Written by Ryan Guerra
Halloween. Otherwise know as Round One of the holiday season sugar challenge. The mindset and health commitments we make as we head into Halloween and all it’s sugary fare undeniably sets the tone for the following months of parties, gatherings and temptations to keep a “stash” in the house. If we approach the season with a growth mindset decided on what we pre-define as success then it is totally possible to ENJOY the season and some of it’s indulgences AND ALSO feel great because of habits we decide on ahead of time that will make it simple to make healthy choices.
Set yourself and your loved ones up for success by using ideas like these as we approach round one; Halloween.
- Make up your mind. Decide in advance what you WILL enjoy and how much. This time of year candy bowls appear in the office and children come home from trick or treating with half of Willy Wonka’s factory in a bucket. Pre-commit to only a certain reasonable amount of fly-by snatch and grabs from the community candy bowl each week. One mini-snickers each day is not going to derail your health over a short period of time, but grabbing one every-other time you walk by it will. If you have children that trick or treat talk to them ahead of time about what they hope they get during their outings and that when they get home they can pick 10-20 total pieces of their favorite candy to keep. (Don’t worry. We won’t be recommending they give the rest to their parents..sorry 😉 Unless it’s the unavoidable Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup tax of course.)
- Donate. One candy donation program that is available in most areas is Halloween Candy Buy Back, which donates candy to soldiers overseas in care packages. This candy is also often used to give to kids in villages that soldiers have a presence in to promote good-will and create relationships based on kindness and giving. However, whether you donate or discard the excess treats just be sure to get it out of the house! Why create the temptation to chip away at the stash until it’s down to Double Bubble and hard candy and you finally throw it away?! (talking to myself here!)
- Make the mind-body connection. Think about how good it feels to NOT get that sugar crash. The short term “yum” factor and energy boost from sugar is addicting, but the sugar crash that comes with it creates brain fog, headaches, reduced immunity and lethargy. Be intentional to make the mental connection to the sense of accomplishment and clear-mindedness that occurs when you make healthy decisions to not partake or consume beyond what you committed to.
- Don’t beat yourself up. If in the course of festivities you over-do it and eat five too many reese’s peanut butter cups (oh…only I do that? Ok.) chalk it up to the short term enjoyment you get out of it, but re-commit to your plan and begin to replenish your body by hydrating well and supplementing with the vitamins and nutrients that sugar depletes. /nerd alert/ When your body metabolizes a carbohydrate, of which sugar is one, it uses vitamin B, Zinc and magnesium to process it all to name a few. When we are depleted of vitamins like these it sends the body into an imbalance, which often leaves us craving a quick burst of energy and we ironically go to sugar for that, which is what has cause the depletion in the first place. Stop the cycle by going to the root of what is needed to bring back balance instead of throw fuel on the fire. HINT: It might seem silly to write down something like the number of treats you’ll allow yourself weekly at the office or daily from your kid’s trick or treat haul, but when you write a commitment down you increase your success rate ten-fold versus just having it in your head.
Set yourself and those around you up for success as the bell is about to ring for Halloween, Round One of the holiday sugar challenge. Think about how good it feels and the control you have over your choices that will let you enjoy the season ahead, without regret and having to dig out of increased sugar dependency, decreased immunity and the weight gain that doesn’t have to come as part of the holiday package.
BONUS: Ifyou love Reese’s peanut butter cups like we do in our house we hope you will enjoy this healthier alternative that is a hit with our family! It is still calorie dense, but uses healthy ingredients.
Ryan Guerra has a diverse background in investment advisory, ministry and health and wellness. He loves the continual pursuit of learning in order to bring value and contribution in the areas of faith, family and business. His wife says he’s smarter than science…and because listening to your wife is one of the smartest things you can do…of course he believes her.