What Halloween Traditions Can Teach Us About Dieting

Halloween Traditions Mirror Dieting and Weight Loss Misconceptions
Halloween traditions can teach us about ourselves.

The holidays bring excitement, fun, and food, but they also give us an opportunity to take a closer look at ourselves and our weight-loss goals.

Why do you enjoy dressing up in costumes?

Are you brave enough to find out?

Halloween traditions have disintegrated for us. 

Since we live in a basement apartment right now, we no longer have kids knocking on our front door, yelling, “Trick or Treat.”

There's just silence.

Up to this point in our lives, hubby would purchase enough Halloween candy to over-spill a huge popcorn bowl, kick back in his hefty easy chair, watch the History channel, and eagerly listen for the tiny patter of footsteps and chatter to make its way to the front porch and ring the doorbell.

Each year, however, that pattering and chatter has grown more distant, until last year – when Halloween totally evaporated into the nothing.

Now, instead of a dozen kids bringing a smile to hubby's face on Halloween night, there is just us. October 31st will be like any other night now.

Halloween traditions might be rekindled once we move to Texas, where our granddaughter lives, but for right now, they are simmering on the back burner. These annual traditions are history for us, but not forgotten.

Child Trick or Treating on Halloween
We longer get Trick-or-Treaters
at our door on Halloween.

When you decide to enter a carbohydrate-restricted lifestyle, your old way of doing things disintegrates. The ideals, if you care to create them, change in substance, but not necessarily in purpose.

Purpose rarely changes unless you reach a point in life's journey where you are ready to look at the real motivations for what you do and re-evaluate those motivations. What people call purpose, such as going on a diet, is simply an ideal.

Modern society has conditioned us to seek self-improvement, so we create goals to wear over the top of our real purpose like a Halloween costume.

That costume's purpose might be to help us look different to others, and possibly even different to ourselves, but wearing a mask doesn't change what we are.

Pinterest Image: Halloween Ghost Lollipops

When We Reach Our Weight-Loss Goal, What Then?

Everything in our environment, and that includes our morphed Halloween traditions, has been set up by a loving creator to be a reflection of ourselves.

This is how life works.

Everything from holiday traditions to weight-loss diets to the boss at the office, is there to teach us something about our motivations and desires.

Halloween Costumes and Masks: Our Desire to be Different
Halloween Costumes:
reflect our desire to be different

We are free to invent ghouls and goblins to blame our current unhappiness on. We can dress up in outlandish costumes and pretend to be someone else. Maybe, we'll decide to play Halloween party games or compete with family and friends for the spotlight.

Many also see Halloween as fun and exciting because candy lights up the pleasure centers in the brain.

However, reaching our weight-loss ideal only brings temporary happiness because life is dynamic. It is always in a state of flux. Life spins in a spiral. It doesn't stagnate. Life either evolves or it disintegrates.

When you reach that weight-loss goal you're coveting, or any other ideal, there will always be another challenge to take its place. Happiness is short-lived.

For example, once you diet yourself down to the weight you want to be, you then have to maintain that weight loss with no reward on the scale and no one to pat you on the back for a job well done.

Thin woman standing by herself on a bridge
Maintenance brings new challenges
with no rewards and no fanfare.

To maintain a lower weight than you are right now, you'll have to struggle against hunger, appetite, and feelings of deprivation, feeling left out because you still can't have the type of foods you'd like to eat.

You'll probably also nurse a lot of worry about gaining the weight back.

In other words, pre-maintenance and maintenance is not a stress-free environment. If anything, these phases are more stressful and require more attention than being in the weight-loss phase.

Are Low-Carb Diets Worth the Effort?

If maintenance is so difficult, is it even worth the time and effort to go on a weight-loss diet?

That depends on how you perceive dieting in general.

If you have decided, with strong feelings, that dieting is the way you are going to get the ideal you are chasing after, then no matter which diet you choose, it's going to be disintegrating to the body.

When lowering your carb and/or calorie intake is seen as deprivation or a temporary restriction that you've decided to put up with, rather than something you joyfully want to do, your cortisol level will rise and the spiritual Life force will prepare you energetically to deal with that physical emergency.

Only there isn't any physical emergency.

You've simply set up a situation where your feelings will get hurt on a consistent basis until the ideal you see as utopia is reached.

Architect Designing a Cardboard City
Most people are working on creating a world
where there are no challenges, just happiness
all of the time.

Since deprivation and the side effects of high cortisol levels are not comfortable, people who have made losing weight an ideal are often frantic and insistent on seeing the number on the scale move, each and every day, which only increases their misery.

On the other hand, if you have decided, with strong feelings, that a particular weight-loss diet is the way you want to live the rest of your life due to its hormonal balancing power and/or other health benefits, then you won't experience feelings of deprivation or believe that carbohydrate restriction is a temporary situation.

With no emergency, cortisol won't rise, and the diet will work as it should because you are not blocking life's work.

Seeing Halloween Traditions for What They Are

In my experience, the greater majority of people who use dieting to achieve their purpose in life are looking for a miracle cure to make them feel better about themselves.

You might have gone from diet to diet for many years looking for answers, or this might be the very first time you have ever restricted what you eat, but the main reason for going on a diet – any diet – is still the same:

You believe that life should always be pleasant and since being fat is looked down on by society or a particular individual in your life, you think that you are not worthy of living unless you raise yourself up to meet that standard.

This attitude is the attitude I see most often in dieters.

In essence, you are looking for a Halloween mask or costume that you can wear, so others will accept you, pay attention to you, or take you seriously. And yep, for some people, this goes for themselves. We can be much harder on ourselves than others can be.

For that reason, you might think that getting rid of that excess body fat – right now – and looking how you want to look will help you avoid criticism, including self-criticism, but it rarely works out that way.

People who are in a state of fault-finding and critical thought will just find something else about you that they don't like. Your weight has nothing to do with how others treat you.

What people say and do is about them, not you.

Criticizing you for what you look like is how they are attempting to feel better about their own insecurities.

It's a bit different than putting on a Halloween mask where you believe you need to be different to avoid discomfort. These individuals believe that if “you” were different, they would no longer feel miserable.

That is not true.

If you see others as ghouls and goblins, ready to attack you at every turn, you will always feel like a victim, and your weight will always be an issue – no matter what you do or how you look.

Even if you do manage to reach a healthy weight, due to sheer physical willpower, you will still see yourself as being fat and ugly.

What's the Answer?

The only way to really find peace within yourself is to shed the costume you're currently wearing and just BE what you want to be, regardless of what anyone else thinks, says, or does.

Pleasing others, when you really don't want to, only brings inner misery and pain. Inner conflict (you can't please others and yourself at the same time) keeps you living in fear of being rejected or ignored, even after you have reached your weight-loss goal.

Reaching goal weight won't control what others choose to do. Nor, will it save you from ever feeling disturbed. It will simply bring new challenges that you might not have expected to arise.

Instead of demanding that life conform to your desires and give you what you want, right now, try feeling free to accept and experience whatever life brings your way today. Reaching your weight-loss goal is not freedom. Freedom is not the end of the journey.

Freedom is only the beginning.