On Halloween night I went out trick or treating with my friend’s daughter. Since she’s ten, she’s still young enough to want to do a stiff-limbed Frankenstein run up and down the street with me and would dutifully holler out, “Exterminate!” when I called after her to remember her catch phrase (she was dressed as a Dalek).
Ten year olds these days are hard to scare though. One house had gone all out with a full cemetery in the front yard, strobe lights, and creeping ghouls one had to dodge past in order to earn candy. She calmly explained to the ghoul that after playing Five Nights at Freddy’s nothing much scared her anymore. The ghoul just looked at me and shrugged.
It was a great time, and my Halloween loving neighborhood did not disappoint.
The next morning, I perused this article over my morning coffee. It details the cost (in jumping jacks) of each piece of “fun sized” candy consumed with the expectation that repentant post-Halloween dieters will be killing ourselves over the next few days frantically trying to burn off the extra chocolate. God forbid we all enjoy a silly holiday without feeling extreme guilt over the consumption of treat food.
I shrugged and made myself a bowl of oatmeal.
I ate candy on Halloween night, dipping into my stash for the visiting kids enough times that I probably need to do jumping jacks straight through the rest of the week non-stop as supposed penance, but I really don’t care. I’ll go back to the gym as usual, and go about my normal non-chocolate consuming life. I'm not interested in using physical activity as punishment for enjoying tasty food. My Zumba and Yoga classes are for physical fitness, relaxation and fun.
I remember being in weight loss support groups and garnering applause for suffering through Halloween without eating a single piece of candy, but I’m done with that all or nothing thinking now. I don’t consume candy most days, having it perhaps once every couple of months. Neither am I going to self-flagellate for my supposed ‘badness’ on days that I do. I will enjoy Halloween, and Christmas, and Thanksgiving, and Easter, and not spend those days stressing over whether I’ve managed to create a calorie deficit while celebrating. Nor am I plotting and planning a week in advance for how to at least break calorically even.
In our calorie dense environment restraint is necessary to think about, but holidays come only a few times a year, and they are to be enjoyed. Life is too precious to do otherwise.