Oh Halloween! While Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season, I believe that the emotional eating and overindulging actually starts with Halloween. All of the cookies and candies that come with Halloween are a treat and a trick. Many people started buying Halloween candy as soon as it was available about four weeks ago. What do you do with a surplus of candy knowing that those little trick or treaters won’t be knocking at your door for days or weeks? You eat it, of course. Yesterday, I realized how much things have changed for me over the years. 4 or 5 years ago when I was in the throes of my food addiction, I would have relished having a half eaten bag of Almond Joys in my house. I would have probably hid them from my husband to hoard them all for myself. On top of eating a vast amount of food for dinner, I would have treated myself to candy each and every time I answered the door and finished the rest over the next day or two. I would have saved all of the best pieces for myself and I would have hidden all of the wrappers from my husband. I would have been beating myself up all along the way. I would have shamed myself into working it off at the gym and I would have berated my body for showing the signs of my latest binge eating session.
As I was shopping for candy yesterday, I realized two huge things had changed since I embarked on my journey to heal from emotional eating and food addiction 4 years ago….1) I rarely eat out of emotion these days and when I do, I know exactly what I am doing and why. No one is perfect and if I opt to eat because I am stressed, I don’t allow myself to be shamed. I know where that leads!; and 2) food simply does not have control over me anymore. For many years, I was a passenger in the car of compulsive overeating. The vast majority of people would have had no idea what I was dealing with because I hid it well. I know that I am now driving the car and the freedom from food addiction feels great!
Yesterday, I decided to choose a bag of candy big enough to last through the night, but I made a very thoughtful decision about which bag to buy. I opted for the mix without anything that would tempt me. In my neighborhood, the amount of trick or treaters we get can vary wildly from year to year, so I am often left with a large amount the next day. Although I have done a lot of work on my emotional eating patterns, I didn’t want to be stuck with a huge bag of candy that might be a trigger for me. That is also part of my journey. No matter how far I have come, I am thoughtful about relapse prevention. I guess my point in all of this is to let you know that no matter how far gone you feel, there is hope. Healing is a process and sometimes we need to look back to where we were to see how far we have come. Beginning this journey starts with one step. All of those steps lead to big leaps. If you are hurting because of your relationship with food, you are taking the first step right now by reading this article.
Incidentally, some of the kids didn’t seem to want my candy either! If only as adults we could be as thoughtful about what we eat!!