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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Halloween Candy; Binge Eating vs. Self-Care

Halloween CandyI did something this year I have NEVER done before. I decided NOT to buy or give out Halloween Candy. Here’s why.

For the past two weeks I have been listening to my coaching clients talk about their anxiety about Halloween Candy; buying and then eating it before, during, and of course after Halloween (there’s usually leftover candy because we always end up buying too much). I have even heard this from people who say they rarely get trick or treaters at their door but buy candy every year “just in case”. Hmm, a set up for binge eating on candy?

I admit. I identified. In years past, Halloween Candy has led to many a binge for me. In recent years, in recovery, I have addressed this by buying candy I did not like; instead of bags and bags of mini chocolate bars, I’d buy DOTS or Smarties. But by the time Halloween night was up, I’d be so stressed from the dog barking for hours and trying to keep her locked in my bedroom that I be into the candy; picking rubbery DOTs from between my teeth ;-).

So, this year, I choose to put my self-care first! Just because I have a home does not mean I HAVE to buy and give out candy! The kids in my neighborhood will not be deprived if they do not get candy from me! So, rather than sequester the dog and be surrounded by candy before, during, and after the two hours designated for Trick or Treating in my neighborhood, I will be in my room watching a movie. The front of my house will appear dark, so I doubt many kids will ring the bell.  If they do, they do. (I am lucky that I can easily make this choice –no kids at home). What if I were out of town, or at a friend’s Halloween Party? In truth, I do not need an excuse to practice self-care! That’s recovery!

Even though some recovery experts will say people in recovery from emotional or binge eating should be able to have even old triggers food around the house without bingeing, here’s what I think. If you have a history of feeling triggered by having lots of candy in your house, it is what it is. If so, is there anything you can do to make this Halloween less stressful for you? If it feels like self-care to do so, do you have a plan to get rid of leftover candy…even if that means throwing it out—in the garbage can outside 🙂 ?

No where is it written that we HAVE to buy and give out Halloween Candy!  My comfort in recovery comes first! So does yours!


Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder treatment; a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating, compulsive eating, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out  Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). She is a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com, 513-321-4242.


  1. Karen Scherling says

    WOW, I’m so glad I read this. I wrote earlier this morning that I was have a tough time. Part of this was Christmas Cookies in the freezer from an exchange I attended. I consciously got rid of many of them but I needed them all out of the house or perhaps not ever having them in the house at all. I’m getting a clear message that keeping food triggers out of the house is for me a healthy behavior. Also, think coming to the aweigh site in times of stress is a good strategy. I’m adding these to my list. 🙂

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