I eat Halloween candy. I also eat many other types of sweets and deserts in moderation, without it being a problem. I don’t think recovery requires me or anyone to eat sweets in moderation, or avoid them altogether. I think that is a personal choice, one that is not exclusive to eating disorders. Everyone has to decide whether to eat sweets or not and how much sweet food to eat; and every Halloween, we are all faced with the temptation of a few too many pieces of candy.
When I was a senior in college (and bulimic), I remember buying a large bag of peanut butter cups for trick-or-treaters. I lived alone in a duplex house at the time, so I knew it was a possibility for me to get some kids knocking on my door on Halloween night. Sweets were dangerous to me, and when I bought the peanut butter cups, I knew it was a risk that I’d eat them all before Halloween. Sure enough, I ate all the candy in one sitting during a binge the day before Halloween. So, on Halloween night, I turned off my outside light, and didn’t answer the door.
It’s amazing to me now that we can keep bags of candy or junk food in the house, and I don’t view it as “dangerous” at all. For example, with both my older kids, we used M&M’s as rewards for potty training, so we kept large bags of M&M’s in our pantry for well over a year. I had a few M&M’s here and there, maybe a couple times a week. It’s been the same with Halloween candy since my recovery. Today, my kids trick-or-treating containers are sitting on our kitchen table; I’ve had a few pieces in the past few days that I knew they wouldn’t like, but I don’t feel drawn to it.
Eating Halloween candy, or any other types of sweets for that matter, no longer triggers urges to binge. Sometimes eating something sweet triggers a desire for a little more of the sweet, but that is just natural. When faced with an inkling for a little more candy, I have to make the same choice that normal eaters face every day – have a little extra or don’t, but no matter what choice I make, it never leads to binge eating.
Recovery doesn’t have to mean a life void of simple pleasures from food, like a few pieces of Halloween candy.