Halloween is just around the corner and you might be struggling with how you might handle the holiday. Guess what?? It’s one day, and we think you should give yourself full permission to enjoy the festivities. Whether that’s spiked hot apple cider with your neighbors, or a candy bar snuck from your kid’s bucket, it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself to eat a certain way or always tell yourself no when you’d really like to enjoy something sweet. It is all about balance in your life and being mindful about your choices.
Here are our top tips for enjoying a mindful Halloween:
- Reshape Your Inner Dialogue – If you are mentally gearing yourself up to not touch one piece of candy on Halloween, we invite you to reshape your dialogue. Stay in the present moment and try not to be reactive or negative about food choices. Instead of “I am only going to eat ONE piece, or I’ll ruin my diet”, try reshaping your inner dialogue to something like, “I can enjoy sweets in moderation without guilt, and I give myself permission to do so.” Practicing talking to yourself with kindness and allowing yourself to enjoy a sweet or two, can help prevent overeating, mindless eating or even binge eating.
- Do a check in – We always recommend doing a check in with yourself to see where you are on the hunger scale before eating. We also think creating a small moment of pause to discourage reactive or mindless eating can be a really helpful tool. Are you really craving a second piece? If so, go for it!
- Slow Down – When we eat quickly, our brain has to play catch up and the signal that we had something sweet can take a while to get there causing us to keep reaching for the candy bowl. So, eat that piece of candy slowly and really savor it!
- Eat the Dang Candy! – Pretty self-explanatory but we just don’t think you should worry about it too much. In the context of an overall healthy diet, a little candy won’t hurt! The main thing is to make decisions mindfully instead of as a reaction.
So, there you have it! But while we are at it, let’s do a quick recap about sugar and how it effects your body’s metabolism.
P.S Let’s Talk About Sugar
Whether it’s maple syrup, honey, cane sugar, sugar in the raw, or organic coconut sugar, your body reacts to these sugars in much the same way. The glycemic index or load might vary (basically a measure of how quickly a food causes a rise in blood sugar levels), but the concept is the same. In a healthy body, the process looks a little like this:
However, imagine activating this process over and over throughout the day every day. Eventually your liver and muscle cells get full and excess sugar (glucose) gets converted into fat. If the cycle continues, our cells become insulin resistant, meaning that insulin has to knocker harder and harder on the cell wall to get it to accept more glucose. Now, high blood sugar becomes the norm throughout the day and diabetes rears its ugly head
Of course, this process is necessary for energy production and life! But it is important to recognize (and easy to see) that our sugar and carbohydrate laden dietary choices are causes swings in blood sugar throughout the day and insulin resistance, setting us up for metabolic syndrome and eventually Type 2 Diabetes.
Small amounts of sugar are totally fine, especially unprocessed forms like honey, maple syrup and fresh fruit. Just be mindful of your sugar intake and try to keep your added sugar intake to no more than about 24g per day. One teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4g of sugar, so 24g is about 6 teaspoons. To put this into perspective, one 12-oz can of soda contains approximately 40g of sugar. This is equivalent to 10g of sugar!!! So, sugar does add up quickly, be aware and read the labels. Keep in mind, this is ADDED sugar, not natural sugar, although all sugar is important to keep to a minimum, especially per sitting. The sugar you want to be most mindful of when reading labels is the added sugar on top of the natural.
If you are looking to sweeten up your diet on occasion without the added calories or glycemic load, there are a few options available that we approve! For non-caloric sweeteners we really like organic stevia or monk fruit, but definitely recommend staying away from the artificial sweeteners (click here to read more!) However, these are still considered some of the time treats!
The occasional dessert or something with added sugar (cane sugar) can be a part of a healthy nutrient dense diet. Just make sure that sugar laden foods aren’t taking the place of other nutrient rich foods. And in the context of a holiday, we think you should enjoy whatever you like without guilt! Have a safe and happy Halloween!
Some of our favorite healthy-ish Treats:
Remember, it is all about balance and moderation!