Cut Back on Candy Calories During Halloween

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Halloween treats may be called fun-size, but as we all know, going up a size is far from fun, especially if you want to fit into those tiny cocktail dresses come December. It can be tough to pass on the sugar this time of year but with Halloween being the first of many calorie-heavy holidays to come, the time to start resisting is now.

 “In the last few years, we’ve seen the popularity of Halloween really skyrocket, and how you manage this holiday really sets the tone for how you will handle the rest of the season,” said Adrienne Youdim, MD, medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Weight Loss Center. “It marks the beginning of a holiday season that is laden with sweets, pies, celebratory feasts, cocktails, parties and other temptations derail important lifestyle changes.” Dr. Youdim and her team offer the following strategies. Try adhering to at least two or three—your waistline will thank you.

• Skip passing out candy. Glow-in-the-dark necklaces or other inexpensive trinkets can replace the traditional sugary treats.
• Buy candy you don’t like. Have a weakness for chocolate? Pick up some lollipops to hand out instead. Indulge wisely by allowing yourself one or two pre-portioned candies, then get rid of the rest.
• Be kind to your co-workers: find a dumping ground other than the office for unwanted candy.
• Question your motives every time you’re tempted to reach for the candy bowl. Evaluate your emotional state. If you’re eating to soothe stress or sadness, or out of boredom, find another way to cope.
• Track your calories, especially on the holiday itself and the days before and after. Keeping food records is one of the best strategies for weight loss, and has been backed by numerous scientific studies. Commit to writing down all the foods you eat, including the candies and other holiday treats, and you will be less likely to over-indulge.
• Maintain your routines throughout the holiday season. ‘Tis the season when healthy habits take a backseat to the festivities. If you usually hit the gym or take a daily walk, don’t take a holiday from these important healthy priorities.
• Set an example for your children. Be sure children eat dinner before trick-or-treating. As a family, come up with a candy quota not to be exceeded. Teach children to manage their treats by giving them an opportunity to choose their favorites, practice savoring them and rationing their hard-earned loot so all the candy isn’t devoured in a day or two of binging.
• Don’t make food the focus. Starting with Halloween, emphasize the fun of perfecting that costume and spending time with friends and loved ones. These aspects of celebrations, not the food, should be the main events.

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