How to Control Your Environment: Halloween

October 31, 2018

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blog_halloween2Sticking to a weight loss plan can be challenging on any ordinary day, but we are now entering the Olympic season of weight control. It starts with the hurdle of Halloween, then moves onto the high bar of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, and finally culminating in New Year’s Eve. The last few months of each year can truly feel daunting.

But like any challenge, you can choose to live in denial and surrender to the dark forces, or you can face it head on and fight. We say, this Halloween, don’t be afraid! Look those weight-sabotaging demons in the eyes and don’t back down. And then use that courage as practice for the holidays coming down the pike.

So, what is the first thing you need to do to exercise the monster? Name it. And on Halloween, that monster is CANDY. Lots and lots of candy.

Second, take steps to control your environment when you know candy will be lurking around every corner. This means adopting a mindset to understand that while you can’t avoid the monster, you can set up your environment to protect yourself from its clutches. And even have fun in the process!

Prepare Ahead of Time

The decision to experience a healthy Halloween starts long before trick-or-treating starts. You must prepare your mind and environment to control the temptations that lie ahead. First, make sure to have healthy snacks on hand so that you won’t be left without nibbling choices. It’s Halloween, so there will be candy in the house, but don’t let that be your only option available. If you choose a filling, protein-rich snack that can serve as alternative in your kitchen, you will be better equipped to fight the urge to eat those sugary treats. Furthermore, if you think you will struggle to stick to your plan, put a reminder of your goals on your cabinet where you keep your candy. A handwritten note can constantly caution you from reaching for those Snickers and Kit-Kats.

Also, remember that Halloween candy is really meant for kids. It is one of the joys of childhood to dress up and earn treats for their utter adorableness and creativity. So let them enjoy those rewards and resist reaching into their bags. However, with childhood obesity rates hovering around 18%, it’s important that their candy consumption be controlled as well. You may want to consider establishing family rules around their candy consumption, such as limiting one or two pieces each day after Halloween until it’s gone.

Focus on Non-Candy Activities

Believe it or not, collecting candy is not the only activity on Halloween. The holiday has undergone its own intense transformation in the last few years. For instance, people have invested incredible amounts of time and energy intro creating elaborate costumes and home decorations. Haunted houses have risen to a whole new realm. Some activities can even be both enjoyable and healthy, such as bobbing for apples or pumpkin picking. There is no reason you can’t partake in Halloween fun without indulging in the sweet stuff.

Stress Yourself Out

Normally we would advise reducing stress as a part of your weight loss efforts, but Halloween may prove to be an exception. We’re a little skeptical of this study out of the University of Westminster, but in the spirit of the season, it may not hurt!

The study suggested that the stress of watching scary movies could increase your heart rate and help burn calories. This type of stress is different from the harmful chronic stress that increases the secretion of cortisol and promotes the dangerous abdominal fat. Of course, we aren’t suggesting that you replace proper diet and exercise with a helping of scary movies, but if you can handle it, a viewing of The Shining or The Exorcist could be a fun activity with some added benefits. Just don’t watch them alone…

Controlling your environment and resisting temptation doesn’t mean you can’t have any candy on the holiday dedicated to sugary treats. Like most things in life, you can enjoy Halloween in moderation. A few pieces of candy won’t stop you from reaching your weight loss goals, but the decision to treat Halloween as a chance to change your behavior will put you way ahead of any New Year’s resolution.

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