Have you ever felt a twinge of guilt as you helped yourself to your favourite chocolate bars from your child’s stash of candy, on their return home from trick or treating? Have you helped yourself from the bowl of candy inside your front door, even before the kids arrived to your door in their Halloween costumes?
I certainly have. Having grown up in Ireland, my first experience of trick or treating was when we became foster parents and went door to door around our neighbourhood with our foster kids. The best part was when we got home and the kids emptied out their pillowslip full of candy onto the floor. They then counted and arranged them according to type, and I would ask for samples of my favourites – the Kit Kats and Caramilks!
We had a rule at our house in the interests of sanity and healthy teeth, that only so many candies were eaten each day. But the disadvantage of course was that the candies were stored for weeks in large stainless steel bowls on top of our washing machine, and were a constant temptation every time we entered the laundry!
On one occasion my foster son noticed the level of his candy was rapidly going down and asked, ”Can’t a person have even one personal boundary around here?” Oops! I confessed to the crime and suggested he give me a consequence which he was happy to do!
But one Halloween I made a plan to resist all temptation on Oct 31st, and didn’t eat a single candy or chocolate that day or for several days afterwards. Although it was only a short time, I was very pleased that I had managed to resist temptation and surprised that it wasn’t more difficult. Let me share what I learned from this in these six tips
- The first is to make a decision. I decided at the beginning of the day I was not going to eat candy. Decisions are a very powerful way to start a change.
- Visualise your success. I imagined different scenarios where I might be tempted, and said no, walked away and got involved in something else
- Take action. I followed through with what I decided to do.
- Be specific. I decided on a finite amount of time which was for Oct 31st, but was realistic enough not to promise I would never eat chocolate again. That is a bigger project!
- Don’t keep temptations around. I reduced my level of temptation by buying the kinds of candy I didn’t like, getting them at the last minute so they weren’t around too long and avoiding my favourites – Kitkats and Caramilks.
- Put your attention on other things. Lastly, it is a good idea to distract yourself if you are in danger of dwelling on candy. You might put on some music and dance for two minutes for example, or brush your teeth.
Try these tips for Halloween and see how they work for you. Perhaps you will decide to limit the number of candies you eat, rather than eliminate them. This is also worthwhile. The key is to decide rather than wait for temptation to hit. I would be interested to hear – “What are your strategies to resist temptation?”