For many, Halloween is the start of the slippery slope of the holiday season overindulging. Giving in to the temptations of Halloween candy activates areas of the brain to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine (master switch of food addiction) that can drive us drive us to overeat through New Year’s.
Here are 7 strategies to help you survive the Halloween Holiday by reducing temptations to consume excess calories from candy:
1. If your giving out candy for “Trick or Treat”, do not purchase it on an empty stomach or have someone else do the shopping if you are tempted to over purchase.
2. Don’t purchase candy you like, purchase candy you do not like; Trick or Treaters are not that selective and it makes it easier to give leftovers away.
3. Not sure how many “Trick or Treaters will stop by; purchase smaller bags, don’t open bags unless needed. If you purchase candy that does not have a Halloween theme label, returning unopened packages is much easier
4. Don’t go through a “Trick or Treaters” candy bag to sneak some of your favorite treats. If children see adults helping themselves to “their” candy, they can develop a scarcity mind set (can never have enough, or hording mentality for what they have access to or eat it before others do) and this can stay with them for life. It also sets a bad example if children see adults scooping up candy – if adults eat it, it must be good.
5. Re-evaluate your belief system about Halloween – do you believe: Halloween is just as much about adults getting their share of their favorite candy as it is for children enjoying their Trick or Treat rewards; that it’s only one time a year so why not indulge; or that all chocolate is good for you.
6. Be cautions of tempting new holiday candy products, and marketing, read the labels carefully. For example, Hershey’s Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup now comes in a 1 pound package (2 1/2 pound bars) gift package. The marketing message on Hershey’s promo page states “A whole pound of chocolate nirvana in two giant-sized cups”. The message also suggests “Incorporate them into strength training programs.” The entire package yields 2,280 calories 132 grams fat and 240 grams sugar (1.25 cups sugar) and the bars are not scored so it’s your guess what a portion looks like. Click here to see this behemoth.
7. If you are compelled to “fill” the candy dish at work or get your supply of candy from it, consider this:
o If you become the self appointed workplace candy dish filler, chances are you will fill it with your favorite candy and consume your equal, if not more than, share – why not, it’s your candy.
o Having a community candy dish can encourages or temp others to join into a less then health promoting habit, and when everyone else is engaged in habit it becomes an acceptable office social norm, no matter what the outcome … potential excess calorie and or sugar consumption.
o Even someone who has a new healthy mindset and has started to develop healthy eating routines can be tempted (a kind a of counter conditioning) because unlike being at home where they can exercise stimulus control (not having candy in the house to stimulate the be tempted to eat candy), the temptation can just be overwhelming.
o Throw in a few (non chocolate containing) granola bars on top. When someone sees a granola bar they think twice (they become mindful), chances you have to buy less candy and less will be consumed.
o Don’t fill the dish to the op. People who see a dish half filled think twice about taking the remaining few perceived “picked over” candy.
o People will take more from a clear candy dish than solid color dish.
o Use hard candy (individually wrapped for food safety) and avoid chocolate which is the first to go.
o Use a candy dish with a lid – this actually deters some individuals from overeating candy from a dish.
o The more distant and out of site the candy, the less candy eaten.
o Whether you have your own candy dish or there is an office dish, proximity/accessibility as to where the dish is place could result in a gain of 12 pounds per year – Click here to see a video that explains why.
If someone feels compelled to enjoy their candy fix or it becomes a fixation, the simple answer may be to avoid feelings of being deprived and have some. The key is to choose wisely, read labels and be mindful of portions … there is room for all foods in the diet if planned.
Click here and try the mindful Hershey kiss mindful eating experience. Click here to learn more about mindless eating.
The Internet is abound with non candy Halloween treats and options for candy with less sugar and calories (sugar free, mini portions, dark chocolate, etc.) if this is a desired option.
Sources: Mindless Eating, B3Nutrition.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6oJF9Hwj2M, http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2014/09/new-wansink-book-turns-back-mindless-eating, http://mindlesseating.org/, https://www.hersheys.com/reeses/products/reeses-peanut-butter-cups/1lb.aspx, http://askinyourface.com/2010/02/02/the-hershey-kiss-experience/
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical/nutritional/fitness advice. Information presented is subject to change as additional discoveries are made or additional research is published. Links to various sites within blogs are provided for your convenience only and we are not responsible or liable for the content, accuracy of information provided or privacy practices of linked sites or for products or services described on these sites.