Never mind Nightmare on Elm Street, trying to avoid chocolate and candy apples at Halloween is difficult for us binge eaters.
There is temptation around every corner, sometimes coming towards us inside a plastic pumpkin. Halloween is known as a time of frivolity, of pound-store scares, and of chocolate heaven. For foodies, this is fine. For those of us prone to binge eating disorders, we have too many memories of Halloween candy being a foundational trigger that led to worse things.
That’s why we have devoted today’s blog to helping binge eaters supress their desires to go big for Halloween. How do you indulge without sparking an addiction? Can you still enjoy Halloween if you are watching what you eat? Let’s find out.
What’s the Problem with Halloween?
Although it’s a fun holiday for the kids, Halloween for mums and dads in England and Wales is a harder time. First, you must buy the extra sweets for the kids that come to the door. Next, you must still have those sweets – and not eat them – before Halloween is over. Third, you must resist eating the kid’s candy that they bring home, and fourth, in the following days at the supermarket when all those leftover sweets are on special.
So those problem areas are:
- Buying lots of sweet things for your own and your neighbour’s children.
- Keeping those sweet things in the house without binge eating them.
- Your children coming home with lots of sweet things.
- Sweet things being on sale at the supermarket.
All four of these problem areas put a recovering eating addict, or binge eater, into vulnerable positions. Those of you who have done your therapy work already know that when we feel vulnerable, we are in a position when we are more likely to revert to our old habits.
We put together these tips to try and help you avoid any binge eating disasters over Halloween. However, it’s important to remember that slip-ups happen. If you have a day where you give in and eat, that’s ok. We can deal with it and move on. The trick to remaining in recovery is in being stringent with yourself and in knowing that your slip-up was a one-off.
Remember, you can get help for binge eating disorder, bulimia, Body Dysmorphia, and other eating addictions/problems/mental illnesses through our website. We recommend you do this if you need extra support through this tough time of the year.
Top Tips for Avoiding Binge Eating This Halloween
If you are a food addict who is concerned about binge eating disorder this Halloween, here are some therapist reminders that will help you avoid succumbing.
1 – Manage your stress levels
As you know, the amount you eat is related to the amount of stress you are under. If your stress level gets too high, you will start to eat your feelings. When you start to experience warning signs, like a moody attitude, physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, or headaches, or if you feel anxious, take time out. Go back to the tools you learned in therapy to help you cope with stress. If you have not been to therapy yet, download the Calm App. It will help you manage meditation and sleep levels until you get help.
2 – Reduce your Triggers
Although having the sweet things in the house might be a trigger by itself, you can manage how exposed you are to it. For example, putting the sweets away somewhere that you don’t have to look at them can help to put them out of your mind. If you see them every time you open the cupboard, it’s easier to give in. Identify other things that make you eat, be they stress, or trauma, or boredom, or heartbreak, and minimise your exposure to these things over this difficult period.
3 – Drink more Water
Water is an effective tool for controlling hunger. Studies have shown that drinking 500 ml of water before a meal reduces your calorific intake by 13%. There’s further evidence to suggest that we eat when we are thirsty, because the two feelings are so similar. Be sure you are hungry, not thirsty, when you experience hunger pangs.
Stay Safe this Halloween
To conclude: all we can advise is that you stay safe this Halloween. If you have a slip-up, don’t assume you have slipped back into your old ways. There’s a lot of temptation out there. It’s OK to be thrown by it. The important part is getting back on the wagon and not giving up.