Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy (?) Halloween

Is Halloween happy at your house? Is your home filled with the scents of fall? Are there bright orange pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns and festive autumnal gourds on your porches? Do you revel in the coolness of the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot as you take your costume-clad children trick-or-treating? Or is this devilish holiday your worst dieting nightmare?

In the past, Halloween was my excuse to bake treats... lots and lots of them. Pumpkin muffins, spider cookies, and of course the obligatory chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting. As a matter of fact, the entire month of October was dedicated to making, buying, and eating as many sugary foods as possible. I would stock up with bags and bags of Halloween candy "for the trick or treaters" and then quietly eat every last morsel myself before sneaking back to the store to replace the goodies. I would do this once or twice a week until October 31! And yes, I always spent extra to buy those huge bags of little, individually wrapped candies. After all, I had to keep up the appearance of a mother buying candy for the neighborhood children. If I bought what I REALLY wanted.... ten boxes of king size Reece's cups and a case of those huge Cadbury chocolate bars... then everyone would know I was NOT buying them to hand out, but rather, to eat. Halloween made it so easy to buy huge amounts of candy without anyone blinking an eye, or thinking, "look at that huge woman buying all that candy! She will probably eat it all in the car on the way home!" Yes, I had a cover for an entire month, and I was going to use it.

And that's not all. It was not enough for me to go through 20 pounds of bagged candy myself, leaving enough mini M&M and baby Snicker wrappers behind the couch to fill 3 trash bags. I could hardly WAIT until my kids came home with their bags of candy!!!! I would send them out trick or treating, and when they would return they would all sit on the living room floor and dump out their huge sacks so I could "inspect" the candy. "Oh, this one looks like it might have been tampered with." "Gee honey, this one has an open wrapper, you shouldn't eat it." "Oh too bad this Reece's cup has a rip in the wrapper." "That Mars bar is past its sell by date, you can't eat that!" (Note that none of the "defective" candies ever made it to the trash...) And then my sweet, loving children would offer to share what was left. "Here Mommy, have a Jawbreaker!" "Oh, thanks sweety, but can I have a Hershey Bar instead?" Ughhh, the things I did. And then when they went off to school the next morning, do you think I could keep myself from sneaking in their rooms and STEALING a bar or two from each bag???? WHY?? I could have bought myself more! But instead, I took from my kids. The obsession with food... insanity.

And so today is a holiday fraught with anxiety for some dieters. While tons (literally) of non-dieting, still oblivious fat folks are out there buying huge bags of peanut butter cups and then eating their kids' candy, some of us are really fighting it this year. Some of us have made the decision not to act that way anymore. I hope to be one of them. I have not bought ANY Halloween candy this year. Of course, I will today, since otherwise my house will be mobbed with angry children tonight. But I plan to buy nasty, non-chocolate hard candies that my kids like but I hate. (Why does anybody eat candy that is not chocolate? I don't get it.) I will be taking them trick or treating, and I will inspect their candy, but anything I don't let THEM eat, I am not going to eat. I have to stop treating myself like a human garbage disposal. Then, when they offer to share, I intend to say no thank you. But if I DO decide to indulge, my limit is 3 miniature candies. That is it. If I have them, I will savor them. And then I will tell my kids to take their candy to school and share it, or hide it in their rooms, and I will STAY OUT OF IT.

So this year, make Halloween truly happy. Let's treat ourselves with the respect and dignity we deserve. Here's to a healthy, happy holiday season.


Marshmallow said...

We have it lucky in New Zealand - Halloween isn't given much priority, despite all of the department stores trying their best to push Halloween through to us; the fact that it's Daylight Savings and that so many people don't know what Halloween is, never mind celebrate it - it makes resisting the candies even easier. (The sign on my door saying 'This is a Halloween Free house' makes a difference too :-D)

Once Upon A Dieter said...

I ate two pieces of STARBURST after dinner today. It was from the Halloween Candy bowl. Tomorrow, I tell hubby to take it to work.

That was our deal. We'd buy less candy than last year, and we'd buy candy assortment that wouldn't unduly tempt me (ie, most of the items were not to my liking). So, the Skittles and other things in the assortment just don't call to me the way, say, chocolate would.

We don't decorate or anything for Halloween. It's just not a big deal holiday for hubby or me, and my Hispanic family didn't really ever get into it. Not a cultural thing for us. Plus Miami never gets really a fall. It just gets less hot and humid, and voila, that's fall. hahahah

I agree that we should find ways to both enjoy and respect our bodies and selves during holidays. Even if it means tweaking tradition. :)

The Princess

honib1 said...

How fabulous what a wonderful plan .. i hope everything went as you hoped.. I am so proud of you for not only being able to be so open and talk about how it used to be .. I so admire you.. ROCK ON!!!

Heather said...

That sounds like a great plan. Ive always heard that you should buy candy that you dont like so you wont eat it! I used to do the same thing candy each week for myself!

Good luck sticking to your plan (I know you will). Its just candy. It will always be around.

lbs said...

Hi Lyn! I think by treating yourself with dignity and avoiding those candies, it is also setting a good example for your children.

My mom is obese and I got a lot of my eating habits from her. She is currently dealing with health problems because of many reasons. I wish that she would treat herself better, whenever I see her eating something that's bad for her, I feel painfully sad. I want her to live to see and be there for my children when the grow up!

Yup, this holiday season, I will focus on the spirit, not the food! They can be enjoyed without the focus on food!