Food is an inseparable part of many social events, from birthday parties to bridal showers to Super Bowl Sunday. For many, Halloween marks the beginning of a season of celebratory treats. In my house, the celebration starts a little earlier, with my husband’s October birthday and, as we enter this particular holiday season, I’ve been thinking a lot about how food will factor into my celebrations.
There are three options:
Skip the sugary treats entirely.
This has some pros and cons. On the one hand, if I simply say “no, thank you,” I’ll avoid the potentially negative effects of over-consumption. My blood sugar won’t skyrocket (then crash), I won’t get a stomachache, and I will avoid the cycle of cravings that sugar can activate. Sounds pretty good, right? But then again, pie.
Have a tiny taste, but decide ahead of time to limit portions!
This is what I used to imagine a “healthy” person doing. After all, this is the kind of tip that appears in magazine articles and online lists. Yet, though this might seem like the ideal, what happens when I “mess up” and overindulge? (It’s easy to do, especially in social settings filled with distracting levels of merriment.) If I were a more balanced person, I might be able to move on, but as a perfectionist, I am more likely to beat myself up about my perceived “failure.” Not so good.
Decide to indulge mindfully, without guilt.
What if, rather than setting “rules” and fighting willpower, we simply choose to eat what feels good? I know that too much sugar makes me feel terrible, and if I’m being honest, three or four bites of something is probably enough to satisfy my taste buds anyway. I don’t want to eat a bunch of junk, but I also don’t want to waste time worrying about portions and calories and fat grams. If I take this route, I don’t have to miss out on the delicious flavors of the season, I don’t have to feel like I’ve failed, and I don’t have to overindulge.
I don’t have to set rules or limits. I have to listen to my body and how it feels. That’s harder than it sounds at times, but it’s definitely a skill worth practicing.