If you are like most people, the start of the Halloween season is the beginning of a season of indulgence. Maybe overindulgence? Today let's talk about real-life, totally doable ways to avoid overeating around Halloween. You could even lose weight during the holidays, like I did. Some of these tips include links to affiliate partners, which means if you click and take action, I may receive a small commission to no cost to you. They are brands I truly value and use in my everyday life.
For years the crinkle of a fun-size snickers would be like a starting bell, ringing in my ears, signaling the race to eat all the foods before New Year's Day.
“It's just one day a year….”
Or is it?
The whole season, from October through December seemed like a string of gatherings and get-togethers, filled with bowls of candy, tins of cookies, trays of cheese.
It's no wonder most people gain weight during the holidays, only to spend the whole rest of the year trying to lose it.
What if we stopped this endless cycle and made a plan to enjoy our holidays, but not so much that we need to upsize our clothes?
I think we can do that, but we have to make a decision. We have to try.
Below are some tried and true tips to avoid overeating on Halloween- and beyond.
How to Avoid Overeating on Halloween
I'm not going to lie- some of these are weird. Others are going to sound obvious. And maybe I missed your top trick. That's okay, we are all different and what works for one person won't for the next.
Take the tips you like and pass on the rest. If you have one to add, I'd love to hear it in the comments at the bottom.
Overeating on Halloween Candy
If you honestly love Halloween candy, why fight it? No I'm not saying to go swan dive into the closest candy bowl.
Instead of resisting temptation every time you walk past a bowl of treats- which are completely unavoidable sometimes- find ways to live WITH Halloween candy. Candy consumption doesn't have to wreak havoc on your healthy eating habits.
- Measure out out 100 cal servings and putting them in baggies. Pull out one a day and put the rest in a really hard to reach spot.
- Temptation bundling is common tactic used to tie a task you don't want to do with a task you enjoy. You can do this with candy too. Bundle your empty calories with healthy ones plus a glass of water. Make a rule that if you get the urge to eat a piece of candy, you can only eat one after you have something nutritious with water. Something with protein and fiber, or a fruit or vegetable. A real healthy snack with a big glass of water. Not just two blueberries or a large fry. (Hint check out this list of snacks that won't spike your blood sugar level)
- Buy only types of candy that they don't like for trick-or-treaters.
- Don't buy your trick or treat candy until Halloween Day, or the day before.
- If you buy it earlier, store it somewhere you never spend time. NOT your kitchen or bedroom.
- Put it out only when the first trick or treater arrives and bag up any leftovers as soon as trick or treating ends.
- Donate unused candy to your local food shelter, dentist office or veterans group. Put this on your calendar so you do not put it off.
- Save chocolates to use in baked goods….which you give to friends and neighbors for the next holiday.
- Know the math. What is your favorite Halloween candy? Do you know the single serving size and nutritional value of that mini chocolate bar versus a couple jolly ranchers? Use that information to adjust the rest of your food. Is a handful of M&Ms worth having a salad at lunch?
- Know how fast you eat them. If you can take down a whole bags of caramel m&ms in a matter of minutes but it takes way longer for you to finish lollipops…. choose things that make you slow down over things that are gone in the blink of an eye.
- Be accountable. Find a SUPPORTIVE friend, family member, Facebook group, or noom group to state your goal with regards to halloween candy. Don't pick an enabler. Pick someone who will cheer for you when you succeed, not encourage you to fail.
- If you don't want candy in your house but you have trick or treaters, try finding alternatives. Maybe seek out small toys, pencils, erasers, applesauce pouches, instead of candy. Kids love them, and you don't have to worry about allergies. Just be sure they are age appropriate and not a choking hazard.
- Offer up leftover candy on your neighborhood buy/sell/free group.
How to Avoid Overeating Other Halloween Foods
Halloween is synonymous with candy but there are so many other pumpkin spice this-and-thats to tempt us into overindulging. Here are some tips and tricks for when guilt and shame show up after other Halloween treats.
- Make it a game to find healthy alternatives. Pumpkin pie yogurt is a popular one.
- When you find healthy halloween treats you love, keep a list so you know just what to do when you have a craving.
- If you have one food that you tend to overeat, keep it in the freezer and only take out one at a time.
- Keep them in a hard to reach spot, AND put fruits in plain sight.
- Pack one in your lunch. Knowing that you will have one every day means less of a FOMO feeling which often leads to binge eating.
- Try this rule. Find a reasonable low calorie treat you love, and promise to have one every day. If you have more than one, you have to wait that many days until you can have one again.
- Hear me out. Three words: Combination Food Safe. Yep. Lock it up! Anything to make you pause and really think about whether you want to eat that treat.
Healthy Holiday Eating Mindset
As I mentioned above, for many of us the whole holiday season can feel like one big hurdles race of eating. If you are committed to changing your habits this year then you need start with changing your thoughts.
Here are some ways you can hijack your brain to stop falling into old habits.
- If you are having trouble curbing your craving another strategy is to go brush your teeth. In addition to fending off cavities, you will be less likely to cave on that craving.
- Here is my weirdest tip for cravings. Go to the bathroom and put on a thick layer of hand lotion. Use all of your senses. Look closely at how it spreads around. Smell it, feel it on your hands, listen to the sound it makes. Maybe skip the taste part, but give your senses other input. Plus who wants to touch food with lotion hands?
- Start a new health or fitness program right now. Yes, you heard me. No I'm not crazy. You know how everyone says they are so gung-ho about their new diet or exercise for a couple months, and then their excitement wanes? Well what if those two months were the ones you NORMALLY overeat? What if you do all the good work during all the non-holiday days, specifically so you CAN enjoy your favorite holiday treats?? That is the true story of how I managed to lose weight during the holiday season. In fact here is a handy list of diet and exercise apps that offer a trial period.
- Work on your mindset. Find some sayings that resonate with you. Things like:
- Just because you always have, doesn't mean you always have to.
- Change nothing, nothing changes.
- You deserve happiness and healthiness.
- Taking good, loving care or yourself is hard work. But you are worth that hard work, every day.
- Will this really make you feel better?
- Use visual reminders. Jot down a mantra on post-its, make a wallpaper for your phone, write it on your mirror. Etsy is a Healthy Living Motivation Goldmine!
- Treat your food like it comes from a restaurant. Make a “Closed” sign for your kitchen, fridge, pantry or other food location, or list the “Business Hours” so you remember when you don't want to eat. You might think your nightly 10 o'clock snack is insurmountable but you'd be surprised at how quickly the candy cravings decreases.
- Try daily meditation. I never understood the point of meditation before. I never seem to have enough time to finish my thoughts…why would I purposely spend time turning them off??? But that was before I learned about guided meditation. The free insight timer app has tend of thousands of topic-specific guided meditations on everything from overeating and mindful eating to stress, trauma and anxiety. (Hint: Often overeating is a coping strategy for stress or even childhood trauma.)
- Here is another odd one. Pick a body part that you are proud of. Draw a small tattoo of healthy food on the body part, using washable marker. Let this serve as a reminder of choosing healthy foods for a healthy body. (Note: I don't believe in shaming one's self so I did NOT say to draw unhealthy food or to draw on a body part you hate. Keep your self support positive in tone! You deserve love, even from yourself.)
Which Tips to Avoid Halloween Overeating are you going to try? Did I miss one that works for you? Share it in the comments below.