I hated my life for so long. The longer I hated my life, the more I loved Halloween. I think it’s because I did hate my life, and Halloween allowed me to become whoever I wanted to be. Most of my Halloween costumes have been kind of gruesome: a decapitated head, half a face and a person being eaten by a shark. Now that I’ve finally grown into loving my life and the person I’ve become, I still love Halloween. What I don’t love is being surrounded by so many tempting treats. Once you’ve had bariatric surgery, the candy that’s so prevalent this time of year can not only derail your progress but also make you sick. Don’t worry, I’ve got seven tips for you to say no to the sugary treats this year. Avoid eating Halloween candy to prevent dumping syndrome and stay on track.
Eat a High-Protein/-Fiber Meal
My first tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to eat a meal that is high in protein and high in fiber. While this tip is good for any time of the year, I find it particularly helpful when you are faced with a circumstance where you might be tempted to sway from the bariatric lifestyle. By eating a meal high in protein and fiber, you’re going to get full quicker and stay full longer. Vegetables high in fiber take longer for your stomach to digest, so satiety stays around for longer. The longer food stays in your stomach and keeps you full, the less tempted you’ll be to consume sugary-Halloween treats.
Slow down and savor the meal. Appreciate that your new stomach gets full quicker than before. Enjoy the food as it hits your mouth. Chew each bite 20 to 30 times. Put down your fork between bites. Eat without distraction. By making an event out of your meal, you’ll be less likely to want to ruin that progress by eating something that is going to most likely make you sick and not feeling well. So your first tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to eat a meal high in protein and fiber.
Plan a Healthy Treat to Avoid Eating Halloween Candy
Just because we can’t have sugar-rich candy, doesn’t mean we can’t plan a treat for ourselves. My second tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to plan a healthy treat. It’s my opinion that we need to find bariatric-friendly alternatives to the foods we once loved. This allows us to treat ourselves once in a while without fear of dumping syndrome and getting sick. By planning a healthy treat for yourself, you’re going to lessen your desire to want the candy that’s going to do more harm than good to your body.
My favorite healthy treats are black-bean brownies and banana nice cream. Black-bean brownies use drained black-beans instead of flour as the base for the brownies. I know it sounds odd, but the beans give the brownies a fudgy-texture. I like to make a batch and freeze them, so I can warm them up whenever I please. The Bariatric Food Dude has a great recipe for black-bean brownies. Check it out here.
Banana nice cream, on the other hand, is a cool treat made from, you guessed it, bananas. I love adding PB2 or peanut butter to the mixture! I also add nuts and sugar-free Hershey’s syrup for a real treat. It reminds me of a Peanut Buster Parfait, which was my treat of choice from Dairy Queen. St. Louis Bariatrics lists the basic steps for banana nice cream here. Either of these treats would be a great way to avoid the temptation and possible dumping associated with Halloween candy.
My third tip to avoid Halloween candy is to buy sugar-free candy just for you! Hershey makes several sugar-free varieties of your favorite candies, like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, York Peppermint Patties and even Twizzlers. I find them in CVS quite frequently. Whenever I’m craving candy, I always buy these varieties to satisfy my sweet tooth. I eat a few, then freeze the rest so they last me a long time.
Additionally, if hard candies are more your speed, check out the Dollar Tree. They have a few different hard candies in sugar-free varieties. Candies I enjoy are Werther’s Originals and Butterscotch hard candy (yes, I may be a 90-year old grandma trapped in a 30-something body). However, when you are living a bariatric lifestyle and don’t want to be completely left out, buying sugar-free varieties are a great alternative to feel included. Try not to eat too many, as even artificial sugars can cause dumping syndrome in some patients. So, your third tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to buy sugar-free varieties for yourself.
Buy Candy You Don’t Like
I think one of the biggest pleasures of being a bariatric patient is that because my stomach can hold only a small amount of food, I get to be more selective of the food I put into it. I only eat foods I really love now, and not just something to “fill the void.” For this reason, my fourth tip for you to avoid eating Halloween candy is to buy candy you don’t like. If you’re handing out candy, buy the candies that aren’t your favorite. It’s much easier for me to say no to a Kit-Kat than it would be for a Snicker’s bar. Because my stomach is precious real-estate now, a Kit-Kat has no place in it ever.
You can still enjoy handing out candy to the children in your neighborhood by purchasing candy you don’t like. You won’t be tempted to sneak a piece if it’s something that just doesn’t do it for you. Using my third tip, buy the sugar-free variety of the candy you do love and savor a few pieces instead of eating the sugar-rich candy you don’t like. Therefore, my fourth tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to buy candy you don’t like to hand out to trick-or-treaters.
Remind Yourself of Your Goals
If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you know I talk about this often. This tactic has gotten me through so many emotional eating episodes or times when I just want to be lazy. Your fifth tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to remind yourself of your goals. Why did you want to lose weight in the first place? Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to be around to see your kids grow up and get married? Do you want to be able to do more things? Think of your reason why you want to lose weight. While it’s true that one piece of candy won’t completely ruin your progress, but are you going to be able to stop at one piece? Most likely not, so it’s best to avoid the candy altogether.
Also, reframe your mind. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on all the things you can have. You can have alternative treats. You can run around and keep up with your kids. Think of all the non-scale victories you’ve had since you started losing weight. Do you want to risk the progress you’ve made for a few moments of sugar-rich candy that’s probably going to make you sick? Probably not. Therefore, your fifth tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to remind yourself of your goals and all the things you can do in a smaller body.
Hydrate & Rest
Girl, let me tell you. It’s far easier to stay committed to your goals when you are well hydrated and rested up. Your sixth tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to make sure to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest. Instead of “treating” yourself with a piece of candy, how about treating yourself with a nap? You work hard, you deserve it. When you are well-hydrated and well-rested, it’s far easier to say no to tempting treats.
The night before trick or treat, try to get to bed an hour earlier. Your body and mind will appreciate the extra rest. With a well-rested mind, it becomes stronger to stay focused on your goals and not want the tempting treats. Plus, pair it with the other tips on this post, and you’ll be the poster-child of discipline. Little do people know that you had a cheat-sheet of seven tricks to avoid Halloween candy. Thankfully, remaining hydrated and well-rested will allow you to avoid the sweet treats and the uncomfortable dumping syndrome.
Start a New Tradition
If the thought of handing out tempting treats is too much for your willpower to handle, then start a new tradition with your family. Instead of trick or treating, spend a night doing family activities. You could paint pumpkins as a family, or dress up in a family costume. I’ve seen so many great families during trick-or-treating now dress up in coordinated costumes. Some of my favorites have been characters from Mario Brothers, Disney characters and even the whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gang.
Another new tradition you could start is baking apples. Just slice in half, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in the oven. They are so good! You could even have some banana nice cream to the center when they come out! It’d be like apple pie a-la-mode. Sit around and tell ghost stories. Grab a few pieces of candy for the kiddos, but otherwise, spend time together as a family. I’m guessing your kids won’t even miss all that candy and will love spending time together instead. For this reason, your seventh and final tip to avoid eating Halloween candy is to start a new tradition.
Focus on The Good
Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, continue focusing on what you can. The high-protein, high-fiber meal will make you full, so you won’t want to eat unhealthy candy. Start a new family tradition like baking apples or painting pumping. Enjoy healthy treats like black-bean brownies or sugar-free candies so you don’t feel deprived. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep so that your will-power muscle is strong. Remind yourself of your goals and where you want to be. That sugar-laden candy won’t even stand a chance in your presence. Avoid eating Halloween candy to prevent dumping and stay on track.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free eBook with the 10 Habits to Change Before Bariatric Surgery, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
1. Eat a meal high in protein and fiber to keep you full.
2. Plan a healthy treat for yourself, like black-bean brownies.
3. Buy sugar-free varieties of your favorite candies, like Werther’s or Hershey’s.
4. Buy candy that you don’t like to hand out to trick or treaters, so you won’t be tempted to eat it.
5. Remind yourself of your goals and focus on the things you can have and do.
6. Hydrate and get plenty of rest so that you will-power muscle is strong.
7. Start a new tradition, like painting pumpkins or making baked apples.