Author of the book Foodaholic, licensed psychotherapist
It’s that time of year again. The older I get, the more it feels like it just was Halloween a few months ago. This is the time of year when our weight can begin to creep up. As we approach the holiday season, Halloween can be the make or break holiday that either sets you up for a great season of enjoying but not overdoing or throwing in the towel for three months and saying “screw it” and gaining enough weight to throw you off course until next Halloween. Here are some helpful tips to make it the former.
1) If you get trick-or-treaters and want to enjoy the evening, get candy that you don’t like. If I get anything chocolate, I’m setting myself up for failure because I know I will be eating a fair amount of it. Most of the “fun” size candy bars range from 50 to 100 calories. Since we rarely eat just one, these can add up quickly. I don’t care for Dots, gummy anything, taffy, Sweet Tarts, Starburst… anything without chocolate and I’m safe. Choose candy that doesn’t tempt you to hand out.
2) Be aware that you will be encountering candy when you’re not expecting it. This is the time of year when shops are handing out free sugary samples to entice you into their stores, or keep you there if you are already shopping. Be aware that this is marketing and has nothing to do with your health, weight or well being. This has everything to do with the store taking your money while you think you’re enjoying a free treat on them. It works for the store. Not so great for you. Sugar is cheap, and it’s much better for the business to give away free cheap stuff to keep you there so you buy more expensive stuff. So next time you are offered a free brownie bite, picture it as a marketing ploy and it will look less tasty. Also, don’t forget that samples have calories. They may be free, but they are not calorie-free.
3) Don’t buy your Halloween candy too far ahead of Oct. 31. This is also a set up for failure. If you can, buy it that same day. If there is any left, you can donate it.
4) If your kids bring home a ton of candy they don’t need, have them choose their favorites and donate the rest. Make sure they know exactly what they have left so they will know if you snuck in there and ate some of their stash.
5) If you do find yourself eating the candy, put the wrappers in a bowl where you can see them. If you have a visual as to how many you have had, it will help you to stop. If you are eating them mindlessly and getting rid of the evidence, you are likely to take in a lot more calories than you would otherwise.
6) If worse comes to worse and you end up overdoing it with the Halloween candy, it won’t affect your weight a year from now, unless you use it as an excuse to go off course long term.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself. It’s fun to see the kids in their costumes, put up scary decorations and maybe even dress up yourself. Here’s to a great, happy, healthy and fit holiday season!