Well, it’s officially October! School is back in session, the leaves are turning, and Halloween is just around the corner. I love the season change. To me, it signifies the rebirth of something new and exciting; a time to refocus on goals, and perhaps even set some new ones. Unfortunately, it is also the time I see the fewest people at the gym. Why? Because there is something about that 3-month window from October to December that has people abandoning all their fitness goals, and hopping on a sugar fuelled freight train into a downward spiral of overindulgence. A time filled with office parties, and other social gatherings where you will undoubtedly be tempted with drinks and treats that DO NOT fit your macros. I don’t care what the commercials try to make us believe, Snickers are not a meal replacement bar.

It all starts with Halloween. The aisles of your local grocery store are now lined with bags of assorted candies and baked goods that seem way more appealing than the vegetables and fruits you intended on buying. Will you even have trick or treaters this year? Who cares? Better buy a bag of candy just in case. If no one comes to your door you’ll have the perfect snack for binge-watching the latest season of Stranger Things. Next up is Thanksgiving; a holiday where we give thanks by filling our stomachs with as many carb loaded items one can think of! You may have already had three plates of food, but Gretchen from accounting just brought in a whole dessert tray, and you don’t want to be wasteful. After Thanksgiving we have Christmas and let’s be honest, those cookies for Santa aren’t going to eat themselves. Before you know it, it’s New Years and your goal now is to become a brand-new person who doesn’t overindulge during next year’s holiday season. Sound familiar? While it is true that holidays provide a lot of temptations, all hope is not lost. I’m here to provide you with some helpful tips to get through this holiday season without adding inches to your waistline.

Let’s start with the temptation in the grocery stores. Going in with a written list of you what need is the best way to ensure you don’t come out with a cart full of sugary snacks and other unnecessary items. If you are shopping in between meals I also suggest bringing along a small, healthy snack to munch on so you don’t fall victim to “hunger purchases”. Avoiding the aisles altogether is a good rule of thumb for the grocery store because most of the lean proteins and other whole foods run along the perimeter. Stick to the list and walk out with a little extra pep in your step!

Next is the office parties, or just the office in general. It can be hard to resist a break table filled with baked goods, or the jar of candy at the front desk when you must walk by it every day. My best advice? Pack your own lunch, and repeat to yourself “Cupcakes cannot talk”. You may laugh but I tried this once and it was seriously life-changing. If you have harder time with sweets try bringing in your own healthy sweet treat. Almonds, dark chocolate, with dried cranberries and bananas are one of my favorite mixes. Just make sure you pay attention to serving sizes.

Lastly, we have the social gatherings of friends and family. I highly suggest eating your own healthy meal before going out. While we do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings by not eating the food they brought, it is perfectly acceptable to lie and say you are so full that if you ate another bite you may vomit. No one is going to question that. Trust me. And if they do, vomit on them. Serves them right.

Those three steps may seem simple and obvious but they are often overlooked when it comes to the holiday season. You don’t want to be the person who wakes up on January 1st feeling so disgusted with themselves that they spend the next three months in a state of self-loathing over the choices they made the last three months. Stick to your grocery list, pack your own lunch, and eat before you go out to that holiday party. No one’s feelings get hurt and you come out of the holiday season with minimal damage to your waistline.

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