What I (Megan) have seen is that many parents are uncomfortable around sugar and candy because they don’t know how to handle it themselves. Perhaps you find yourself eating an entire bag of Reeses’ Pieces the week leading up to Halloween, or your kids’ candy loot feels like it has some sort of control over you. Sound familiar? You aren’t alone.
What I love about being in the Instagram community is learning from so many other intuitive eating dietitians, and one phrase I’ve seen floating around many of their accounts is that we are simply giving candy and sugar way too much credit. We’re giving it too much power. It’s so true. The more we obsess about it and restrict it, the more we crave it and the less we actually enjoy it while eating it. Do you notice that you eat candy very quickly so you “destroy the evidence”? If you think about it – what’s the point? Why eat it if we don’t actually enjoy it??
I challenge you to give yourself a little more credit and take the power away from that food. One way to do this is by sitting with candy (or any food) and really letting yourself actually enjoy it. Yes, eat it like you’re wine tasting. Really taste it. Give it time and aim for satisfaction from the eating experience.
Here are some tips for doing a simple mindful eating activity:
- Remember that the purpose of eating candy is to enjoy it. Give yourself a moment to focus on the eating process.
- Smell the candy (seriously!) – connect your senses and get ready for the eating process. Notice that you may start salivating or feel really anxious to eat this food. Do you like the smell? Is it appealing to you?
- Take a small bite and close your eyes. What do you taste? Really try to capture the flavor of the candy. Is it what you expect, flavor-wise? Better? Worse?
- Chew slowly and carefully. Notice what’s happening in your mouth – are your taste buds waking up? Do you like the texture as you chew?
- Swallow the bite and just sit for a moment, noticing how the candy made you feel. Did you actually like it? Does it feel like it “hits the spot” or perhaps you don’t like it as much as you expected? Do you need more?
- Slowly eat what feels right for you and move along with your wonderful life. It may be too much for what your body wanted or not enough to satisfy you right now, and those are both OK. Remember that this is a discovery process, and you are learning for next time.
What you may notice is that a few bites hit the spot, or that you don’t actually like the candy once you’ve let yourself taste it. Maybe you need more than you thought. Perhaps you realize that you’d prefer another type of candy. Whatever you discover is OK.
I challenge you to try this again a few times as Halloween approaches, giving yourself unconditional permission to eat – and enjoy – some candy, however much that may be. You are worthy of eating food that tastes good, and that applies no matter what size you are or what you’ve eaten that day.
Do you need help with this? Please check out the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – it will change your life!