Halloween: Trick or Treat or #worthit?

By Judith

Here in Salem, Massachusetts, Halloween is a month-long event.

Just a few days into October, my daughter had already collected a gallon-sized Ziploc bag filled with Halloween candy. There are Halloween parades and parties, downtown events, and of course, the big night of trick or treating on October 31. It’s a big deal around here!

I’m not alone in having a house full of fun size candy bars. Many of you are also in the swing of the season already. So, what to do? Halloween is pretty easy to handle during a round of Whole30. It’s cut and dry, black and white – no candy!

But what happens when you’re in your life AFTER Whole30, navigating your personal Food Freedom? Is candy worth it? One piece? Five pieces? How do you decide?

Before we run through the “worth it” questions outlined in Food Freedom Forever, I wanted to share some thoughts from members of our Facebook group. We asked them how THEY deal with Halloween candy overload – and how they stay focused on eating mindfully (not perfectly!) during this challenging month.

  • One local Salem friend in the group says: “I’d tell people — Do not ask yourself if you ‘deserve’ the candy. It’s a loaded question and one’s value certainly outweighs a piece of candy. It’s more: ‘Am I willing to deal with the consequences of this?’ It’s never just whatever calories, it’s usually disappointment in oneself for not having control, it’s a renewed sugar dragon, it’s a slippery slope. I have had the single piece of candy and only when I felt I just want one, and that was all. I look at my kids already partially filled baskets and have no interest. If I didn’t do a September round of Whole30, I’m sure I’d be dipping in. I may get tired and think if I have candy it will perk me up! But I get two times the crash. I don’t have time for the crash. So, for me the headache, is it worth the one minute of tasty candy? Never! I’d rather wait and have another homemade fall treat like cooked apples with cinnamon. It feels decadent and doesn’t give me a hangover. Fall flavors like pumpkin, spices and apple have many healthy and less processed ways to be enjoyed.
  • Another group member who’s enjoying her Food Freedom says she reminds herself that a craving lasts roughly 3-5 minutes. “If I feel like I really want a piece of candy (not just Halloween), I set the piece of candy on the counter and “busy” myself. Usually, when I get back to the counter, I’m like…nah. If I do still want it, I get myself a glass of ice water. I take my piece of candy and sit in my favorite seat. I take joy in unwrapping said piece of candy. I take small, savory bites and enjoy!
  • Being mindful is also the name of the game for another member, who has constant reminders of candy due to her job in a school. She says: “I work at a school, and right now (until the end of December, really) there are all kinds of candy and goodies around that people bring to share. One of the things I have learned about myself: If it is store-bought, it is never worth it (because it just doesn’t taste that great), so skipping those is never an issue. But Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my dragon…I always ask myself this question: Do I really WANT this right now, or am I just looking for a sugar fix? Many times, the sight of the candy has me just looking for a fix. Those are the times I MOSTLY mindfully walk by and do not indulge. Every once in a while, I really do WANT one, and I allow myself to eat it (slowly, so I can enjoy it) and then I am done. I do not think about it, I do not worry about it. The simple question makes me stop and think…and that is when I make better and more mindful choices.”
  • For another group member, her desire for Halloween candy has to be balanced with her willingness to deal with a consequence. She says: “Sugar wakes up my eczema in a big way. One piece of candy and my knuckles and ankles flare up first. Lucky for me, Halloween is the tail end of apple season here in Vermont. I have convinced myself I’d much rather bite into a crisp, tart Macintosh than have a painful flare-up. I also have a late October birthday and anniversary and instead of the traditional cake and ice cream, we usually serve baked apples with cinnamon or forgo a treat all together. Just don’t feel like I need it anymore.”
  • Another group member says it’s easier for her to keep the candy visible to remind herself that it’s always there if she wants it. She says: “For me, I keep the candy in plain sight. Weird, I know but if I see it and know it’s always there than I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself. I always have dark chocolate on my desk at work and knowing it’s right there and I can it anytime makes it easier to just have one on those days that I really want one. Plus, I get instant heartburn so I really ask myself IS IT WORTH the physical pain. Some days it is, some days it isn’t.”
  • On a similar note, another member says she doesn’t deprive herself of candy, but rather enjoys it with some self-imposed rules. She adds: “For the few candies that I have decided are worth it, I treat them like a dessert after a meal. If they are mini/fun sized, I will allow myself up to four pieces once a day, or one piece if it’s full sized. I only let myself have then AFTER a full meal to help prevent overdoing it. I also eat them very, very slowly. That way, I can truly savor it. I rarely make it through what my allotted amount is when I do it this way.”

For me, I love the list of “worth it” questions that Melissa shares in Food Freedom Forever (I definitely recommend this book if you don’t yet have it – it is SO helpful for navigating life after Whole30!) She reminds us that “a treat isn’t really a treat if it’s going to mess you up.” Here are the questions she encourages you to consider as you determine if something is “worth it.” (And yes – this seems like A LOT of work at first but trust me that it gets easier over time and with practice.)

  • Will it promote cravings or make my Sugar Dragon roar?
  • Will it make me feel lethargic or put me on an energy roller coaster?
  • Will it disrupt my sleep?
  • Will it mess up my digestion or leave me with gas or bloating?
  • Will it negatively impact my mood, attention span, focus, or motivation?
  • Will it make my symptoms (pain, swelling, fatigue) flare up?
  • Will it trigger an adverse reaction (asthma, migraines, skin breakouts)?
  • And the be-all-end-all question: “Will this mess me up?”

She reminds us that Food Freedom is “the perfect balance of healthy and less-healthy-but-worth-it foods eaten in a way that is totally sustainable and keeps you feeling amazing.”

It’s a lot to consider when eye-to-eye with a Fun Size Milky Way. But, at the end of the day, it’s all to help YOU feel empowered over the overload of candy. You call the shots. You make the decisions. Just because the candy is there in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat it. You can decide how much you want and when you want it.

The beauty of Food Freedom is realizing that food isn’t go anywhere and that just because it’s Halloween, doesn’t mean you HAVE to have all of the candy. Maybe you decide that some of it’s worth it, or maybe you decide that none of it’s worth it. But, maybe on a random Wednesday in December, the candy is worth it. That’s fine. Because as Melissa says, you are an adult, you have a car, and you have money – so you can buy M&M’s any day you want!

However you decide to handle Halloween candy, I hope you feel peace. And if you don’t – don’t beat yourself up and consider it a lesson in Food Freedom. If you had some consequences from what you ate, jot them down so you can remember them for next time. This is a journey – and it takes a long time to figure it all out

I’ll leave you with Melissa’s description of the Food Freedom process, which I love – and return to often in my own journey.

“If it’s not worth it, simply pass. You don’t feel deprived, because the decision was yours…If it is worth it, you accept. You savor. You enjoy it so hard. You eat as much as you need to satisfy the experience…Whatever you decide, no matter how much you eat, you remain in control, because you’re paying attention the entire time. Your second bite only comes after you decide you really want more; your seventh bite is just as savored as the first. When you’ve had enough, you lick your fingers, sigh contentedly, and go right back to your regularly scheduled dietary choices. You successfully deal with any consequences of your choice. You don’t beat yourself up. There is no guilt…At some point, something will send you back toward the Land of Old Habits. You find you don’t feel as awesome and you’re no longer totally in control. But. You don’t panic. You don’t feel like a failure. You don’t wallow in your ice cream. You just return to your reset, already feeling better having taken the first step back towards food freedom.”

The Whole30 Friends & Family Giveaway!

By Judith

The eighth Whole30 book is here – and we couldn’t be more excited!

The Whole30 Friends & Family cookbook “empowers you to stay social while honoring your Whole30 commitment with delicious, creative, company-worthy dishes; and offers my best tips for navigating challenges during events.”

The cookbook is organized by social event, featuring 22 menus and 150 recipes for occasions such as baby shower, family game night, camping, game day, beach picnic, date night, and more. There are recipes for snacks, dips, shareable bites, main courses, sides, and festive drinks. Basically, this cookbook has you covered for EVERYTHING!

“I’ve received hundreds of messages from Whole30’ers asking me how to host a dinner party, navigate the office potluck, or participate in a family birthday party during your Whole30,” says Melissa Urban on the Whole30 website. “The Whole30 Friends & Family empowers you to stay social while honoring your Whole30 commitment with delicious, creative, company-worthy dishes; and offers my best tips for navigating challenges during events.”

We have a copy of The Whole30 Friends & Family to give away to ONE lucky winner!

To enter:

  • LIKE Whole30 (the official page, not our group!) on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Whole30/) or FOLLOW the official Whole30 account on Instagram @whole30.
  • SUBSCRIBE to our blog newsletter if you haven’t already – enter your email and subscribe below.
  • COMMENT below on this blog post and let us know you did both #1 and #2.

That’s it! Giveaway is open until 9 pm EST Sunday October 20. Winner will be announced on Monday October 21. US residents only.

Want to grab a copy of The Whole30 Friends & Family now? You can find it on Amazon and in bookstores near you. It makes an awesome holiday gift so be sure to stock up!

Questions? Reach out to judith@everydaywhole.com!

Good luck!

Credit: Photo by Ghazalle Badiozamani/@ghazallephoto

Whole30 Pitfalls…and how to avoid them!

Guest Post by Whole30 Certified Coach Debbie Marlowe

Doing a Whole30 isn’t easy.  But if you have the right mindset and you want to “change your life” as we like to say, you can sail through it.  Rarely is there a perfect Whole30.  Life doesn’t usually allow it. Curve balls thrown weekly! Below are some of the Whole30 pitfalls I see with a few of my clients.

I have some ideas to help you maintain perspective to get to the end of your reintroduction.  A good Whole30 combined with a GREAT reintroduction will fill you in with good information about what works for YOUR body. This information will start you down the yellow brick road of health care and Food Freedom!

You get bored after Week 2

Traditional diet mentality is to blame.  How many times have you read the book, cleaned out the pantry, gone grocery shopping and then derailed the first weekend? 

 We are impulsive by nature.  We love everything shiny and new.  There’s a whole fashion industry built on that premise.  Billions spent on new, look here!  So maybe you want a little excitement.  That’s cool. Get a new kitchen utensil. Make a recipe that is WAY outside your comfort zone.  Perhaps you are doing too much and need to just have a few days of assembly type meals.  Or order some pre-made Whole30 meals from a company liked Cooked or Kettlebell Kitchen. Whatever it is, shake it up — but keep going!

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

“But Teri Turner made this really delicious dinner and mine didn’t look like that.”  “So and so blogs all her meals.”  Insert any person’s name here and any skill.   First off, Teri cooks FOR A LIVING and has staff to help her manage.   People blog for a living.  YOU may have a full-time job, 8 kids and a mother-in -aw staying at your house. In that case, a bunch of greens on a plate with some chicken and salad dressing is beautiful and absolutely, positively fine.   You aren’t those people.  You have to do YOUR Whole30.

My friend and fellow Whole30 Coach  Theresa Newman has a gorgeous kitchen and loves to cook.  I would love to make the dinners she does.  My reality is that I don’t want to remodel my kitchen, I want to sell my house soon and move into my bus, Clara Belle. I work a full-time job and travel a lot.  We have different lives.  But you know what? I’m going to go take my Southwest points and visit her in her beautiful kitchen and let her cook for me!

All you can do is be the best you. Melissa Hartwig Urban reminds us that she has childcare, can work out as long as she wants and she can go into the office at 10am.  It’s a privilege. I love that she tells people that because she knows she’s the face of Whole30 but that is her JOB.

You Start to Fade About the Weekend of the Third Week

Reconnect to your WHY. I have done plenty of Whole27’s.  You don’t want to do that.  Trust me.  Stay the course. There is a reason it is 30 days.  That’s the minimum effective dose for reintroduction of allergens.  

That Friday,list out all the reasons why you are doing Whole30. Better yet, pull out your Non Scale Victory Download and start checking things off.  That will help out a lot. 

I Don’t Care Anymore

I get it, you are at a function and the (whatever, fill in the blank) looks so good.  My friend just handed me a glass of wine.  So what? You do care. You cared enough to come this far.  Don’t let food pushers or being tired, hungry or angry bring you down.  Grab your emergency snacks, shove them in your “used to be pie hole” and stay on your Whole30.  

Proper planning will keep you from going down this road.  Eat beforehand, or eat emergency food you bring with you. Call/email/text your coach or post in your Whole30 Facebook/Instagram support group. Just don’t go down that road.  You want to get rid of your autoimmune disease.  You want to be able to play with your grandkids, you want to be in less pain. You want to be healthier.  You want a lot of things and that rank canape isn’t what it really is.

No One Gets Me

We have entire communities for that.  I am one of the moderators for the Whole30 Fabulous After Fifty Facebook Groups.  Online there are so many Whole30 groups.  I will say this though – any social media people that make you feel less than stellar about yourself – delete.   

You can also check on Meetup, or reach out to me, I’ll see if I can find anyone in your area for you to play with.  It’s always a great idea to have a friend do one with you, if possible so you can meal prep and swap or grocery shop together.  

Maybe you have people undermining your Whole30 success.  Stay strong.  You are on a healthcare journey for the long haul.  Like all relationships, some may fray.  There is no shame in seeking new friends or groups that suit your goals.  YOU have to walk your walk and talk your talk, in order to do that – seek like-minded people who support your efforts.

Like attracts like and building a healthier future for yourself is a noble and wonderful feat.  Don’t discount it for anyone.  Support yourself with new information, mindset changes and new habits. Go forth Whole30 Soldier.  Change your world.

Debbie Marlowe is a Whole30 Certified Coach, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Level 1 CrossFit instructor who loves movement, good clean food and teaching self-care. She adores taking sedentary people and finding ways to empower them to take better care of themselves. She wants to prepare you for vibrant old age and to withstand the rigors of life in spite of aging. She will teach you how to nourish your body and be able to carry all the grocery bags into the house in one trip safely – because you are built for it!

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