Note from Carolyn: Do have questions about the herbal detox drink we share here at Meridian?  Join us this Wednesday night as we talk with Dr. Miller, the formulator.  Click HERE for details.
And if candy is a problem for you, let Halloween be the turning point for a healthy holiday season.  Click HERE.

Happy Halloween!  It’s such a fun, creative, expressive time of the year.  Candy, of course, is always the center of so much of it and has played a bigger personal role than I’m proud of — even during my Weight Watcher Leader days.  I’d attempt to hold off and limit my indulging to a couple of hours on the big night.  There were some years I could really do that, but they were the exception.  It was a little scary to realize that once I’d opened the first bag to offer our trick-or-treaters, my thoughts were not my own.  Who was taking over?  Where was that evil chuckling coming from?  Ohhhh …. Noooooo!  My own personal Halloween candy monster was lurking in the shadows … again!

He quietly arrived in mid-October as I purchased bags of candy for trick-or-treaters and the school parties, and stayed well into November with the amount of candy that my children brought home.  My competitive sons reveled in the sport of collecting it on Halloween night and seeing who could bring home the most.  They’d start with a small bag early in the evening, then return an hour or so later for pillow cases.  Returning one last time for the red wagon to drag their booty through the far reaches of the neighborhood, at last they would come home to reveal the spoils of the night! There were cascades and waterfalls of it spilling onto the floor, which quickly evolved into a childhood dream-come-true of literally rolling in it.   This was followed by the great delight of sorting, piling counting, trading and comparing.  Of course they ate as they went along … but their mom was stuffing in more.  The candy monster laughed with glee and knew that I was in his deadly grips for weeks to come.  Funny, I was the only one who could hear and feel him breathing down my neck. Within two-three days, they were done with Halloween candy and moving onto other things.  The candy-loaded pillowcases were tossed in a bedroom closet where they languished and were forgotten.

But not by me, their ever-loving Mom.  Wow. These weeks of November were not my shining moments.  I was like a little rodent, squirreling through it while they were at school.  The candy monster sat on the bed and hooted with laughter.  Eventually the sad day arrived when all that was left were the Mary Janes and dum-dum suckers.  The candy monster finally shrugged his shoulder and left, smug in the knowledge that Thanksgiving and Christmas were fast approaching.

An even sadder day for me was just around the corner when my cute outfits and slacks for Thanksgiving were too snug to comfortably wear.  The holidays had barely arrived, but I was out of sorts emotionally and physically.  What a sad and distressing way to start the happiest time of the year!

Though some years were definitely better than others – especially as they outgrew trick-or-treating, the candy monster was still alive and well until exactly one year ago, I honestly faced up to the realities of my life-long sugar addiction with the help of my Heavenly Father and the LDS Addiction Recovery Program.  (My Meridian article series “The Sweetest Thing” about this are linked at the bottom.)

What a difference a year makes! Though not dead, the Halloween candy monster has not stalked me for quite some time. Last night at our Ward Trunk or Treat party, I wore my absolute skinniest jeans, with a bandanna and cowboy hat.  We took our vegetarian chili that the rest of the Ward loved too (recipe below.)  I didn’t eat any candy, nor was I tempted to. We didn’t take any candy either, choosing to contribute to the evening in other ways.   We had the best time with all our friends, young and old!   Candy, either eating it there or bringing some home, could not have made the evening any sweeter. Could I have said that several years ago?  Even one year ago?  No.  Stay in your closet, Halloween Candy Monster!

On a higher plane, as I continue to face my sugar challenge, I realize I’m surrounded by people with life-time physical handicaps!  I cherish them and how they graciously accept the limitations of their mortal bodies.  I want to be like them.

Each day at the elementary school where I work, there’s a little class of mentally and physically handicapped children. One especially darling little boy, about 10, has one arm and hand that is deformed, with one arm quite a bit shorter than the other. There’s a great big scar on his head where there’s been some type of surgery done.  He can walk, but it’s with a strange limp/gait.  He has some speech problems as well. But oh, what a smile and cute personality!  He is friendly and thrilled with every day.  His enthusiasm is absolutely contagious.

Someone else I know who lives with great grace with the bag from a colostomy and deals with that, while another neighbor’s muscle disorder has now left him in a wheelchair for life.

In fact, as I look around, I am surrounded by people who have had to come to terms with what their bodies will and will not do.

They don’t get to “choose” which days they’ll deal with it, or have a “down” day where they don’t use the wheelchair, arm brace or colostomy bag.  They have no choice but to be creative in accepting it graciously, or being bitter and a burden to those around them.

My emotional and physical disability is that I do not function well with sugar, especially candy at Halloween.

However, I function EXTREMELY well when I accept this personal truth and turn to my Heavenly Father and has helped me to find genuine comfort and help in addressing stress, temptation and desires to eat things that do not build health.

There are many, I know, who can enjoy a little Halloween candy and walk away.  I cannot.  I do not judge.  How grateful (and relieved!) I am to know that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and healthy grains throughout the day in accordance with the Word of Wisdom satisfies my body physically. This leaves me deliciously free to enjoy the sweetest and best of the Halloween fun:  the children, the costumes, the creativity, the beauties of the autumn season, the decorations, and most especially, the marvel of our human bodies.  It is truly our gift from Heavenly Father for us to experience the joys and overcome the challenges of our mortal journey.

Happy Halloween!

Needing some inspiration for fun Halloween Food?

Carolyn’s Vegetarian Crockpot Chili

2 cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of low-sodium stewed tomatoes
1 cup of frozen or canned corn (drained)
1 package of chili seasoning mix
1 extra large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup of low-sodium vegetable broth.

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 4-hours.

Healthy Halloween Treat Resources

64 Super Cute and Non-Candy Halloween snack ideas

More Halloween Snacks;utm_source=ask

Carolyn’s Meridian Articles on Sugar Addiction and the LDS Addiction Recovery Program
The Sweetest Thing I
The Sweetest Thing II
The Sweetest Thing III

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.

She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where she is the Primary chorister and they team-teach Missionary Preparation for the Annandale Stake CES Institute program. 

Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian!