As dreadful as it is to have Christmas decorations in the stores before Halloween, there's no help for it: one must acknowledge the holiday season is really and truly just around the corner. And that, of course, means nightmare potential for those of us trying to stay on track with our health.
Now, don't be hatin', but Halloween isn't a food problem for me. I don't get excited about candy (high end chocolate notwithstanding, and as much as I love it, for some reason I am capable of eating just a piece or two at a time). I don't have kids myself, and though when I'm at home I do buy candy for trick-or-treaters, it doesn't tempt me. Also, we're the house that insists kids grab a big handful, instead of a polite two pieces like their parents are urging. Hey, they have to deal with the sugar rush; we just want the stuff out of the house.
But I'm not here to gloat. What do you do if you have kids, and have to buy candy and have it in the house? What do you do if you work in a place where people are bringing in their leftover candy and leaving it right there in the break room, or on their desk? Taunting you?
Regarding buying candy: Wait until the last possible moment to bring it into the house. Yes, I know this means that you will either have to buy the sucky candy or the expensive kind. I know it means you'll have to run up to Walmart or the grocery store or CVS and fight some other frantic parent for the last bag of Tootsie rolls in the ravaged aisle. But look at it this way: you're saving your soul.* Well, at the very least, your waistline.
Whatever you do, do NOT buy the candy you like. Even as I write this, I know you're coming up with excuses for WHY you have to get Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or everybody's guilty secret passion, candy corn (or those cute little pumpkins which you KNOW are nothing more than HFCS and artificial coloring). Your kids will be disappointed. You don't want to be the house with the sucky candy. But you know the truth: your kids will get PLENTY of candy elsewhere. You can give out other "good" candy that doesn't tempt you. And the real reason you're coming up with excuses is 'cause deep down, you want to set up a situation where you will have an excuse to eat some of that candy.
If you have a candy habit, you just can't bring it into the house. You cannot have it sitting around. Get it at the last minute, or have your spouse buy it and hide it somewhere you can never find it; and make sure every last piece of it leaves the house.
And have a piece. Have five pieces. But plan ahead to have them. Eat them slowly and relish them. And once they're gone, tell yourself firmly that they were good, and you enjoyed them and that was fine, and then move on to some activity that gets you busy and away from all food.
As for your kids' candy ... well. Put it in Tupperware with their names on it and HIDE IT. Keep it out of sight. Let them have the box once a day and get however many pieces you allow them, and then it goes back into hiding. Sure, you'll know where it is, but at least you don't have to look at it. Set an "eat by" date after which that candy has to be out of the house. Remember, it's your soul!*
In the workplace, you can't control what people bring. It'd be nice if you were able to contribute to the establishment of a workplace culture which veered towards healthy snacks, but let's face it, even if it's possible it ain't gonna happen between now and Christmas, so you're stuck for another season. In the meantime, you need a plan.
First of all, you need to plan to eat SOME of what you want and what tempts you. If you know that the boss' wife is going to drop off her famous pumpkin bread and you've just got to have a piece, plan on that and schedule a nice salad instead of a sandwich for lunch. Even if you don't know what delicious land mines might be awaiting you on any given day, you can plan ahead for the season.
If you do well with avoiding temptation, then you can use tools like your reminders, or leaving the area where the food is located, or distracting yourself with an activity to control unplanned eating. You can bring healthy but still-tempting snacks to enjoy self-righteously while everybody else is stuffing their pieholes with HFCS and meat slurry. **
But if you are still struggling hard with stopping that candy-filled fist before it reaches your own piehole, you may need to get creative. First, you should absolutely try the aforementioned tools. You should absolutely work on stopping and thinking, recognizing what you are doing, being honest with yourself about the fact that you are about to eat unplanned food and why (no, it is not because you skipped lunch and it is not okay just because you didn't eat some of your planned food earlier ... the only reason you are eating this now is because you want to) and refusing to make excuses. Eat it if you must, but own it. And you should absolutely work some of those tempting goodies into your weekly food plan.
But if you're having real trouble with staying out of the candy jar at work, see if you can cut 100-200 calories a day out of your regular food plan to accommodate your weakness. Up your exercise during this time of extra temptation. Cook with less fat and eat fewer carbs at home. This will not address the underlying problem, which has to do with reprogramming how you respond to food cues, and is an ongoing process which requires a lot of time and hard work and perseverence. But it will help you with a short term fix to minimize the damage to your diet during this especially tempting time.
* This is a joke. The author does not actually believe that eating off plan endangers one's immortal soul. Wearing mom jeans is another matter entirely.
** This is also a joke. The author realizes that most Halloween candy does not in fact contain meat slurry. She just likes to say "meat slurry". She thinks it is both funny and scary, and thus most appropriate for the season.