Forget the House of Horrors your next door neighbour has spent weeks perfecting, for a lot of us this time of year unearths a deep-seated fear of weight gain. With halloween upon us and Thanksgiving looming, weight gain is a frightening concern with serious potential. It may seem like a ticking time bomb set to explode with your Christmas Day feast but you don’t have to resign yourself to stretch pants or a new wardrobe. All hope is not lost! Let’s stop worrying about things beyond our control in the future. What can we do now to tackle this first little speed bump in the road? And when I say speed bump I’m obviously referring to the mountain of candy that’s burning a hole through your cupboard doors and screaming at you, “EAT ME, EAT ME NOW!!!”
1. Get an accountability buddy
Make a pact with a friend to keep each other in check over the weekend. Maybe you plan to stay in & watch scary movies with a glass of wine instead of heading to that street glow party with free flowing tequila! Or you could host a small get together & challenge everyone to bring a Halloween inspired healthy treat like some paleo ghost meringues or coconut date eyeballs.
But what if your friends are the kind who lead you astray? Well like everything these days, there’s an app for that! Food diary apps like My Fitness Pal & Lose It are becoming increasingly popular as they support and promote weightloss. Logging all your food and drink 24/7 might not suit everyone’s lifestyle but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a helpful tool to have in your box for staying on track over the holidays. Keeping a record of all the candy you’re eating will really help to hold yourself accountable and make a huge difference to your overall consumption.
2. Be active
Grab your accountability buddy and go for a long hike or a bike ride! All those endorphins will make you feel energized. Exercise also helps satisfy hunger & reduce cravings as your body naturally wants to replenish its nutrient stores with healthy and nutritious foods. Check for any events happening in your area like a 5k halloween fun run!
3. Keep candy out of sight
Having candy in dishes or bowls scattered around the house is a disaster! Studies have shown that visibility & proximity of food not only causes an increase in unconscious consumption of food. In the Office Candy Dish study, results showed that when the dish was more visible people ate on average 2.5 more candies a day. When the dish was more proximate but not visible people ate 1.5 more candies a day and 4.6 more when the candy dish was visible and proximate. In the latter conditions, results also showed that people underestimated the number of candies they ate. A good reason to be keeping track of your treats with the help of an app!
Another good idea is to buy small bite-sized candy that’s individually wrapped like starburst or mini muskateers. Staying mindful and keeping count of candy wrappers is much easier than remembering how many handfuls of peanut m&m’s you shoveled into your mouth over the course of an hour (picture of m&m’s).
4. Buy candy you don’t like
If you’re stockpiling candy for trick or treaters, predominantly buy candy that you don’t like. You’ll find that you’re much less tempted & inclined to eat it if it’s not your favorite treat – guess that means I shouldn’t stash the pantry full of mini donuts…
5. Give any leftover candy away
Once Halloween’s done & dusted get right back on track. Check in with your goals again & ask yourself what things you can do today or this week that will help lead you there? Ask yourself, “do I really need to hang on to this candy?” If you’re struggling to find your motivations then see point 4 above and then ask yourself “why am I holding on to candy I don’t like?”
6. Plan ahead
Maybe Halloween isn’t your bag. You’ve already rejected all party invitations & you’ve resisted stocking the house with chocolates. Nice work! But you’re excited about the prospect of eating pizza & red velvet cheesecake in your pjs whilst watching moderately terrifying films – terrifyingly bad because you plan to watch the hallmark channel all night! You tell yourself you deserve it because you’ve been so good all week. Instead of opening up a Pandora’s Box of junk food why not spend the extra time you’ll have making something you’ll really enjoy without jeopardizing all that hard work you’ve put in. Remember, the weekend is over 25% of your week & one dessert splurge at the Cheesecake Factory can set you back 1250 calories!