We’re nearing the end of my first 5-Week ‘Change You’ Challenge (it’s going fantastic! Squee!) and at the end of last week’s meet-up, as we were talking about the importance of staying the path before next week’s fit test and measurements, someone gasped, “Oh no! Halloween is this week! I always binge on my kids’ candy!” Then another person chimed in, “And I’ll be drinking! So my guard will be down!”
Halloween isn’t the only challenge we’ll face. We will be faced with opportunities that challenge our resolve often. So how do we handle them? Do we stand our ground and resist all temptation? (And say no to every party invitation until the end of time.) Or do we chalk it up as “it’s just one night” and binge away?
Here are several tips for dealing with Halloween and other such temptations (including some no-nonsense, tough love advice for those who respond best to a verbal smackdown):
1. Get Full
If you’re worried you won’t be able to stop grazing the buffet table once you arrive at a party, eat before you go. Eat a LOT. A lot of high-fiber, nutritious foods. Think protein + veggies + healthy fats. That will ensure you don’t hit the buffet table first thing upon arrival, cutting down on the sheer number of hours you’ll want to stuff your face, and arriving full makes it easier to make sane choices. When you’re starving, everything sounds good. When you’re full, you might still want some of your favorite foods but you’re more able to skip over other options.
Get full before you Trick or Treat with your kids. Stash a handful of almonds in your pocket to help stave off hunger while you’re out and about.
(Tough Love Version: Seriously, eat before you go. Eat a whole chicken, 2 TBS of peanut butter and six oranges before you head out. Hungry now? That’s right. Now be chill.)
2. Use a Smaller Plate
It sounds hokey, but it works. Smaller surface area means less food on the plate. (Unless you’re really good at stacking and balancing. I’ve seen it happen.) But more than that, it means you’ll eat a smaller portion, and then if you wait a bit, your brain will have time to realize you’re actually full or satisfied, and you might find you do not actually need to visit the appetizer table again.
(Tough Love Version: You need games? Fine. Let’s play games to make this work. Grab that miniscule dessert plate, Sparky.)
3. Serve What You Don’t Like
This is one of my tricks. We hand out Halloween candy I don’t like, so I’m not tempted by the bowl of leftovers. At parties I host, I don’t only serve MY favorite foods. I also serve things I’m not tempted to eat, but I know others will enjoy.
(Tough Love Version: Because if it’s not in the kitchen, you can’t eat it. Duh.)
4. Avoid Extremes
Eating 3.5 lbs of candy on Halloween means you’ll feel like sh*t, both physically and emotionally, because you know what follows that binge is a stomach ache and a barrage of negative self-talk.
“See? I have no self-control.”
“See? I’m an idiot – I just gave in to my cravings. AGAIN.”
But the other extreme, vowing you will not put one piece of (sweet, delicious, heavenly) candy into your mouth, is equally defeating. Because is it so wrong to enjoy some of the finer treats in life?
Halloween is fun.
Candy tastes good.
Live a little.
(Tough Love Version: One slip-up does not make you stupid or lazy and unworthy, so quit beating yourself up. Your self-flagellating makes people uncomfortable. And don’t pat yourself too hard on the back for not eating candy either. No one likes people who are smug.)
5. Repeat After Me: I AM in Control
You are. YOU ARE. Seriously, you’re not a victim to your baser instincts. So don’t act like you are. Get rid of the hyperbole.
“I can’t help it – put ice cream in front of me and I’ll eat the entire gallon!”
Maybe you’ve done that a time or two (or, cough cough, 73) in the past. Whatever. Don’t assume you will again.
Get out a small bowl, scoop a reasonable amount into the bowl like a sane person, put the gallon container away, and sit down and eat it.
You have choices.
CHOOSE your mindset.
CHOOSE your actions.
Similarly, avoid hyperbole when you want to control the choices of your partner and kids too. (Oooooh, curve ball!)
“If my kid eats candy, he’s a wild maniac for 12 hours and is completely out of control.”
Food allergies and sensitivities aside, this is probably an exaggeration. And, if you’ve been controlling what they eat on a regular basis, the “wild maniac” behavior might be more about the excitement of the reins being loosened for a day, and the excitement of running around in the dark in a costume with friends, than about an actual physiological effect.
Whatever it is, roll with it. Calm down. Check your assumptions at the door. It’s one day.
(Tough Love Version: Let me guess. You expect your kids to obey you, yet you’re powerless when faced with a Big Mac and Large French Fries. Um, HELLO.)
6. You Can Eat It Whenever You Want
This is another mindset trick, because sometimes, we eat as much as we can because we mistakenly believe it’ll be a long time before we get that food again. Or because we are doing the whole “I’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow” thing, where “on the wagon” means “back to deprivation.”
That’s not helpful thinking.
What might be helpful is telling yourself you can have this treat whenever you want. Followed by, “that means I don’t have to get as much as I can right now.” Of course I can have it again tomorrow if I choose to. All I’d have to do is drive to the store and buy more.
Making something off-limits or turning it into the ‘forbidden fruit’ often has the exact opposite effect – it makes us want it more. Instead, try telling yourself you can have it whenever you want it. That makes it easier to say, “I’ll just have two pieces now. And maybe I’ll have another piece tomorrow.”
(Tough Love Version: Because see #5)
7. Language Matters
If you continually use language that sets you up for failure – even though you’re “just joking” – you are more likely to fail.
“I just know I will eat all the leftover candy in one sitting!” sets a much different intention than “I will enjoy a few pieces of candy.”
And no, you do not need that candy. You want that candy.
“OMG I need chocolate right now!”
“I would like some chocolate.”
Notice the difference?
(Tough Love Version: Seriously, get a grip. Quit being so melodramatic, for cripe’s sake.)
8. It’s Just One Day
Or one party. One event. Does that make it okay to binge? Well, bingeing means you haven’t fully examined the above points, and there might yet be areas you can address and improve.
But, it’s not what you do on one day that matters. Ultimately, it’s what you do the majority of the time that matters and most affects your health and fitness and weight management.
Have you been making mostly healthy choices lately or not? That’s the important question. Think in terms of the Big Picture. Then act and adjust accordingly.
(Tough Love Version: Take out your calendar. Draw a skull on the day you binged. Vow that this day shall never be mentioned again. There, that should satisfy your melodramatic side. And just a thought: You should maybe consider taking up acting.)
9. Get Back on the Wagon
You binged at the party? You ate your kid’s entire bag of candy? (Uh, that’s not nice. Seriously.) So what. Moving on. Start again tomorrow. Do not let one bad day derail you completely. That’s defeatist behavior.
(Tough Love Version: It happened. I’ll give you 5 minutes to do your internal “walk of shame.” :::tick tock tick tock tick tock DING::: Time’s up. Move on.)
If you’re serious about improving and maintaining your health, you will identify the barriers you deal with and you will find ways to navigate them.
You can and you will.
Do not cross me.
(Tough Love Version: I’m sorry I went all tough love on you.)
(No I’m not.)
Now go forth and have a fantastic Halloween!
P.S. Oh, and one more thing!
If you’re worried about the damage you did on Halloween, not to worry, I’ve got you covered! You can do the 5-Day RESET program! This RESET program will help you detox and cleanse, and help you get rid of your sugar cravings BEFORE the holiday season (and all its temptations) begins!.
Special offer good only through 11/3/14 – $115 (Retail cost is $130.)
AND, I’ll do one better – I’ll price it at only $100 if 4 or more buy! Get your friends and family on board!
This would be a great thing to do before you join my next Change You Challenge group! 5-weeks of support, education, products, workouts, accountability and more! Message me for details at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join us!!
Be my next success story!