We sent this out last year (if you want to receive our free e-newsletter, you can sign up here), but there are probably people who haven’t seen it before and/or people who would benefit from reading it again! Here are some Halloween-specific strategies that will help you stick to your plan this October 31st and the days surrounding it.
Remember: Candy is available year-round! Dieters tend to load up and eat lots of candy on Halloween, saying to themselves, “Well, it only occurs once a year.” That’s true, but Halloween is once a year, every year, and candy is available every day of the year. Drug stores and supermarkets sell fun-sized candy bars year-round, so you don’t need to load up now. You can buy candy any time.
Don’t buy candy until you need it. This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but it’s an important one. Many people buy Halloween candy a few weeks in advance, perhaps rationalizing that “it will be good to have that task over with,” “I won’t have to worry about stores running out,” and “I can get the candy on sale.” And then what usually happens? They end up eating some (or all) of it before the big day. Even when dieters are able to wait to break into the candy until Halloween itself, it can be a daily struggle to resist. There is a very simple solution to this problem: Don’t purchase candy in advance. Even if it adds a small amount of cost or an additional chore on your already busy October 31st, isn’t it worth not having to worry about giving in and expending the mental energy to resist until it’s time?
Buy candy that you don’t like so much in bulk and just a single serving of your favorite candy. You’ll obviously have the most trouble resisting your favorite candy, so buy candy in bulk that you don’t enjoy as much—you’ll have an easier time resisting it, and when Halloween is over, it will probably be easier for you to throw away the leftovers, give them away, or donate them. You can and should buy a single-serving of the candy you like the most. This way, you’ll be able to savor your favorite candy without worrying about having to stop yourself from going back for more.
Remember, the Halloween experience lasts for longer than one day. Even though the holiday itself is just a day, it is highly likely that you will come in contact with Halloween treats on the days leading up to and following October 31st. Be on the lookout for the common sabotaging thought, “I’m going to eat a lot of extra candy on Halloween, but it’s okay because it’s only one day.” This thought does not take into account the candy that you come in contact with before Halloween, the candy you might have left over, the candy in your office kitchen, at your friends’ homes, and at the parties and events you attend, before and after October 31st. If you’re making a plan for Halloween, it’s important to factor in the days before and after, too.
Get rid of left overs! If extra candy is in your house, you’re likely to be tempted to eat it at some point. If you want to avoid having to resist leftovers, there are plenty of ways to get rid of them. Give them away, donate them, bring them in to work, or simply throw them away. If you have the sabotaging thought, “I can’t throw the candy away because it would be a waste of money,” remind yourself, “Either way the money is already gone. Eating the candy won’t bring it back.” One way or another, if you can limit your amount of exposure to leftover candy, you’ll make it so much easier on yourself. And if your kids go trick-or-treating, it’s also a good idea to immediately get rid of the candy they don’t like or can’t eat. If you keep it around, you may end up eating it or struggling to resist it. Remember, even though it may cost you a bit, in the long-run, you’ll probably end up saving yourself thousands of calories by getting rid of extra Halloween candy and instead buying yourself a single serving of your favorite candy that you’ve planned to eat. This will help guarantee that you enjoy your favorite treat, when you really want it, and without the guilt.