October 15

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The Halloween Fright No One Talks About

By Linda Melone

The year 2020 can’t be made scarier with the most frightening of Halloween shenanigans. By now you’ve probably adjusted as best as you can.

But the only true thing to fear is the Attack of the Fun-Size Candy Bars (insert sounds of screaming and wailing)!

These small, miniature treats appear harmless enough. They’re so tiny they look as if they’d get stuck between your teeth.

How bad can they be, right?

Therein lies the problem. A single piece on its own, not a problem.

But it never stops there.

It all starts innocently enough with one peanut M&M and doesn’t end until you find yourself lying face up in a pool of melted chocolate, your body outlined with crumpled up candy wrappers.

Then you step on the scale.

“How can a person gain possibly 12 pounds overnight?” you exclaim, tossing the bathroom scale out the window, setting off your neighbor’s car alarm.

Then you see the candy wrapper debris field around you.

Physiologically, no, you can’t gain weight that quickly (although water weight gain may register a few pounds heavier). In reality, it takes 3,500 calories to add a pound of fat to your body, so unless you ate 35, 100-calorie mini bars you’re alright.

For now.

But the danger begins with a mental state shift that occurs after Halloween.

 

Throwing caution – and calories – to the wind for one night won’t do a lot of damage on its own, but only as long as you don’t make that your mantra until January 2.

For example, here are a few common, dangerous thoughts that enter many minds during this time of year:

1. “It’s the holidays! Time to forget all about this silly dieting and live it up a little. Hand me that bowl of cheese balls, will ya?”
2. “What’s a little wine/spiked eggnog/hot toddy for breakfast? Cheers!” 
3. “I’ll just wear my bathrobe until the first of the New Year.”

Sound familiar?

We all have good intentions. Eat a little more and get rid of it come January 1. Easy peasy.

In theory, it sounds like a bulletproof plan.

Sure, it’s super simple in concept, but guess what happens in January?

It’s cold, snowy, and dark.
The holidays are over.
No more parties and good cheer.

Just you, lousy weather, and a boatload of leftover treats from three months of celebrating.

In other words, it’s not the most motivating time to start calorie counting. You really have until March, though, right? That still leaves enough time to get in shape for summer at least.

Problem is, something else comes up then, too.

In short: You never lose it.

At least that’s what studies show.

Most people gain only a pound or so over the holidays but then they never take it off. Who worries about a pound, right? Now add that up over 10 or 20 years, throw in menopause, stress, and four new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors and you’re now up to 20 or more pounds.

So here’s a tip: Avoid weight gain altogether by starting NOW. Yes, as in TODAY. 

Wow, maybe she should rename her blog Angry, No-Fun, Buzzkill and Miserable After 50,” you may be thinking.

All I’m saying is you may be torn between overindulging and staying on track during a time when the overindulging opportunities increase 20 fold over the ones that help you stay fit and lean.

Here are some words of wisdom to keep you on the straight and narrow:

1. Strive to maintain, not lose

Look, it’s hard enough to lose weight the rest of the year – especially THIS year. The holidays present so many opportunities to fall off the calorie wagon it’s unrealistic to think you can continue to lose weight. So give yourself slack and simply focus on keeping things status quo. Enjoy yourself but keep it within reason.

2. Limit alcohol

Here’s the tip you’ll skip. Yes, it’s Miss Booze Buzzkill again. I’d suggest drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage but no one does it (but yes, it’s a good idea if it works for you). Keep in mind that alcohol slows fat burning and increases appetite. As with everything, pick and choose your battles. If you like a glass or two of wine, go easy on fried appetizers. If you live for eggnog, cut back on dessert. You get the idea.

3. Focus on the non-caloric festivities

If you focus on your family and social-distancing gatherings with friends, food naturally falls into the background. Keep in mind the true meaning of the holidays and you won’t feel as if you’re missing anything.

NOW YOU…

What will YOU do to keep yourself in check during the holidays?

Let me know in the comments below… 

Other posts you may like:

3 Surprising reasons for weight gain after 50 (no one tells you)

10 Ways to burn 350 more calories every day — without exercise (and lose 30 lbs!)

2 Surprising ways you unknowingly sabotage yourself

Your Ageless Body Coach,

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