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…
Set a daily limit.
Enjoying, but controlling treats might be a new habit, but it’s an empowering one to set and master.
Set a goal for how much you want to have each day. If you’re going to use the same treat, figure out how many pieces you’ll have each day.
If you’re going to use different treats, set a limit for calories or carbs.
Each day that you hit your limit and stop, you’ll know you can do it.
If you can check off that goal each day, reward yourself with a non-food treat. A new outfit, a new book, new craft supplies…whatever brings you joy that isn’t food.
If you use an online food tracker, enter 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.
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.
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.
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!
Don’t buy too far 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.
Hide and no-seek.
My husband likes to buy Halloween candy early. He hides it from me. (It’s not well-hidden, but that’s ok. It’s his, not mine. That works.)
Get rid of the leftovers a different way.
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.
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.
Skip it entirely?
With respect to Halloween, you can choose to not participate if you don’t want to deal with it. And you can choose to not eat pie at a holiday meal.
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.
Full disclosure – this never worked for me. It was hard, but I had to learn how to control treats. Learning about macros and flexible dieting helped me do this. In my free training, How to Get Fit and Stay Fit After 40, I get into it more. Click here >>>
But 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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A supportive community for anyone who is interested in developing healthy eating habits. We're all about balance, flexibility, and sustainability with a focus on science-based principles and results. No food shaming here! Tammy runs weekly challenges to help people build and sustain healthy habits.
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We're women over 40 who love lifting and train with a purpose - some compete in powerlifting or bodybuilding, but not all. We push ourselves to be stronger. We don't tone - we train to be badass. Expect science-based info and support. All lifting experience levels are welcome. Tammy runs weekly challenges to help you progress as a lifter over time.
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Hi! I’m Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50’s.
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don’t train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.