It’s Halloween: Your Sugar High is Calling!

“Gretchen, oh Gretchen! It’s Halloween, come on, I’m so tiny, just eat me. You deserve a treat. I’m only here once a year.” Sound familiar when you substitute your own name?

A few M&Ms, an itty-bitty Butterfinger, those adorable little packets of candy corn, or whatever form of cheap sugar it is that you favor are probably calling your name – LOUDLY – right about now. If you haven’t already succumbed repeatedly to the bowls scattered throughout many offices, or sneaking some out of the stash you intend to distribute tonight, or if you didn’t full-on snag an entire bag of your favorites for yourself, which is even now lurking in your desk drawer. I know the drill. You’ve got that guilty laugh, don’t you?

It’s darn near impossible to be perfect around the issue of refined sugar. It’s in everything from the obvious baked goods and candy to the less obvious prepared salad dressings and sauces – even a Chinese stir-fry or some other meat dishes. Many of us set abstinence from sugars as a goal, and/or adhering to a low-glycemic diet. This is a great idea generally speaking. But we’re entering the time of year when treats abound (I’d say treat season pretty well spans Halloween through Valentine’s Day, which is a long time to be totally out of control), and it’s time to get a grip on your self, and implement a strategy that works. Here are some of my favorite self-protection strategies:

Don’t Buy The Stuff

DUH!? If you don’t have it in your house, you can’t eat it. Or at least you’d have to go make a special trip to buy it, which gives you enough time to re-think that idea. Refusal to participate in self-destruction is empowering.

If You Must Buy It, Buy Something You Don’t Like

Personally, there’s no way on earth I’m going to eat gumballs, Twizzlers, or Skittles. If that’s what I’m handing out, it’s ALL leaving the house. Saved!

Turn Down Offers Quickly

When you’re standing at the receptionist’s counter staring at that giant bowl of toxic sugar, and she pushes some on you like a perfect hostess, quickly excuse yourself by saying you’re diabetic, you’re allergic to chocolate, or whatever else you need to say. This is one occasion where you should feel free to lie. It’s highly likely the embarrassment and potential questioning (“Um, I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but didn’t you say you were diabetic?!) will prevent you from sticking your hand in that very public bowl.

Buy Yourself A Real Treat

If I’m going to do chocolate, I want it to be European, very dark, very smooth, and preferably kind of expensive. That doesn’t sound like any of the usual Halloween treats, does it? Better yet, buy yourself a non-food item as a reward for your good behavior. Make your calories and your glycemic bumps meaningful, for cryin’ out loud!

I’m all for self-indulgence, but I believe it is best practiced with thoughtfulness and, frankly, dedication. We should PLAN for indulgence, actually. It shouldn’t be random, stupid, or designed to give you a sugar rush followed by a sugar crash, wildly fluctuating insulin levels, and a bad mood (because yes, the sugar crash causes headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, and contributes to anxiety and depression).

In the world of PCOS, you need to make smart choices. I don’t think choosing cheap Halloween candy is a good choice for your mind or your body because it doesn’t make you feel better, bottom line, and I’m all about feeling better, not throwing things out of balance.

gretchen kubacky

Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. is a Health Psychologist and Certified PCOS Educator in private practice in West Los Angeles, California. She specializes in counseling women and couples who are coping with infertility, PCOS, diabetes, and related endocrine disorders and chronic illnesses.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Kubacky or her practice, or obtain referrals in the Los Angeles area, please visit her website at, or e-mail her at You can also follow her on Twitter @AskDrGretchen.


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