'Twas the day before Halloween and things were fine and dandy,
For 6 months you've been healthy, exercised, and not eaten any candy.
But seeing witches and ghosts put you in the spirit of the day,
So you figured "what's the harm of just one Milky Way?"
And even though you knew deep down you shouldn't do that,
You couldn't resist your love affair for nougat.
The fun-sized treat soon turned into six,
You needed more caramel, so you went for a Twix.
And all the hard-work exercising and healthy eating from over the summer,
Came undone in one chocolatey-bummer.
One month later, you're six-pack stomach has turned into a keg,
As your family watches you eat your chocolate-covered turkey leg.
And as you sit on 2 chairs, feeling grumpy and thick,
You realize that Milky Way was not such a treat, but rather a trick!
We all know that candy, soda, junk food is bad for you. I'm not going to waste your time explaining that to you.
For 99% of us, we at least make some effort to keep our unhealthy habits within reasonable control. And for 99% of us, it's unreasonable to think that we can avoid eating a single piece of candy or junk food for the rest of our lives, especially during this time of year.
So how do we find a way to stay healthy, but allow ourselves some freedom to enjoy ourselves in moderation?
Use it as a Reward
The #1 way to make sure that your unhealthy eating doesn't get the best of you is to PLAN IT OUT! Understand that you're not perfect and that it's ok to eat a piece of candy occasionally. But the way to make sure you're not ending up eating turkey dipped in chocolate is to schedule your sweet-tooth cravings. And take it one step further by planning to have good eating/exercising habits earlier in the week, and then rewarding yourself with a treat if you accomplish it.
For instance, knowing that Halloween is tomorrow, I would've told myself to avoid all desserts and sweet drinks since last week. If I did a good job, I'd let myself steal a Milky Way from the first kid dressed up as Miley Cyrus that I came across and enjoy the heck out of it.
By treating your snack like a reward, you develop a system that will have you evaluating your nutrition before you decide to sweet snack. And more importantly, if you didn't accomplish your goals earlier in the week, you might just find the discipline to put down the candy and keep yourself honest.
When it comes to Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, make it a goal to cut down your daily consumption by 100 calories in the week leading up to your feast. You'll save 700 calories throughout the week, which should be about the amount of calories in your pumpkin pie.
Have a Substitute
Remember back in school how fun it was to have a substitute teacher for the day? Well this is exactly the same... kinda. Pick an unhealthy snack that you eat too often: ice cream, chips, soda, candy. That's your old, grouchy everyday teacher Ms. Crabapple. And think of a healthy substitute that you enjoy like yogurt, fruit, or a granola bar. That's the young, nice, fun substitute, Ms. Angelface. If you can just consistently replace your Ms. Crabapple with Ms. Angelface, you are going to get a lot better grades.
Seriously though, do this for just 1 or 2 unhealthy habits until the end of 2016 and you'll offset those heavy holiday meals and maybe even lose a few lbs. I'll go first by eliminating ice cream from my diet and replacing it with greek yogurt and granola. Yum!