7 Tricks to Not Overdosing on Halloween Candy This Year

Here are 7 “tricks” to use this Halloween, when it's time to turn on the porch light and answer the call of the neighborhood goblins.

It’s that time of year, friends. The holiday season is fast approaching, beginning with Halloween this coming weekend, and the candy will be as prevalent as the corn syrup that comprises many of these sweet treats.

So what is your game plan to keep from the frightful possibility of overdosing on snack size versions of your favorite candy treat? Research has shown that those that take the time to plan are in a far better mental state and are far more likely to reach their fitness and fat loss goals in the midst of holiday celebration versus their counterparts. First things first, let’s talk about your plan. Let me say this. I am not going to tell you to give out apples or quarters instead of candy because frankly, I remember when I was little. It was always a bummer to get these types of treats over the “good stuff”. I know this may sound strange coming from me, however, it is not your responsibility to regulate the candy consumption of other people’s kids. Children love Halloween! It’s fun to get dressed up and go house to house, collecting goodies from all the neighbors. So rather than going off on that tangent, I am going to instead focus on how to keep yourself on track. I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again (repetition is the key to learning), you cannot control the actions of others, you can only control your own. So let’s put the emphasis where it counts, shall we? Here are 7 “tricks” to use this Halloween, when it's time to turn on the porch light and answer the call of the neighborhood goblins.

1. Buy a type/brand of candy you don’t like.

This is Halloween candy self-trickery 101. My personal favorite candy bar is Snickers. So...I don’t buy Snickers. I buy something else that doesn’t really appeal to me.

2. Don’t open the bag until its time to start handing it out.

If you open the bag and put the candy into a big bowl, it’s a lot easier to grab one here and there than it is if the sealed bag is in the closet, out of sight, until it's time to start the festivities.

3. Figure it in.

If you think you are going to be tempted and know yourself well enough to not go the “abstinence” route, then allow yourself one single-serving treat, enjoy it (i.e. don't feel guilty about it) and savor the flavor. A one time 200 calorie treat is not going to screw up your goals and/or fat loss for the week. Now, proceed with caution when going this route. If you are the type that once you set the wheels in motion, there is no stopping this candy induced run away train of terror, then do not attempt this trick. In regard to the whole corn syrup/sugar debate, you may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute, I thought she said these things are bad for me, so why is she now saying it is ok to eat them?” You are correct, I am not an advocate of incorporating large quantities of corn syrup and sugar into your diet, but once in a while, it's really not that big of a deal.

4. Activity, activity, activity.

Get in some extra NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) for the day so that if you do choose to have a single serving treat, you won’t feel so guilty for having it. Take the stairs a few more times, go for a walk at lunch, do some jumping jacks in between trick-or-treat visitors, or even take this opportunity to go out with the kiddies (if you have children, or can borrow some for the night).

5. Make sure there are no leftovers.

If it is getting close to the end of the night, give two or three treats instead of just one for every trick-or-treater. If for some reason you do end up with leftovers, take them in to work the next day and put them in a common area, far far away from your desk, for coworkers to enjoy.

6. Chew gum while you are handing out treats.

Who wants to eat candy when they've got a piece of peppermint gum in their mouth? Not me.

7. Try a healthy substitution.

Make this chocolate peanut butter fudge decadence to eat while you are handing out the goodies, which will curb those chocolate cravings. Now, I say all of the above from the perspective of someone who does not have kids. But even if you do have children, and they are bringing home a bag full of goodies, the same rules apply. Out of sight, out of mind is really the best strategy for me. Distract yourself with something else or find ways to keep your goals in the forefront of your mind. I have lived with roommates before that do not follow a healthy diet, so I know firsthand what it is like to have temptation around. The bottom line is really this. Lists of ways to avoid the temptation during the holiday season are really a dime a dozen. The key ultimately lies in your own perspective about living well. Its a lifestyle, not a phase or a plan that you feel constrained by. You have to want it in order for it to really work. Eating healthy and avoiding “nutritionally empty” foods is something you should want to do, not feel burdened by. It should be empowering. In the mean time, ask yourself questions like:
  • What are the holidays really about to me?
  • Isn’t it the gathering of friends and family that is more important than going buck-wild eating everything in site?
  • What does wellness really mean to me?
Just because food is there doesn’t mean that you need to inhale it. And you also don’t need to proceed through the holidays feeling totally deprived either. There are ways to enjoy the season, including some of your favorite treats, without bloating up like the Pillsbury Doughboy. Stay focused. You are in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Use this power to steer yourself in the direction of wellness.
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