The case of the disappearing Halloween goodies: learn how to indulge

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Have your Halloween goodies mysteriously disappeared – even before the little kids come calling for their trick or treats? While many people would like to blame the goblins for the vanishing candies, chances are that there has been some serious munching going on. Halloween is a time of year that even for those who banish sweets from their homes, bags of mini-chocolate bars abound.  And then little by little, they’re polished off. The problem here is not about having the sweets around.  Being an enlightened eater doesn’t mean that you can never enjoy your favourite decadent delights.


xEnlightened eating means knowing how to be able to do so in moderation.

When it comes to healthy eating, feeling deprived is a sure-fire prescription to getting off track. Not allowing yourself to ever indulge frequently leads to overeating or binging on the very things you’ve sworn you’ll no longer eat. How many times have you thought, “Tomorrow I’ll be good so I’ll finish these off now so that they’re not around to tempt me?”

And does it ever work? Not usually.

It’s time to learn how to indulge. Here are some strategies to survive Halloween and the upcoming holiday season.

First on the agenda is deciding what you’re going to indulge in. It’s very simple: if something you consume doesn’t have any redeeming value in terms of nutrition, it should be exceptional tasting in order for you to eat it. Because if it’s only average and you’re on the hunt for a treat, it won’t satisfy and you’ll be more likely to eat too much. Just think of how many okay-tasting mini-chocolate bars you’ve eaten in the past few weeks.

To find those decadent delights, think of yourself as a judge in a food contest.  Take a bite of what you are contemplating as a treat and then rate it on a scale of one to ten as to how good it tastes – not how much you want it but how yummy it really is. And then only go for it if it rates a ten. Many options you’re faced with may indeed be luscious looking but the proof is in the taste. Close your eyes when you’re sampling if you need to.

How many indulgences have you had in the past that only rate a six or seven? And how many have you chastised yourself about having? But if a treat ranks low, it won’t it the spot. And six sixes don’t make a ten. Before you know it, you’ve eaten too much and end up feeling guilty. Your so called reward – if you were looking for one- becomes a punishment as you’ll likely be put off with yourself for eating it.

You never regret enjoying a ten.

There’s also the issue of size that needs to be considered when it comes to treats. If it’s too small, then it just becomes a tease and you’ll go back for more. Think of how many slivers from a pan of brownies you’ve consumed by going back for one sliver after another. Halloween candies are the same. You can take only one and then a little while later, yet another. And before you know it, you’ve emptied the bag. To make matters worse, while you may feel stuffed, you likely didn’t even enjoy it.

So the second step in learning how to indulge is deciding on the right portion.

If the treat is a ten, then go for a serving that you would give to someone else – not too small nor too large. A generous portion will offer you the opportunity to feel satisfied while a small one will beckon you back for just a little more – over and over again.

That’s why mini-sized sweets can be risky.  But as far as Halloween goodies go, in the first place, many simply aren’t a ten. But if you purchased your favourite, then consider taking about two to three, depending on their size, as a treat. The same goes for any mini-sized indulgences. It’s easy to polish off a bag of mini-brownies by having one at a time. Take three – if they’re a ten – and put the bag away before having them.

Now to the growing variety of 100-calorie packs that are designed to help you indulge in a controlled fashion.  Some simply have no taste so while they may be portion controlled, they won’t satisfy you. You then may end up then going for another pack or hunting something else down. So if you think that a certain variety may indeed be one that hits the spot, try it out and be objective about its taste.

Keep in mind, though, that these tips on learning how to indulge will only work if you’re eating well. If you’re skipping meals and are low on fuel, you don’t have a chance being a discriminating eater. Instead cravings and hunger will drive you to eat too much, even if it  barely ranks on how delectable it really is.

Do you banish treats from your home on a regular basis but then have to finish them all off if they are around? What’s your philosophy about indulging in decadent delights? Please share in the comments section below.

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Categories: Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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2 Comments on “The case of the disappearing Halloween goodies: learn how to indulge”

  1. October 29, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    I love this post, Rosie!

    I totally agree about not wasting time (and calories) on snacks that are just “okay”. Find out what you REALLY like and enjoy it. I also love the tip about eating the portion size that you would give to someone else..that’s great. It IS possible to indulge in a way that feel satisfying..without the guilt.

    • October 29, 2012 at 8:55 am #

      Thanks, Marci! I really appreciate your feedback. The portion size issue is key to feeling satisfied. I have found that when I was counselling individuals about how to indulge, so often, they would only allow tiny amounts of their chosen treat. Then of course, there was no possibility of feeling satisfied. Everyone seems to know how much to give to others and so it’s something they can implement. They then really enjoy their chosen decadent delight and then stop eating!

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