Halloween is such a fun and memorable holiday for families! Some spend weeks or even months planning the perfect costume. And as a kid, the concept of dressing up and just knocking on your neighbor’s door and getting FREE candy? Amazing.
Halloween used to be a one day holiday, but now it seems that there are endless trunk-or-treat events and other Halloween themed activities. With all that fun comes so much candy. And for many mamas, with all that candy comes a lot of guilt.
The days after Halloween we often hear about parents sneaking their favorite candies from their kids baskets or how all the candy is going to be thrown away because of the temptation to eat it. We are then inundated with pictures on social media of how many burpees we have to do to work off the bite-sized Snickers bar. Some of us might over indulge and experience guilt and feel that we have to increase our exercise time or we stay completely away from the candy because we are too worried about the extra calories, fat and sugar.
We all know that healthy food is critical for our overall well-being. However, having a healthy relationship with food is also very important. One of our greatest responsibilities as parents is to teach our children how to take care of their bodies with good food and movement. What our children learn, observe and eat as young children can have an impact on their preferences later in life. Just as they learn about healthy food from us, they also learn what kind of relationship to have with food.
Most of our food choices should be nutritious and fuel our bodies, but some foods are eaten occasionally and though maybe not best for our bodies, taste good, are fun and part of holidays and special activities. If our children never see us eat a piece of candy or eat it and then feel riddled with guilt, what are they learning on how to approach treats?
Can we simply eat a few pieces of our favorite candy once in a while and enjoy it without shame and guilt?
The answer is HECK. YES.
As fitness professionals, influencers, bloggers, class instructors, and women within the fitness industry, how can we help other mamas feel no shame behind special occasion snacking?
- First, acknowledge just that - having Halloween candy is ‘special occasion’ eating. We do not eat like this all the time, so should never feel guilty.
- Second, exercise should never correlate with burning off any specific foods consumed. Exercise should not be done solely to burn off what was eaten. Exercise should be done to become stronger, move our bodies in ways that feel good, be done for stress reduction, mental health benefits, etc. As women, we should always be aware of comments before holidays about working out extra hard because of an upcoming special day, or after the holiday to burn the calories off. This mindset is not healthy. We should never have to feel guilty for having fun and enjoying ourselves, especially when on special occasions.
- Lastly, if you ever hear other women chatting about feeling guilty for "overindulging", let's lift each other up....we can acknowledge her feelings, but gently remind her with empowerment that she shouldn't feel bad...she can shift her focus to exercising in ways that feel good for her body; if we are making healthy choices most of the time, eating a Butterfinger once in awhile is part of enjoying Halloween and LIFE!
So, Mama, eat the damn Butterfinger, and enjoy every bite (unless, of course, you're allergic to nuts or dairy, enjoy allergen friendly treats ;))
Photo by frankie cordoba via Unsplash