Many of you may be coming off of a long weekend with your friend (or frenemy), Sugar. Maybe you thoroughly enjoyed your treats when you had them and indulged in moderation, maybe you had too much for your liking or so much that it made you sick. While I’ve already talked about how excess sugar contributes to stress, what you do to yourself mentally is often worse. After times like this many people wake up feeling guilty, being hard on themselves, restricting, then binging and then doing it all over again.
No one is perfect and having flexibility is part of a healthful diet. Not happy with a decision you made? Evaluate why the situation played out the way that it did, move on and do better next time! Restriction and deprivation with the feeling of guilt only stress out the body and mind, increasing levels of stress inducing hormones, which not only hurt your metabolism but impact your quality of life. I’ve seen time and time again clients or students have the “aha moment” where they stop expecting so much of themselves and start to lose weight or make better decisions for their health. Life doesn’t have to be all or nothing all the time!
Healthy Holidays: 3 Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain After Halloween
Having said all of that, maybe you are still being haunted by Halloween candy in your home (or workplace) today. Even if you ignore the Christmas decorations at the grocery store and Target, the holiday season is officially upon us. That’s right, it doesn’t start at Thanksgiving, but Halloween. From Oct 31 (or before depending on when you purchase Halloween treats) through January 1 many Americans fall into several different patterns that promote weight gain. Some people mindlessly eat extra candy, baked products, and snacks and others have an “all or nothing” mentally where they binge or restrict and feel guilty or proud. Some become so stressed this time of year that they turn to food and stop prioritizing exercise.
Many media reports indicate a 7-10 pound gain while most research studies report just 1-5 pound gains for a typical American during this season. No matter what the gain, it is harder to lose it than it is to put it on. The holidays are hardly a time to lose weight – we should enjoy ourselves, but we can have a great time without extra pounds of fat! We should be thinking about our long term physical and mental health. Here are some tips for dealing with the post-Halloween candy and other holiday treats that are soon to come, so that you can maintain your weight during the season.
- Mindfully eat only your favorite treats
I know myself – I like chocolate. Sugary candy doesn’t do it for me so why would I waste calories and sugar intake on something I don’t even enjoy? Question whether or not the candy you’re eating is worth it and if it’s not, you probably won’t mind skipping the treat later. Also, make it a point to sit down and enjoy it. I often hear people are always standing while eating.
- Pick an accountability partner
Pick a friend (or a few) that you’ll report your candy intake to. Set limits together and stick to them. Or, schedule exercise with that person once per week to increase the chances you hit your workout goals during the busy season.
- Make food rules that work
In addition to always sitting down with food here are some other ideas.
- If you allow yourself one piece of candy a day, make it a bite sized one.
- Pair your piece of chocolate candy with half a serving of nuts and a clementine so you feel full and satisfied.
- Only allow yourself a piece each day for one week, then freeze them for another time.
- Do 5 burpees each time you have a piece, etc.
Keep up with your normal routine and have a happy, healthy season!