Halloween is a mere few days away. That means the huge candy fest is about to enter many of our homes. While Halloween is one of my favorite holidays it also is the starting point for the entire Holiday Season and all the debauchery that comes with all of that celebrating, eating, drinking and being merry. I feel exhausted and bloated just thinking about it!
I’m not here to be a debbie downer and try to motivate you to give up all of those wonderful treats and sugar bombs. I am here to offer a little motivation to help you make a plan. Now is the time to start to think about a survival guide of sorts, not to take away your fun but to possibly take away the dreaded after effects of just TOO MUCH of everything. Here are a few things to think about . . .
1. Set very small and doable goals. What does that mean? It means not setting a goal to give up sugar from now until Christmas. It means giving up sugar from now until a set date – say Halloween. Enjoy your treats and then set the goal again. Take it a week at a time, then maybe two weeks, enjoy that dessert at that fabulous dinner party or Thanksgiving meal, then set your goal again. This is so doable! There is always light at the end of the tunnel!
2. Make you meals count. Before heading out to an event, party, trick or treating, or whatever, fill up on fiber and protein first. If you plan on having a little indulgence, don’t think about skipping your healthy meal in hopes of canceling out calories by eating less earlier in the day. Instead, drink lots of water throughout the day and fill up on water based foods and lean protein to keep your sugar balanced and keep yourself from starving. We all know what happens when we enter a party or event starving. We scarf down all sorts of junk, that might not even be that tasty, and definitely not worth the extra calories!
3. Get in some extra steps. This is an easy way to make sure you are getting some exercise. I am not telling you to do two a day workouts. Who has time for that? And as the Season heats up you might not even have time for your normal workout routine! But I know you can take the stairs rather than the elevator. I know you can stop circling the parking lot for the closest spot to the store and park farther away. Get up from your desk every 15 minutes and take a lap. Rather than meeting a friend for lunch or coffee, meet for a walk. Do what The Husband does, and pace non-stop throughout the home while talking on the phone. Think about ways right now to in cooperate more movement into the day before your days get too crazy to think!
4. Know your triggers and find ways to avoid them. During the Holidays I love to cook extra, give away homemade goodies and, of course, snag a few (or a lot) for myself. I admit to that whole “one for you two for me” way of dividing goodies into little bags. I know this about myself, so one thing I do is chew gum while bagging those little treats. Corny, huh? Don’t knock it til you try it! If your trigger is that extra cocktail, or three, at a party, make yourself have a club soda with lime between each. It will help with the extra calories, hydration and hangover, PLUS, folks will not know, so you don’t have to answer any questions about being a “debbie downer” and not partaking.
5. Rethink those old fashioned recipes. I am from the South. I love that about myself. I am from a family who cooks and cooks a lot. Everything single thing at a Holiday meal is homemade. Throughout the years I have taken our old family recipes and tweaked them here and there to make them just a wee bit healthier. I don’t do anything terribly drastic, because it is a “once a year” celebration so I’m not about to NOT enjoy delicious foods! However, so many dishes do NOT need two sticks of butter, or two cups of sugar or a cup of Crisco to be delicious. I never will forget the Christmas I made macaroni and cheese and did NOT follow my mother’s recipe. She sat on her stool with her mouth agape and a very cross expression on her face. I substituted the Velveeta (what actually is that anyway?) with shredded REAL cheese and much less butter and skim milk. Afterwards, even she gave me huge praise for my mac and cheese! Think about what you are cooking and ways to make them even a wee bit lighter. Believe me, you will not notice a change, except maybe in how much better you feel afterwards!
Here’s to the beginning of a beautiful, fun and healthy Season!
Enjoy Your Day!
In honor of such a fun Holiday, here are some of my favorite memories!