You should eat some candy.
“Megan, you’ve gone mad!” No, I haven’t. It’s still me, and I’m still the voice of reason and practicality.
As we push into the holiday season, you won’t hear advice like this from anyone else. If you’re looking to have a healthy holiday season, most of the advice you’ll hear is how to avoid it all. How to say no in the face of temptation. How to create healthy substitutes for unhealthy food. How to remain restrictive during the most glorious time of the year. (...and how to hate your life for three months and inevitably fail. Truth.)
Instead, I’m going to say eat the candy. Why? Because you must do this differently. You have to. If you enter this season, beginning with Halloween, with your shields up against food, it will destroy your mindset about food. Having the restrictive mentality during the rest of the year is bad enough, but during the holidays, the challenge is harder, and the damage goes deeper.
Two Types of Holiday Women
We will see two types of restrictive people this time of year:
1. The mom that is hanging by her fingernails on the edge of the cliff, just trying to avoid all-the-things, on the verge of failure and complete devastation. “Either I keep dangling on this precipice, or I fall and gain 20 pounds. There is no in-between. That’s where I’m at.”
2. The mom that refuses to touch anything that isn’t green, with a smug look on her face and a badge of honor on her chest. Sorry sister, but nobody cares if you’re perfect. You don’t get more gold stars in the “healthy category” for being pure and abstinent. No, you’re just arrogant. “I never eat anything short of perfectly healthy. We’re having steamed green beans and spirulina for Christmas dinner. I don’t see what everyone else’s problem is this time of year.”
Both of these women, relying on restriction, are equally in a bad spot. Health is more than your physical body. Your attitude toward food must be healthy, too.
And we're back...Balance and Moderation.
A healthy attitude must encompass balance and moderation. Without learning proper balance and moderation with food, we tend towards complete restriction or complete indulgence. We never learn how to simply sample foods in a healthful way. We don’t learn how to stay mindful and conscientious in the moment. And we certainly don’t learn how to maintain perspective.
We become one of the two women I mentioned above.
The holiday season is the perfect chance to practice this. You will be encountering plenty of indulgent food and drink. Foods that, when over-consumed, will damage your health and body composition, but when eaten in moderation can bring enjoyment and pleasure. Halloween candy and treats are a great opportunity for practice.
(I say "practice" because eating with moderation in mind isn't something that comes naturally. It takes practice...lots of it. You won't get it the first time, or maybe even the second time, but it's absolutely worth practicing!)
Click here to read an entire blog post about balance and moderation. It's worth it.
Let me show you two perspectives that you need to keep in mind as you eat your Halloween candy.
1. One piece of candy will not derail you. And honestly, five pieces of candy will probably not derail you, either. So, stop freaking out and feeling guilty about the one fun size Snickers bar that you stole from your kiddo.
Food is not just meant for nourishment, but also for enjoyment. A spankin’ hot body is not worth never touching a piece of candy again, in my opinion.
Here’s my suggestion: decide right now what your favorite thing is. Is it the Snickers? Is it Skittles? Is it not even candy at all, but rather a caramel apple or caramel corn? Pick your favorite thing, and practice enjoying that one thing. Yes, this will require a little discipline because if Skittles aren’t your thing, then why waste your time on them? Pass them up, and enjoy your thing instead.
If we demonize treats and attempt to label all Halloween candy as “off limits”, we will only crave them even more. And we will certainly forget how to truly enjoy food. Slow down, taste your food, and savor the flavors you truly enjoy. Eat some candy, momma.
That's perspective number one.
2. Keep your big picture goals in mind, too. Sure, one or five pieces of candy will probably not derail your progress or damage your health, but having a two-week free-for-all certainly will. Don't stick your head down in the candy, forgetting all about your goals and plans for moving forward.
Peter, my 4 year old, had a Halloween party at his preschool yesterday and came home with a little bag of candy. Snickers are my favorite thing everrrr, and I noticed he had a fun sized Snickers in his bag. I stole it (cause that's what moms do!), and had one bite and gave him the rest. I kept my perspective, noticing I didn't need more than one bite to feel the full enjoyment of that Snickers bar.
Deprived? No. Binging? Nope.
Have a piece, feel satisfied, and move on. (This takes practice, my friend!!) Learn how to employ your willpower and discernment in that moment when you're having the candy. Practice sampling and saying "that's all I need". This will keep you on track to stay healthy and see forward progress toward your goals.
That's perspective number two.
Don't be the crazy lady.
My fear is that too many of us have experienced panic attacks this time of year. We're horrified to even have candy in our presence. The thought of a bucket full of candy in the house is so overwhelmingly tempting that we become animals and devour the whole thing.
It's either "all the candy, all day long!" or "don't even let me look at it!"
Let's all calm down this season, OK? Understand that a little bit of candy is not a big deal. Understand how to sample, savor, and move on. Understand how to keep everything in perspective, becoming a woman that values balance and moderation above all.
And please, for the love, do not force spirulina on your kids at Christmas!
Stay tuned. I plan to bring you plenty of great tips and advice as we move into the best time of year! You need to feel confident and empowered to have a healthy holiday season...healthy in both body and mind.
Be discerning. Beware of the restrictive advice you'll hear from others. Put up your radar for obsessive, soul-crushing, and damaging mindsets. God wants more for you!!
Let's do this holiday season differently this year!
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Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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