EATING DISORDERS AND HALLOWEEN: POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME!!
I walked into the grocery store 3 months ago, and they were already advertising for Halloween. It seems like retailers and advertisers are afraid that we might forget the date, so in order to tattoo it into our psyche, they bombard us with 3 extra aisles of candy that costs $12.00 a bag.
They are pretty smart, as they know that anybody who buys a bag of candy that big 3 months, 2 months, probably even 1 month or 2 weeks in advance is not going to wait to open it. This means most people buy a few or more of those bags before they scramble out the day before Halloween and buy 4 more, 1/2 of which will not be given out anyway.
This puts a lot of candy in the average adult’s mouth, which isn’t counting all the stuff around work, and everybody else’s Doctors office, post office, and dry cleaner within 1 mile of your crib.
I’m sure if you have little nuggets, it’s worse as they are bringing home stuff from school before The Big Sweet Heist, Oct 31st.
Believe it or not, the candy industry rakes in about 2 billion dollars on Halloween. It’s interesting that, even though our nation took a hit with the economy, candy sales still continue to climb in an uphill direction. This is great news if you are a dentist, but not so great if you are somebody who doesn’t have a healthy relationship with food.
For people with eating disorders, the scariest thing about Halloween isn’t the goblins, ghosts, or ghouls. It’s the massive amounts of intimidating foods practically thrown in your face every time you turn around.
If you struggle with restricting it, it challenges your hunger pains and tests your driven desire to not let anything sweet, salty, or fattening touch your lips.
If you struggle with binging and purging, this is just an “all access pass” to stuff yourself sick.
If you are struggling with Compulsive Overeating/Binge Eating Disorder, you probably feel helpless, and just assume there is no way you will be able to overcome your desire to eat everything that resembles a candy corn, milk dud, or candied apple.
I have gone through most of all of that, and believe me, I know it’s hard.
Most Halloweens I ended up feeling like Violet Beauregarde, aka the girl who turned into a giant blueberry in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
So how are you supposed to survive the Haunted House that is your mind? The parties, the festivities, and the aftermath of cellophane that has given birth in your kitchen cabinet?
Halloween with Eating Disorders
It is possible, and it doesn’t mean locking your jaw shut with a steel trap. You can actually have a happy, fun Halloween, and feel like a kid again.
I promise you it doesn’t require turning into a giant piece of fruit either.
The thing that people don’t realize regardless of if they have an eating disorder or not, is that large quantities of food make us psychologically more likely to eat more. Studies have shown that individuals who were given a giant bowl of candy ate twice as much as when they were given individual pieces.
Also, eating candy or other foods while distracted by the television, engaged in conversation, or working on a project caused people to eat quite a lot more. When you are paying attention to your food and really concentrating on the way it tastes, the textures, colors etc, it causes you to be more mindful of what’s going in your mouth, and making you enjoy it a lot more.
The season also gives way to an “it’s forbidden”, or “it’s more allowed” attitude because it’s a Holiday.
Holiday’s are not just about food. They are about an event, the people you are with, and the experience of the moment. I myself find it’s not so much about what is on the table, but rather who is at your table.
Finally, it’s really important to examine the feeling behind why you eat something or don’t eat something.
Overeating and undereating are signs of much deeper feelings, and signify that you may need to look into the reasons behind them.
Otherwise the Trick to having your Treats is to remember you can have anything and everything you want, just not all at one time. Moderation whether it be Halloween candy, or the money you spend on it is the key.
Each day pick a portion of something you really like and enjoy it.
Treat the day of Halloween no differently, and concentrate more on your costume for that great weekend party, or the experience of taking your children out around the neighborhood.
So next time the Candyman comes knocking at your door, don’t chase him away or wrestle him to the ground and rob him blind, but rather invite him inside for a nice little chat!
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