Archive for October 2010
I really like Halloween. I like the weather getting colder, the dark spooky shadows, the colors of the leaves and being outside through much of it. I also like the silliness of creative costumes and faux horror. We live pretty deep in the woods, so we have no trick-or-treaters. Actually, our house would be a great spot for a haunted house destination, starting with walking down the long dark road, but I don’t have that kind of energy any more. So, our family has joined with another family for the past several years to trick-or-treat in their neighborhood. We share dinner (usually pizza or something easy), parents then bring our dinner wine for our walk around the old spooky houses following our trick-or-treat kids.
I even love to indulge a little in the candy. My favorite is a mounds bar, or something else dark chocolate. What I don’t love about Halloween is the volume. Candy is very cheap these days, so most houses pass out hands full. The kids end up with pounds and pounds of candy. There is no way to eat it all in a healthy way.
So here are my tips for getting though Halloween without extra pounds or newly sprouting cavities:
- Talk to your kids about it ahead of time. Make a plan for having fun, eating some of your favorites, but not over doing it.void
- Feed them (everyone in the family) dinner before trick-or-treating. Avoid allowing hunger to dictate what’s for dinner.
- Avoid hording. Don’t allow candy to be squirreled away in the bedroom for really nasty night munching (without brushing) and beginning that bad habit of secret binging. Really discourage the inventorying of candy also. (I’ve seen it.)
- Create a share bowl. Have all kids bring all candy to a common place for everyone to enjoy. OK, I am aware that these last two bullets are REALLY hard for some kids/families. No time like the present to start working toward these goals.
- Start siphoning off some of the candy throughout the week. If you have a high traffic office or other outlet, you might take it there. My office (not surprisingly) really frowns on everyone bringing in candy, that we will then get eaten by you and your co-workers. It IS OK to throw away “perfectly good” candy. The manufacturers make plenty of money selling us more than we need. We are not under any obligation to eat it all. THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF FOOD!
This is the season of gluttony. We begin with Halloween and enter the slippery slope that runs past Thanksgiving, all of December and right toward Valentine’s Day. We Americans don’t stop eating for most of the winter, starting off with several holiday events that practically beg for excess intake. This little series of blog pieces will focus on this Season of Gluttony. Don’t be mistaken, I am not a stay-away-from-everything-yummy type of person. Not that dietitian. I do have some tips, however, for getting you and your family through this season without some tag-along extra weight that needs to be burned off next spring. The cycle of gain and loss – emphasis mostly on yearly gain – is not healthy. The truth is, you can participate in the culinary fun and come through healthy and happy.
The first recommendation for the entire season is to create an exercise plan and stick to it. Don’t let your winter be the season of couch potato-ing. Being out in the cold, even in the rain or snow, is actually exhilarating if you are dressed for it, and if you work out. Get some gear for being outside – some running pants, a sweat wicking shirt, a water/wind resistant jacket, etc. Plan for continuing through whatever weather, and go for it. (I got a real taste for this when we moved to Alaska. I started by deciding I could not run if it was less than 20 degrees. Since that come in October that year, I knew I needed to thicken my blood, buy some long underwear, and plan to just get out there if I was going to be active all winter. ) If you really hate being out in the cold, make a plan to walk at the mall, walk during your lunch break, go to the gym or SOMETHING! Don’t stop exercising.
The second recommendation for the season is to plan for food excesses by planning lighter meals. I know that the cold weather makes us think of stick-to-your ribs food, but work on lighter options like pasta fagioli (pronounced “fasool” or pasta chi chi) is a vegetarian pasta with beans. Other soups are good options if you don’t overdo the portions, or accompanying bread. Think smaller, simpler meals during this time when you know excess is around the corner.
I’ll post throughout the holidays and the winter with ideas about how to navigate the minefield that is ahead of us. Post your comments, your own suggestions or issues that I might attend to. Above all, consider that with a bit of preparation and forethought, you can relax and enjoy the bounty of the season. Cheers!
Friday – Said good-bye to my last cup of “real” coffee this morning. Today I also decided to try to comply with my doctor’s recommendation that I start taking Glucosamine Chontroitin for my joints and impending arthritis, and fish oil pills for my immovable cholesterol. It’s much easier to avoid that second cup of coffee with a belly full of supplements. [Supplements are definitely fodder for another blog.]
Tomorrow is my first day of no caffeine. I do think I will rely on decaf for a while. I don’t have anything against it, I am just not sure about the processing of making it decaf, and how it will taste to my picky taste buds. Better go get lunch and my tylenol. Let’s see how this weekend goes.
Cutting down day 5
Sunday went well. I ran in the afternoon, then fell asleep, so no afternoon pick-me-up seemed fine.
Monday evening, while writing my blog, my dog took herself for a walk. An hour an a half of looking did not find the dog. Two calls to the police/Animal Control did not find the dog.
Tuesday am after very little sleep, lots of tears and distraught children I was nauseated and did not mind only a small cup at breakfast. Dog was located at the pound by afternoon, but the sleepless night and emotion filled day increased my need for sleep, but not a want for coffee. I did treat myself to a 12 oz decaf latte for to accompany my evening meeting at church. I felt like I cheated.
Wednesday I was back on track – sort of. I had my usual am coffee accompanied by a small to-go for the bus. Nothing in the afternoon, but I REALLY wanted one.
Thursday am – small cup this am. Went for a run after dropping kids, followed by a lot of water. Looking forward to more water and MAYBE decaf this afternoon if I’m desperate. I’m planning something hot but not caffeinated for my quit days. I seem to want that sort of am treat.