjoying the treats without overdoing it and without fighting every step of the way. Life is too short to expend so much energy on battling one of life’s greatest joys – eating…there are so many bigger things to worry about.
Happy Halloween all!
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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24532534@N02/5141828882″>My jack-o-lantern</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>