Candy month, pie month, cookie month…

October, November, and December are loaded with treats!

Feeling deprived – especially during the holidays – can knock people off their nutrition program.  If you’re going to change your life, it’s necessary to figure out how you will handle holidays.

We’re grownups.  We make the rules now.  I say this up front because empowerment is the antidote to deprivation.

The deprivation mindset won’t foster a sustainable, healthy relationship with food.  It does enable frustration and people who feel deprived are more likely to binge on ALL the things that they think they aren’t supposed to have.

And then they give up on their programs because they see the binge as evidence as to why they aren’t strong enough to stick with it.

I need you to be a badass right now.

  • If you decide you don’t want to have the treats, don’t have them.  BOOM. <insert fist bump>
  • If you feel like having some candy – have some candy.  BOOM.  <also insert fist bump>

Don’t feel guilty about it either way.  YOU get to choose how  you want to handle it.  Not the social media people who say “eat the candy” (if you don’t really want to) and the others who say “candy isn’t ‘clean’ food” (if you’d really like to learn how to control it, not eliminate it).

Me?   I choose both.  I eat treats AND I stay on track.

The goal is to be in control.  If you know that depriving yourself is going to lead to a train wreck, how about NOT doing that?

It’s empowering to learn to control something that used to control you.

If you’re not ready to practice control but feel it’s better for you to avoid the treats right now – that’s ok.  I did that for the first couple of years of my program.

Choosing to avoid isn’t deprivation.  It’s a choice.  You could indulge, but you choose not to.

If you want to have the candy and stick with your program, that’s possible.

Here are 10 ways to handle the excess treat situations that come up around holidays…

1) If you use an online food tracker, enter candy or planned treat first thing in the morning.

If it’s already entered in your tracker, you’re more likely to eat exactly what you entered.   If you get to the end of the day and didn’t eat it, go in and remove it.

2) Use a weekly habit tracker in your planner.

Enjoying, but controlling treats might be a new habit, so a weekly habit tracker with a planned reward can help you stay on track.

Set a goal for how much you want to have each day.  If you eat your limit or less, you get to fill in your tracker.

Make sure you write down a reward for successfully completing your weekly habit tracker.  A massage, a new book, buy yourself something fun to use for a hobby, etc.

3) Increase protein.

On a day like Halloween when you’re going to be around a lot of candy, eat your normal meals.

Don’t do trick-or-treating hungry!

 It’s a good idea to increase your protein intake a little that day.  Protein will keep your appitite in check.

4) Freeze it!

Buy candy you can freeze. Chocolate freezes well.  So do gummy bears, gummy fish, gummy worms, etc.  If the candy is in the back of freezer, it’s not out to grab as you walk by.  When you do feel the need, you can take out one frozen piece and let it melt in your mouth.  It’s kind of awesome, actually. (Frozen Milk Duds are my favorite.)

I also freeze single servings of leftover pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving.

5) Use extra treats for pre/post workout carbs.

Leftover candy can be used as pre or post-workout carbohydrates. Measure out the right portion sizes and put them in small snack bags.   (Love Captain America on my post-workout baggie!)

After my workout, I have the candy with my shake.  I like to have about 20 grams of carbs before and after my lifts. 

I don’t always use candy for my pre/post workout meals, but it’s a fun thing to do with the extra holiday treats.  I’ll do this with pumpkin pie, too!

6) Don’t plan ahead.

If you start buying Halloween candy when the stores put it out, how many of those bags stay sealed until Oct 31?  In our house  – that would be none.  LOL!  So I have to have a “candy plan” in place for most of October.  Don’t stock up on candy early if you’d rather not deal with it before you need to. 

7) Hide and no-seek.

his My husband likes to buy Halloween candy early.  He hides it from me in man-cave.  (It’s not well-hidden, but that’s ok.  It’s his, not mine.  That works.)

8) Throw it away.

Donate the extra candy.  Some gyms collect it.  My lifting gym will have a table with treats out after holidays.

Or <gasp> throw it away.  I hate throwing away food, but have learned to toss the leftover treats that I don’t want around.  

9) Buy candy you don’t like.

I think this tip shows up on most lists because it makes sense.  For trick-or-treaters, get candy kids would like that you’ll leave in the bowl.  That works.

10) Skip it entirely.

With respect to Halloween, choose to not participate if you don’t want to deal with it.  And you can choose to not eat pie.  Think about it – you choose to not eat a lot of things every day.  (Liver.  I choose not to eat liver daily and don’t feel deprived at all.  Ha!)  Remember – it’s not deprivation if it’s your choice. 

If it feels like deprivation,  find a way to have it in your life, but in a way where you feel empowered and in control.

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