We humans are not good with uncertainty. In fact, we haaaate it! We will use all manner of coping mechanisms to deal with or avoid the profoundly uncomfortable feelings that come up as a result of this level of uncertainty.
If eating Hallowe’en candy is your way of dealing with the AAGGHHHHH of this week/year, then that is 100% totally, TOTALLY okay.
If you are a kid-free household sans candy and you find yourself doing a late-night cupboard raid for chocolate chips and crackers, that is ok, too. (In fact, I would suggest skipping the side of shame, taking those snacks down from the cupboard, having a seat at the kitchen table, and just enjoying them instead of cramming them in your mouth before anyone sees.)
We have laminated so much moral meaning on to food—making certain foods either “good” or “bad”—that we then transfer that meaning on to the person eating them. (Honestly, nothing illustrates this better than the I’m So Bad sketch from Inside Amy Schumer. Just watch the clip, I can’t do it justice.) You are literally not a bad person if you ate so many Starburst fruit chews that you feel sick. Let’s save that label “bad” for behaviour like cyberbullying your niece (again, just watch the Amy Schumer clip.)
At the heart of learning to become ok with yourself and your body is a paradox, one that can be a massive mindfuck if you don’t have some good support systems in place. The paradox is this: the more that you give yourself complete and total permission to eat Hallowe’en candy (and anything else around you that seems “forbidden”), the more the candy will lose its appeal.
When you allow yourself to dive deep into all the Mars bars you could possibly stomach, that Mars bar sitting there on the counter has all the charge taken right out of it. It becomes just another no-big-deal object you have on the counter, like an apple. It just sits there, waiting for you to either choose to eat it or not.
For a lot of folks who want to experiment with this approach, there is a temptation to get straight to the “food losing its appeal” portion of the paradox, and they will rush through eating a bunch of food in the hopes that it will “cure” them. This doesn’t work. True emotional permission needs to be present; otherwise, you’re just sneaking food past yourself, and what’s the point of that?
Humans are weird, and the thing about us is that the more food rules we have, the more charged our food gets, and the more temptation to break those rules build up and up and up until we can’t take it anymore.
Want to know more this? Check out Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch or book me in for a free coaching consultation and we can start working together to get you to a place where a peanut butter cup is just one more, no-big-deal in your pantry.