Posts Tagged ‘fear’
Your Diet’s Halloween Survival Guide
If you hear a blood curdling scream this week, rest assured that it’s not an extra from The Walking Dead or someone watching a scary movie marathon. That’s me walking near the candy aisle while at the grocery store during this time of year. And like me, many of us with a dieter’s mentality fear the Halloween season with the same kind of dread we do a visit to the dentist or (gulp!) getting on the scale after a weekend of gastronomical debauchery.
But fear not! All Hallows Eve actually has no power over us or our waistlines… Unless we give it said power. And for the record, this is the year we’re taking back Halloween and making it more treat than trick.
For starters, let’s remember we’re talking about a 24-hour period. And guess what? Even if you’re on a diet plan and committed to getting rid of your excess weight, a few pieces of candy eaten in moderation (key word!) is not going to harm you at all—especially if you combine the munching with an extra lap or two around the block (and/or shopping mall if the weather outside is frightful).
As dieters, it’s our denial of foods we love that often leads to excessive bingeing. So if you really want to indulge in some sugary goodness, then choose some well-made candy (meaning it’s full of all-natural ingredients as opposed to a list of additives that would make even a mummy unravel). When I took off over 250 pounds of excess weight over a decade ago, it was through moderation as opposed to starvation or denial. Too often we turn favorite foods into a forbidden fruit that we then become obsessed with eating.
Another tactic that makes Halloween more spook-tacular is focusing on non-food related enjoyment. This is easy given that most people enjoy dressing up. And no, you don’t need a costume party to do so. A lot of workplaces allow employees to dress up for work when Halloween hits on a weekday. Or just throw on a pair of vampire fangs when you’re running your errands to suck up a whole bunch of smiles (if not second glances).
If you need an actual party as an excuse to don a costume, then throw a last minute soirée yourself. Get inventive with the theme: ’80s TV shows? Favorite movie detectives? Inanimate objects? Make October 31st more about the fun than the food. And if you’re throwing the party, you can schedule nutritionally sound games like bobbing for apples or pin the tail on the werewolf.
And believe it or not, actual trick-or-treating can scare away fat itself. Volunteer to go along with a group of neighborhood kids. Or take your own kids to the mall and be willing to make several rounds with them. Kids’ energy is high on Halloween—and not just due to the potential sugar rush. It’s fun to dress up. It’s fun to say “Boo!” And it’s fun to walk and walk and walk. (Remember the rules for even healthier walking: suck that tummy in, pump those arms and maintain a healthy posture.)
Last but not least, go easy on yourself. Even those strange, mythical “I can eat anything I want and not gain weight” creatures (much more unexplainable than zombies if you ask me) will be complaining on November 1st that they overdid it on the candy. The difference between them and us (the ones with a dieter’s mentality) is that they don’t feel compelled to keep eating the candy on the day after Halloween. They did it. They enjoyed it. They regret the extra nibble or two and now they’re moving on, mentally—just like we can do, if we give ourselves that kind of freedom.
Besides, November 1st heralds a whole ‘nother eating holiday’s approach. So it’ll be time to stop thinking about the season of the witch and wondering how we are going to construct a healthy game plan for gobble-gobble day. Although I’m here to tell you that as is the case with Halloween, the only thing to fear is… Well, you know the rest (in peace).
No. That’s not the theme from Jaws you hear playing the background. Although for those of us with a dieter’s mentality, come mid November, that’s pretty much what we hear in our heads from now through New Year’s Day — along with the little voice inside our head telling us to “Just forget the diet and start again in the new year.”
Ulp. It’s that time again.
Nothing strikes terror in the heart of a dieter more than the holiday season. And like it or not, it’s upon us. But this year is going to be different. Why? Because this year, you’re staying in control (you are stronger than Pumpkin Pie, after all). And you’re also going to exercise your newfound knowledge regarding the difference between a Splurge Meal and a Binge. After all, Thanksgiving (and the rest of the holidays) are approaching quickly. So why not psyche ourselves up, mentally, now?
In the book Just Stop Eating So Much!, I write about Splurge Meal options when you get close to or reach your goal weight. Yes, at a Splurge Meal you can enjoy your favorite foods and beverages – but you’re encouraged to do it within reason (paying attention to portion sizes and pushing the plate away before the waistline of your jeans starts cutting off circulation to the upper half of your body).
The trick is to really enjoy a meal – not an entire day (or weekend, week, month or season) of splurging. Because when continuing to eat after the one meal, splurging becomesbingeing – and that leads to disaster for both your mental and physical health.
But here’s the good news! This Thanksgiving, whether you’re at, near – or far from – your goal weight, you have permission to enjoy a Splurge Meal. If you just enjoy the one Thanksgiving meal and eat and drink according to healthier food and portion guidelines for the rest of the holiday weekend, you won’t hurt your efforts to look and feel great.
And when it comes to splurging on Thanksgiving Dinner, try and make sure you enjoy allaspects of it and don’t make it about eating as many sweet potatoes as you can, since you know you’re back to your commitment to eating healthier resumes right after the meal is over. Instead, really taste the food with each bite. Savor every morsel – and enjoy all of the different the flavor sensations – while also enjoying the people you’re dining with and listing the reasons you’re thankful in your head.
So this Turkey Day, eat, drink and be merry – all without guilt. But don’t be a glutton. Stop before you’re too full and don’t mourn not being able to have a turkey sandwich later. After all, your weight loss efforts are a choice. You are choosing to get healthy, to look better, to fit into your skinny jeans and to turn a few heads by Christmastime.
By successfully living through an “eating holiday,” you will prove once and for all that this time you’re really in control. And that’s definitely cause for celebration!
Don’t fear the rainy day, plan for it
Photo source: mpietkevich.com
I remember when I was a little kid and saw one of the first curse words I’d ever learned written out (and even appearing in public no less!) in the form of a bumper sticker that read, “Sh*t happens.” While the saying got a chuckle out of me at the time (much to the chagrin of my parents), little did I realize that said bumper sticker was offering up an insightful life philosophy worth pondering.
Like it or not, it turns out that sh*t does happen. And yeah, this is me (an eternal optimist as many of you faithful readers know) blogging this. But when you think about it, acknowledging that sh*t does happen doesn’t make someone a pessimist. It just makes them wise to acknowledge that it does sometimes happen. Whether or not life’s “sh*t” (however you define it) disrupts our everyday, it’s how we handle it that really matters (and, therefore, actually determines whether one is an optimist or not).
Recently, the sh*t has hit the fan for a couple close friends of mine. And given that I’ve dealt with my own forms of sh*t over the years, my friends often turn to me for advice. These days, I’m all about being proactive. So recently when a friend told me he was worried about losing his job, I told him to plan for it. Same was true when a girlfriend recently confessed that she was scared about getting a divorce since she still loved her husband and they had several young children. Again, I suggested she plan for it.
Now, I wasn’t telling these friends that losing a job or a spouse was inevitable. I was letting them know that having a “Plan B” would actually help them sleep better at night – not to mention give them the knowledge to know that no matter what transpired, they had a plan and, thus, they would both be okay. In fact, I firmly believe that sometimes just having a plan in place keeps the bad (or sh*tty!) things from happening all together. But there will be days that bad things do happen. So we might as well be prepared for them.
In the past, when I feared something would go wrong or that I’d be hit with devastating circumstances, I would worry, moan and shift into victim-mode. This was basically a way of letting evryone around me (along with the universe) know that I was useless and couldn’t handle any life altering event thrown my way. What a wimp I was.
The fact of the matter is, challening things are going to happen from time to time. But again, it’s not these life events that define us, it’s how we handle them.
One day I simply learned that knowing how I would handle any situation I was worried about happening took away all of the situation’s power (whether it eventually happened or not). Don’t get me wrong. I want my friend to keep his job. And I want my girlfriend to stay married to her husband (for their sake and the sake of their three kids). But if either of these situations do not work out, it will be for the best. The choice is theirs how quickly ‘the best’ arrives into their lives. It might be days after the supposedly devestating event. Or it might be weeks. Or, as it was with me in regard to some of life’s past blows, it might be years. Again, the choice is theirs… And mine… And yours.
Is there something you’re facing that’s infecting your life with fear and worry? Whether smallish or potentially life–altering, I suggest you sit down and begin to write out your Plan B. You might not arrive at all the answers and strategies you’ll need to rise like a phoenix from the ashes right away. But starting your Plan B is just that – a start. And a very fine way for you to prove to your boss, to your spouse or whomever (even the universe – or, better yet, yourself) that you’ve got what it takes to not only survive, but to thrive.