The science behind that post Halloween candy binge.

Did you binge on the Halloween candy? Before you curse your will power or lack of self-control, consider the science of eating behavior. Using this evidence-based approach may help you experience more Food Peace™ in the upcoming holidays.

Don’t blame yourself for the candy binge⎯It’s really Food Habituation

Do you categorize foods as good versus bad? Labeling food this way can set anyone up to feel out of control about what to eat.

Food is not an exact science. Rather than considering food as good versus bad, think of food lying on a continuum. This means there is more gray than exact black and white rules.

Folks who categorize foods as good or bad will, more often than not, experience binges on those “bad” foods.

Research explains this through the science of food habituation. This type of research demonstrates that the more we’re exposed to a food, the more our brains could care less about it.

On the flip side, the more unique and rare the food, the more our brains fixate on it. This promotes intense cravings, and drives us to want to eat the novel food.

Healing Hint:

Instead of blaming yourself for the post-Halloween candy binge, consider the science behind the experience.

Are you around this food often?

And, if so, do you allow yourself to eat it?

If the answer to both questions is “no”, point your finger at your lack of food exposure instead of your lack of will power or self-control.

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help.

Listen to the Love Food Podcast now here or through your favorite pod catcher app.

Don’t blame the food after the candy bingeIt’s really Food Deprivation

The more we abstain from a food, the more our brains like to fixate on it.

How often are we actually around Candy Corn or Tootsie Rolls? No wonder it’s so tough to stop eating them. And, when we avoid the fun food long enough, we often feel guilt-free and give ourselves permission to “indulge”.

Why does “just one bite” often lead to a binge experience?

This is the basic law of food deprivation.

When we’re around an avoided food, our brains light up with interest — sometimes even as far as obsession. When we finally allow ourselves a bite, it’s often hard to stop.

Some clinicians connect the one bit to binge experience as food addiction. I’ve been keeping up with this research too, yet so far, it’s flawed. Until the researchers take into account food deprivation and habituation, the research means nothing — unless people become robots without free will.

Healing Hint: Rather than blaming yourself for the candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Have you been dieting? Have you been limiting the variety in your food choices? Have you been disrespecting hunger? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then point the finger at food deprivation.

Practice unconditional permission to eat

Allowing candy to remain around can help us navigate through different types of food. Is this too scary? You’re not alone.

There’s a way to heal this. It’s called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food, in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues ⎯ this should be the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from the book, Intuitive Eating, by Tribole and Resch. Life changing work is done within the framework of eating intuitively. I encourage you to read it.

To feel safer during Halloween and other holidays, be curious as to why the binge is happening, or happened.

When you hear your self-talk blaming your lack of will-power or self-control, consider the science instead.

Blame diets, food rules, and body hate. Learning to experience food with self-compassion and trust will help you eat to promote health and peace.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

3 reasons to ditch the switch witch this Halloween

On my Facebook page, a community member asked:

 What do you think about all these Switch Witch shenanigans?

This popular Switch Witch wants to rid kids of terrifying candy.

My question: terrifying for the kids…or scary for the parents?

Candy Loot
Joyfully sorting and tasting the candy.

To get us all on the same page: the witch hangs out with the family starting October 1st and disappears on Halloween, candy in tow. When the kids awaken the next day, the candy is gone yet they are all smiles with shiny new toys. Parents do not have to deal with the food fights. Everyone wins.

Sounds like a great solution, right?

Uh, no. Let me explain.

1.) Allowing Halloween candy helps your child practice how to be around all foods.

Like it or not, we live in a world with many different foods. Children are limited by what parents allow into the home and the structure they provide.

We are required by law to feed our children and that makes them grow up. They leave us for college or trade school or when we get tired of each other and they move out. And the world will be their oyster. Or candy bar.

They get to decide which foods they will have in their dwelling. Seinfeld speaks this awesome truth here:

If a child was never taught how to experience highly palatable (*I won’t use the word junk here*) food, he will learn later in life.

A young adult never exposed to fun food will have a tough time eating them without shame. Shame never promotes health.

This shame-based food relationship produces an adult who feels out of control around certain foods. For many, this develops into bingeing and secret eating. These are typical eating disorder behaviors.

Oh what a web we weave.

 

Have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help.

Listen to the Love Food Podcast now here or through your favorite pod catcher app.

2) Keeping Halloween candy out of the house has more to say about the adult’s inability to be around the food than keeping a child healthy.

Fun foods taste gooooood. And that is why we adults yearn for ideas like the Switch Witch.

We don’t trust ourselves around the food and feel shame when we can’t stop eating them.

So we avoid the candy or other yummy treats. Our solution: keep it out of the house. Then, when a special holiday food comes around (helloooo candy corn!), we feel guilt free enough to “indulge” and curse the candy when we succumb to the tummy ache alarm to stop noshing.

This is not the food’s fault.

This is the basic law of food deprivation.

When we are around a novel food, our brains light up with interest. Sometimes even obsess. ¹ When we finally allow a bite, it is always hard to stop.

Allowing Halloween candy to remain around models how we as grown ups can navigate different types of food.

Too scary? You are not alone.

There is a way to heal this. It is called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues is the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

Trick or treat!
Trick or treat!
  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch and 75+ research studies demonstrate its evidenced-based interventions to promote health. Life changing work is done within its framework. I encourage you to check it out for yourself and your children.

3) Keeping the Halloween candy around will teach your children to not let food have more power than it deserves.

Imagine if you took your child into a room full of toys and said, “Play with any toy you like….except this one.” Even if the toy is a smelly old shoe, it will cause a 30 minute temper tantrum until the child is allowed to play with it.

Go ahead try for yourself. I dare you.

Deciding which Halloween candy she enjoys.
Deciding which Halloween candy she enjoys.

Having a witch magically steal your child’s candy let’s them know these foods are forbidden. And a house that forbids food gives that food 100 times more power than it deserves.

My clients affected by eating disorders spend too much time and energy thinking about forbidden foods. To the point they will not go to parties, or on dates. Their social life suffers.

Some won’t even leave the house in fear they will have to face a forbidden food.

I appreciate this is a strong statement and my work with eating disorder clients allows me to believe it: making candy a forbidden food is setting children up to experience disordered eating pathology. And, yes, that is very serious.

Where can we find help navigating the parental decisions around Halloween candy? Ellyn Satter has the best recommendations. I reread them every year. Spend time reading her recommendations here.

And ditch that witch.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie wants to show you how! Get the details here.

Footnote (i.e. best part of any blog post) ¹ This may bring up food addiction for many. You don’t have to send me articles or scholarly journals on food addiction since I am keeping up with the research. Until they control for food deprivation, the research means nothing unless you are a robot without free will.

The science behind that post Halloween candy binge

La maison

Did you binge on the Halloween candy? Before you curse your will power or lack of self-control, consider the science of eating behavior. Using this evidence-based approach may help you experience more food peace in the upcoming holidays.

Don’t blame yourself for the candy binge⎯It’s really Food Habituation

Do you categorize foods as good versus bad? Labeling food this way can set anyone up to feel out of control about what to eat. Food is not an exact science. Rather than considering food as good versus bad, think of food lying on a continuum. This means there is more gray than exact black and white rules.

Folks who categorize foods as good or bad will, more often than not, experience binges on those “bad” foods. Research explains this through the science of food habituation. This type of research demonstrates that the more we’re exposed to a food, the more our brains could care less about it. On the flip side, the more unique and rare the food, the more our brains fixate on it. This promotes intense cravings, and drives us to want to eat the novel food.

Healing Hint: Instead of blaming yourself for the post-Halloween candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Are you around this food often? And, if so, do you allow yourself to eat it? If the answer to both questions is “no”, point your finger at your lack of food exposure instead of your lack of will power or self-control.

Don’t blame the food after the candy bingeIt’s really “Food Deprivation

The more we abstain from a food, the more our brains like to fixate on it. How often are we actually around Candy Corn or Tootsie Rolls? No wonder it’s so tough to stop eating them. And, when we avoid the fun food long enough, we often feel guilt-free and give ourselves permission to “indulge”.

Why does “just one bite” often lead to a binge experience? This is the basic law of food deprivation. When we’re around an avoided food, our brains light up with interest — sometimes even as far as obsession. When we finally allow ourselves a bite, it’s often hard to stop.

Some clinicians connect the one bit to binge experience as food addiction. I’ve been keeping up with this research too, yet so far, it’s flawed. Until the researchers take into account food deprivation and habituation, the research means nothing — unless people become robots without free will.

Healing Hint: Rather than blaming yourself for the candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Have you been dieting? Have you been limiting the variety in your food choices? Have you been disrespecting hunger? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then point the finger at food deprivation.

Practice unconditional permission to eat

Allowing candy to remain around can help us navigate through different types of food. Is this too scary? You’re not alone.

There’s a way to heal this. It’s called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food, in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues ⎯ this should be the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from the book, Intuitive Eating, by Tribole and Resch. Life changing work is done within the framework of eating intuitively. I encourage you to read it.

To feel safer during Halloween and other holidays, be curious as to why the binge is happening, or happened. When you hear your self-talk blaming your lack of will-power or self-control, consider the science instead. Blame diets, food rules, and body hate. Learning to experience food with self-compassion and trust will help you eat to promote health and peace.

3 Reasons to Ditch that Halloween Switch Witch

Ditch the Switch Witch!On my Facebook page, a community member asked:

 What do you think about all these Switch Witch shenanigans?

I have been living under a rock lately and looked it up. If you have been a recluse too, this popular Switch Witch wants to rid kids of terrifying candy (boo!).

Candy Loot
Joyfully sorting and tasting the candy.

The witch hangs out with the family starting October first and disappears on Halloween, candy in tow. When the kids awaken the next day, the candy is gone yet they are all smiles with shiny new toys. Parents do not have to deal with the food fights. Everyone wins.

Sounds like a great solution, right?

Uh, no. Let me explain.

1.) Allowing Halloween candy helps your child practice how to be around all foods.

Like it or not, we live in a world with many different foods. Children are limited by what parents allow into the home and the structure they provide. We are required by law to feed our children and that makes them grow up. They leave us for college or trade school or when we get tired of each other and they move out. And the world will be their oyster. Or candy bar. They get to decide which foods they will have in their dwelling. Seinfeld speaks this awesome truth here:

If a child was never taught how to experience highly palatable (*I won’t use the word junk here*) food, he will learn later in life. A young adult never exposed to fun food will have a tough time eating them without shame. Shame never promotes health. This food relationship produces an adult who feels out of control around certain foods. For many, this develops into bingeing and secret eating. These are typical eating disorder behaviors. Oh what a web we weave.

2) Keeping Halloween candy out of the house has more to say about the adult’s inability to be around the food than keeping a child healthy.

Fun foods taste gooooood. And that is why we adults yearn for ideas like the Switch Witch. We don’t trust ourselves around the food and feel shame when we can’t stop eating them. So we avoid the candy or other yummy treats. Our solution: keep it out of the house. Then, when a special holiday food comes around (helloooo candy corn!), we feel guilt free enough to “indulge” and curse the candy when we succumb to the tummy ache alarm to stop noshing. This is not the food’s fault. This is the basic law of food deprivation. When we are around a novel food, our brains light up with interest. Sometimes even obsess. ¹ When we finally allow a bite, it is always hard to stop.

Allowing Halloween candy to remain around models how we as grown ups can navigate different types of food. Too scary? You are not alone.

There is a way to heal this. It is called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues is the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

Trick or treat!
Trick or treat!
  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch. Life changing work is done within its framework. I encourage you to check it out for yourself and your children.

3) Keeping the Halloween candy around will teach your children to not let food have more power than it deserves.

Imagine if you took your child into a room full of toys and said, “Play with any toy you like….except this one.” Even if the toy is a smelly old shoe, it will cause a 30 minute temper tantrum until the child is allowed to play with it. Go ahead try for yourself. I dare you.

Deciding which Halloween candy she enjoys.
Deciding which Halloween candy she enjoys.

Having a witch magically steal your child’s candy let’s them know these foods are forbidden. And a house that forbids food gives that food 100 times more power than it deserves. My clients affected by eating disorders spend too much time and energy thinking about forbidden foods. To the point they will not go to parties, or on dates. Their social life suffers. Some won’t even leave the house in fear they will have to face a forbidden food. I appreciate this is a strong statement and my work with eating disorder clients allows me to believe it: making candy a forbidden food is setting children up to experience disordered eating pathology. And, yes, that is very serious.

Where can we find help navigating the parental decisions around Halloween candy? Ellyn Satter has the best recommendations. I reread them every year. Spend time reading her recommendations here. And ditch that witch.

Footnote (i.e. best part of any blog post) ¹ This may bring up food addiction for many. You don’t have to send me articles or scholarly journals on food addiction since I am keeping up with the research. Until they control for food deprivation, the research means nothing unless you are a robot without free will.