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Jack-o-lanternsHalloween is just around the corner. How could I forget? My kids have been reminding me every day that we – gasp! – didn’t purchase our Halloween candy yet. Waiting until T-minus-5 days to buy the candy is apparently cutting things too close.

In this case, I have just not gotten around to it yet. But I know for many people, having Halloween candy in the house too early is a recipe for disaster. One by fun-size one, the candy bars mysteriously disappear days before the trick or treaters arrive. And it ain’t the kids who are sneaking it. And so it begins.. the downward slide that will end with pristine New Year’s resolutions to eat better and lose weight.

Have you ever had a Halloween candy hangover? It’s not uncommon. For many people, the Butterfinger dust will barely settle before they are already planning their Thanksgiving feast. A feast which, with all the leftovers, will turn into a turkey-cranberries-stuffing hangover.

Which leads into holiday parties, holiday baking, and more feasts. And a likely candy-cane-and-chocolate-Santa hangover. For those who do not celebrate Christmas, it might be a potato latke hangover.

But it all starts with Halloween.

This feeding frenzy can start even earlier, if you break open the bags of candy before October 31.

You might feel like there is no point in watching what you eat in this time period, because there are so many holidays and parties you’ll blow your eating plan too frequently anyway. So what the heck, it’s time to splurge.

Or you might feel like you wont’t be able to control yourself with holiday foods around you so often. So what the heck, it’s time to splurge.

Or you might try to control what you eat, even during this extended holiday time. But the harder you try, the more you realize you can’t resist. So what the heck, it’s time to splurge.

You didn’t intend to overeat, but that’s what happens anyway. And the bad part is, you don’t even enjoy the food because you feel like you’re cheating.

Luckily, you can have a different experience during the holidays. Even with leftover Halloween candy. Even with the upcoming parties and feasts.

There’s no need for a two-month sugar-and-turkey-bender. And you don’t even need to “watch” what you eat.

When you learn to make peace with food and your body, you can be around any food without looking over your shoulder. If you are hungry for a certain food you can eat it — and be satisfied with a smaller amount than you might imagine is possible.

As long as there are “shoulds” about food, it gives the food power. That power keeps the restrict-overeat-guilt cycle going. On the other hand, leaning in and asking yourself what food would be satisfying is an amazingly freeing way to live.

This is a major reframe of how so many people deal with food. But being able to enjoy any food without guilt (and without scarfing down five pounds of it) is golden.