Halloween is almost here – and so is the beginning of the endless parties, treats, alchohol consumtion, and all those other “naughty” things that usually start this time of year… and then go until January 1 (when we all realize we overdid it and go into hardcore workout and healthy eating mode for the next month or two.)
While the Holiday Season can be loads of fun, it can be pretty hard to navigate if you’re trying to stick to a diet plan, or just want to keep off those extra pounds that many of us will inevitably gain before the new year is here.
And it all starts with Halloween…But how can one resist those adorable, fun-size versions of our favorite childhood treats? One small little chocolate can’t be that bad, can it?
No, of course not!
However, we normally don’t have just one. We may have two here and two there, and then a Halloween cookie, a bite of our child’s cupcake, another piece after dinner, and then one more before bed, etc. etc… What normally starts as a few innocent pieces will carry us well into the Christmas season, especially if you have kids and have “hid” their candy (meaning that there is a ginormous stash that only you know about)!
With all that said, I want to help you enjoy the holidays – starting with Halloween – in a healthier way! Here are 8 of my favorite tips to help you curb your sweet tooth, indulge reasonably, avoid going overboard, and then recovering from those sugary hangovers if it ever gets that far!
- WORKOUT IN THE AM: Working out in the morning is not for everybody. I get that. But on those days – like Halloween – that you know contain lots of candy, treats, booze, etc., it’s extra important to start your day off on the right foot. By exercising first thing in the morning, it’s not only easier to take that healthy mindset into the rest of your day, you’ll also have created a little wiggle room to allow for those extra calories that you are sure to indulge in.
- STICK TO YOUR NORMAL EATING ROUTINE: The worst thing you can do is to not eat all day, hoping to save lots of room for those extra Halloween candy and treats. When we’re hungry, all willpower goes out the window, not to mention the fact that only eating high-sugar treats will give you the most momentous sugar-headache! Instead, stick to your normal eating routine, eating a well-rounded breakfast, lunch and possibly even dinner depending on where you’re going or what your doing. This way, your belly will be filled with lots of good-for-you foods, only making a little bit of room for those extra indulgent treats.
- HAVE A SPLURGE STRATEGY: It’s pretty much inevitable that you will be tempted with lots of fun, Halloween snacks and treats, and going into the situation without a plan almost certainly dooms us for failure. Instead, set a “limit” on the treats that you want to partake in: say, 2 cocktails, ½ a cookie OR cupcake, and 2 fun-size candies, for example.
- WEAR A FORM-FITTING OUTFIT: Halloween is that one time of year that it’s OK to go [more] bare, so why not use this to your advantage! Wear a form-fitting, body-hugging outfit so there’s not a lot of “wriggle room” to eat extra calories. Not only will this help keep you on track before the day arrives, it will also keep you from over indulging when out – because who wants to feel bloated and gross when you know that other people will actually be able to see it?!
- DROWN YOURSELF IN WATER: Ok, not literally! But on days that you know are going to be filled with junk and/or booze it’s best to have a heavy pour – with the water that is! Many of us will mistake hunger pangs for thirst and will eat when all our bodies really want is some water. Moreover, if you fill-up on water every time a craving hits, you physically won’t have room to eat 5 cookies – or at least without feeling like you’re going to explode! Finally, as we all know, drinking water between glasses of alcohol (or better yet, during), will help us avoid a nasty hangover, so why not stay one step ahead of the game?!
- BE THE “LAME” HOUSE: I know that giving out stickers, tattoos and fruit snacks will never make you “the cool Halloween house”, but they are all things that kids’ still enjoy, as do their parents! This also prevents you from personal “Halloween failure” since you won’t have loads of tempting candy lying around.
- RAID YOUR KIDS’ CANDY STASH: I don’t mean “raid” it like eat it, but “raid” in the sense that you should go through it and throw-out all those pieces of “cheap” candy that you will often find this time of year. You know, the ones that no one ever “chooses to eat”; the ones that are always left at the bottom of the bucket and then get eaten because that’s all that’s left?! Then, with all the candy that’s left, place it in the freezer. This will not only help get it “out of sight out of mind”, it will also make it harder to eat a piece as soon as a craving hits, because you will have to let it thaw for at least a couple minutes before – which will hopefully deter you from going through that hassle in the first place. Plus, kids really don’t need candy either, so getting it out of their face is a win-win too!
- KNOW TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY: So you overindulged last night – or for the past 3 days – and you feel like all your willpower has gone out the window and there’s no use even trying to get back on track. But don’t let it get you down! Everyone gives in to their cravings every now and again and maybe goes a little too hard sometimes. However, today is a new day and there’s no use beating yourself up over it! The best thing you can do is do a mental reset and look at the future, not your past [couple days] to what is going to shape your health. Here are a few quick tips:
- Start your day off with water. At least 10 oz first thing in the morning – and then keep drinking lots throughout the rest of the day.
- Get up and move. Any kind of exercise is good, even if it’s just going for a brisk walk, although doing interval training would be my top suggestion to really get your blood flowing and to work on building up some muscle.
- Eat well-rounded meals + snacks. Don’t stave yourself because you overdid it and think that not eating will help “make up” for those extra calories. This will only lead you to overindulging, again, in the near future. Instead, eat meals and snacks that are filled with protein and healthy fats, as well as fiber (aka, lots of vegetables), to help flush out those toxins and get your body back on track.
- Treat yourself. Yes, I know you just ate 2lbs of candy, but depriving yourself completely will only set you up for failure. Instead, tell yourself that you can have 1 little treat a day, and stick to that! This way, when you come across a mound full of sweets you won’t feel so tempted to scarf down as many as humanely possible.
So there you have it: 8 Tips to help you have a Healthy & Happy Halloween – and Holiday season for that matter! The Holidays are such a fun time of year, filled with lots of friends, parties and yes, overindulgences, but if you go into them with a plan, you are more likely to come out on top – and no, I’m not referring to your weight J.