Weighty Matters

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Candy Holidays

on October 31, 2013

It was my first full day with my new Fitbit. (Thanks for telling me about this, Susanne!) I logged 7800 steps in a fairly normal day that included a short dog walk in the morning and a longer one this evening. Of course I’d hoped to hit 10,000 steps but, realistically, I know that I had to spend a lot of time at my desk working today. Even realizing that fact, my mind churns with ideas on how I can hit the 10K step goal every day. Naturally, if I’d had a Zumba class I would have gone beyond the mark. So, I guess I should feel pretty good about coming close on a day that didn’t include a lot of exercise time. I’m strategizing of course. I can get up earlier and take the dogs for a longer morning walk. I can definitely get up from my desk at some point during the day and walk around the facility. That’s perfectly acceptable and really good for my head, too. Tomorrow is going to be a more active day at work because I have a media shoot in the morning. It will be interesting to see how the day’s count tallies. I’ll report on my results.

Tonight is Halloween. In the 9 or 10 years that I’ve been home here on Halloween, I think I’ve only had trick or treaters two or three nights. Yet, I dutifully buy a bag of candy. Oh, you know, last year I think I bought miniature boxes of raisins. I can’t remember and I didn’t post about it. This time of year in 2012 I was pretty wrapped up in anxiety over Superstorm Sandy — first when it brushed by us in the Keys and then when it attacked my home state of New Jersey.

Anyway, I bought a bag of candy, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t have kids knocking on the door. I couldn’t help myself. I was positive that if I didn’t have it in the house, there would be a sudden parade of costumed children coming to the house and leaving in disgust and disappointment. I don’t know why the thought of it concerned me so — it’s not like they would have been deprived of candy All. Night. Long. and I’d be personally responsible for the worst Halloween e-v-e-r — but I caved.

Now I have a big, bag of candy in the house and, of course, I’ve snacked on some of it. I’m calling a halt. My plan is to take it all into work and spread out the calories among my co-workers, but I still have to get through the night. Even though it’s cooled off some temperature-wise in Florida, it will get all melty if I put it in the car now. How’s this for a plan instead? Dump the candy from the bowl back into its bag; put that bag inside a plastic bag with handles so I can tie it closed; put bag in fridge. If I find myself weakening, at least I’ll have gotten the candy good and cold. Then I’ll put it into an insulated cooler with ice packs and put it in the car.

I’m fairly confident that I can defeat an urge to still eat candy in the time it would take me to go out to my car and get some.

Candy holidays suck for compulsive overeaters who really, really like chocolate sweets. Not only do they surround us with one of our drugs of choice which can screw us up physically and mentally, but they twist us up emotionally.

I’m sure Halloween was always a source of upset for my parents too. How hard it must have been to watch me, their overweight daughter, go out trick or treating with her friends, knowing she was collecting a pillowcase full of candy that she shouldn’t eat. We won’t even go into the challenge of finding me costumes. At a certain weight, those child outfits made of that shiny acetate material with plastic masks just don’t fit big kids.

So, factor in that I already hated everyone studying my food choices and making an issue of them, and you know that I was in a constant emotional tug-of-war. All I wanted was to have fun with my friends and just get to enjoy some damn chocolate like everyone else and not have it be such an issue.

Easter is another big candy holiday. We always got two Easter baskets — one from our folks and one from my Nana (Mom’s mom.) Both baskets were great and I give extra credit to Nana. She always went to this neighborhood, family-owned chocolate shop where they made their own goods and ordered each grandchild his or her favorite type of chocolate Easter egg. They were beautifully decorated and even had our first name’s piped on them. For the record, I preferred chocolate filled with butter cream. I think my brother was a coconut cream fan. I don’t remember Easter being as much of a candy stress-fest, however. Maybe because, even with the big egg and some chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, the overall haul of sweetness was less. We also spent a lot of time on the decorated Easter egg hunt. When I got a little older, my folks switched to one basket from Nana and they instead gave us each a different gift that they would hide for us. Most often, mine was a book. Even then, I loved books so I didn’t feel deprived by this change.

If I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of kids, I tell myself that I would make homemade, healthier treats that would be delicious and welcomed by the little goblins. I love that image of myself smiling and offering the treat tray to kids at the door. In my little Halloween fantasy, the dogs wouldn’t go crazy every time someone knocked on the door and I’d watch the tykes wave and call out a chorus of “thank-yous” as they walked onto the next house. Oh, on my dream Halloween, nobody would be worried about whether I’d laced my homemade treats with razor blades or poison either.

I don’t live in that neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t modify my dream. Maybe next year I can still come up with a healthy treat that I can make and share with my co-workers. That way I’ll feel like I’m still participating in Halloween without contributing to an overbuzz of sugar.

3 responses to “Candy Holidays

  1. Hope says:

    If you tend not to get too many trick or treaters, you could probably splurge on some little toys to hand out instead of candy. Maybe some glow sticks?

  2. Pink Pelican says:

    (Been preoccupied and am catching up.) We got a few big bags of candy as well, most of which went un-used because of bad weather. I made Himself take what was left to work on Monday.

    If we hadn’t had a munchkin of our own this year (squeee!), we would have simply gone out on Thursday & Friday nights. Left the front porch light off. Gone & done something for most of the evening. Thus, no need to give out treats to neighborhood kids, and therefore no need to have treats in the house in the first place.

    You might start thinking about Halloween as a spa night in the future, a “Mary-Holiday”. Schedule an evening mani-pedi, or a massage, make a date with a friend for dinner & a movie, plan to do something on your bucket list. You can celebrate the evening away from your home and you won’t have to worry about “needing” to lay in supplies. That whole “re-direction” thing. Grin.

  3. Skye says:

    Turns out my housemates hand out little bags of various kinds of chips. The kids loved them! Of course, that’s as bad as candy, but I’m not a huge chips fan so I don’t go get them to snack on. Unfortunately, we bought some candy, too, in case we ran out of chips. (We didn’t.)

    I like your fantasy Halloween. I wish it could be true, but it hasn’t been true since I was about 10 or so.

    I also like your idea for how to handle the urge to eat the rest of the candy. I would find that too much effort, too, and I have little will power when it comes to chocolate. Good luck!

    (Also, I put the recipe for the soup stock on my blog for tonight’s post.)

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