Eating candy is the best thing about Halloween. But it’s also sort of the worst.
The chance to indulge in some seriously sugary deliciousness only comes around so often. If you’re like me and have struggled with weight, you try your best not to embrace sinful sugars too often. But Halloween — which serves as a precursor to the high calories you’ll soon consume throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas season — throws all preconceived notions about eating healthy out the window.
But I am here to tell you that there is a way to eat Halloween candy when you’re on a diet, or if you’re just trying to eat healthy. It’s a little different, but stick with me.
My weight has always given me trouble. I don’t remember where it all went wrong, but I do have the stark memory of wearing 320 lbs around my senior year of high school. Accordingly, I never felt good about myself when eating Halloween candy. It looked a lot more like guilt.
Since that time, I’ve gone up and down with weight. Dropped to 280, then 260, then 212, then back to 248. I had enough when I weighed myself last Christmas and saw I was at 242. I went to work throughout the year and reached 195 earlier this month. Today, I weigh a clean 197.
Now I face the toughest challenge — the holidays. Halloween (which is only six days after my birthday, another sugar fest, what with cake and all) has arrived in its scary form. Ghostly white chocolate candy bars, dark as night Hershey’s bars and heart-stopping Reese’s give me nightmares. How can I risk all of the weight loss I’ve had just for a bite of candy?
Well, look, here’s the thing: Don’t cut yourself short when it comes to Halloween. Don’t purposefully stay away from every bit of candy. If you do that, you’re going to feel bad, which goes against the point of losing weight in the first place: Anyone who loses weight wants to better themselves. They want to develop and grow into something stronger, healthier, happier. Restricting yourself from eating candy will only bring stormy weather to what should be sunshine-filled skies.
So how do you do it? I mean, you can’t just go and gorge on all the candy you want. That’s silly. Your calorie limit will be busted within a few hours.
Moderation is key. If you’re going to eat candy on Halloween, make sure that Halloween is the only day you’re going to eat eat a boatload of it. Save all of your calories and points and cheating for that day.
But let yourself go on Halloween. Give yourself a chance to be free. You have 364 other says in the year to diet (OK, maybe it’s more like 360 with all the holidays coming up). Don’t make yourself feel uncomfortable with your own body by neglecting to embrace what you want to have. Life’s for living, isn’t it? You’re not some undead zombie (or are you?).
And let’s be real — you’ll gobble up hundreds of calories. One or two chocolate bars will send you into a sugar rush. Another handful and you’ll be carried off into a sugar coma, too. But then the next day, take a break and go right back to what you did before. Go on a run if you want to burn those extra calories. Slip right back into the routine that helped you lose weight.
Many people who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight will tell you that everything comes in moderation. Losing weight in itself is the same. One pound here, two pounds there, it’s all a moderate, slow burn. Take that mentality with you throughout the year. But spend this one day and murder your diet. Go full boar. And then, tomorrow, bring it back to life.
I’m not saying you have to gorge on chocolate. I don’t want to encourage people who are doing well to suddenly break their traditions and start gaining weight again. But at least keep the mentality that you can have candy if you want it. Don’t ban it. Don’t lock it in a safe and throw away the key. Leave it open. Allow for the possibility. It’s there if you need it. You’ll feel better if you do that.
Every journey has a wayward moment. Let this one be yours. Don’t let it destroy your ride forever. Reward yourself for the hard work. Allow yourself a brief moment of excitement.
Progress is a process. You’ll screw up. No matter what you do, problems will arise. In anything you do, there’s always a Halloween — something that will try to disrupt your patterns. But if you’re going to run into trouble, at least make sure it’s a set of problems you can control.
Life’s short. Eat the chocolate.