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Halloween Treats: How Your Diet Can Survive This Scary Holiday

By Stephanie Saunders
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Halloween. A holiday that puts joy into the hearts of children and terror into the hearts of dieters. Is it the result of the tiny little costumes we are supposed to be wearing or the abundance of junk food that infiltrates our lives? Perhaps a little of each. Also, it might be that Halloween is the gateway holiday to dieting disaster. For many of us, it begins with trick-or-treat, and finally ends with a New Year's Day hangover and five extra pounds. Since avoiding sugary goodness for three months is virtually impossible, how can you approach the weeks of mini candy bars, Halloween parties, and alcohol-abounding punch? Here are some "tricks" that might actually keep Halloween Horror in the movies, and off of your thighs.

Pumpkin Candles

  1. Make wise choices. We've already established that you will probably not avoid all contact with candy this holiday, so know exactly what you are choosing when you reach into that jack-o'-lantern. One mini candy bar has around 80 calories in it, between 3 and 5 grams of fat, and is so small that just one would not satisfy 99 percent of the population. Some wiser choices, for around 50 calories, include:

    • Hershey's KissesTwo Hershey's Kisses®
    • Two Dum-Dum® lollipops
    • Three Mini Tootsie Rolls®
    • One Nerds® mini box
    • Ten pieces of candy corn
    • Two small Laffy Taffys®
    • Two Jolly Ranchers®
    • One Junior Mints® mini box
    • One Mike-n-Ike® mini box
    • One small York® Peppermint Patty

    We realize that the difference between 50 to 80 calories seems rather negligible, but as most of us might indulge in more than one serving over the holiday, those calories can really add up.

  2. Eat before attending a party. This is an age-old dieting trick, but one that is extremely effective. It is tempting to indulge in sweet treats when faced with a table full of them. It is even worse when you haven't eaten since lunch and your workout has left you completely depleted. Consuming a healthy meal, snack, or even a meal replacement like Shakeology® can keep hunger at bay and your hands off the devil's food cake.

  3. Woman in a Referee CostumeChoose a costume that shows off your accomplishments. There is a belief that Halloween is an excuse for women to dress inappropriately, and for men to show off their muscles. And why not? This is in no way a suggestion that you attend an event in a Speedo or bikini, but something a little sexy, in a safe environment, that shows off all of your hours with P90X® can be the perfect motivation to avoid overeating. Most of us respond better to short-term, tangible goals, and wearing the Spider-Man costume without the built-in abs is certainly attainable. So be a little daring one night, and save the costume for future motivation.

  4. Work out before attending an event. Many studies have been done that conclude we tend to eat less—and absorb less of the bad stuff when we do—after a good workout. Also, the rush of endorphins tends to make us a bit happier, which means we don't seek joy in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups®. A really intense INSANITY™ workout just before the big party might save you countless more to undo the damage.

  5. Avoid the punch bowl. For some reason, there is always a bowl of sherbet-stuffed punch around at Halloween. Perhaps it is the festive orange color, or the fact it mixes nicely with vodka? Regardless, run in the opposite direction. One serving can equal a couple hundred calories and send your blood sugar levels through the roof. Always stick to beverages that you can determine a calorie count for, and preferably, those that have few or no calories.

  6. Alcoholic Drinks and Glasses of WaterTry the "two-to-one" theory. When out on the town, my friends and I used to employ the strategy that for every alcoholic beverage we consumed, we had to follow it up with two glasses of water. Why not try this for sugary snacks at parties? For every mini candy bar you consume, follow it up with two veggies off of the crudités tray. All of the fiber will help fill you up fast, and following up a Milky Way with broccoli is really not so appealing. It could help you eat less, or maybe just stick to the broccoli.

  7. Host your own event. If you simply can't say no to Halloween goodies at a party, host your own and take control of what is on the table. Low-fat brownies, cookies, and even cakes taste incredibly similar to the full-fat version, but will leave less residual damage. Choose from the selection of candies we suggested above, serve air-popped popcorn, and make a light punch with diet sherbet that everyone will enjoy. And don't forget the fruit and veggie platters. Also, taking the focus off food with a scary movie or some fun games can often make the party much more enjoyable. After all, we stand around, talk to people, and eat every day. Why not try to make your event a little bit different?

  8. Get rid of the evidence. For those of you who hate to waste, this might be a difficult one. But, however you do it, get rid of ALL of the trick-or-treat candy the following day. If you work in an office, set it out in the lunchroom. If you work from home, anonymously mail it to your high school enemy. It is too hard to say no to a bowl of Snickers® bars, especially after a rough day, if they are sitting in a cabinet calling your name. Most of us will not get in a car to go buy candy, but if it is there, we will eat it. Just get it out of the house as quickly as you can.

  9. Don't forget the parents. When you're handing out treats on trick-or-treat night, it's a great time to treat some of the parents in your neighborhood with a packet of Shakeology or a P90X Peak Performance Protein Bar to give them the energy for a long night of going door to door with their little goblins. Then, you can wish them a Happy Health-oween!

    Halloween is only one night, so don't make it your gateway to a gluttonous holiday season. Instead, use it as a motivator for looking great! Holidays can be the very best time of the year, even on a diet and fitness plan. Just remember how it will feel when, at that Christmas party, everyone comments on how great you look. That will make any holiday seem a lot less frightening.

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