Here in the USA, the push toward the end of October means one thing and one thing only - Halloween! Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
Halloween or All Hallows Eve is typically celebrated on the night of October 31st. The origins of the holiday are a bit murky. Some claim it began in Scotland. Others say it started in Ireland with the Celtic Festival of Samhain. Whatever the origins, autumn ushers in a time when the days get shorter and the nights grow longer and colder.
Few things are as instantly gratifying as 120 calories of finely engineered sticky, sugary goodness.
Sure, local community schedules are packed with haunted hay rides and scary house tours. The cinemas are full of moviegoers looking for a fright. And storytellers gather hordes around campfires to stay warm with tales of the supernatural. But these activities are just the precursor to the big night where the kiddies (big and small) dress up in costumes, wander around neighborhood, and knock on doors in search of sweet treats!
Every year in the wake of Halloween, the blogs are littered with haunting tales, not of ghouls and witches, but of Kenzai trainees dealing with the fallout of snacking on their children’s discarded yummies. Now, a typical kiddo, after a night out on Halloween, is likely to return home with between 5,000 and 7,000 empty calories of confectionary chaos.
We aren’t teetotalers here. Members of our staff are not above the occasional late-night foray into the candy bag. But that bag, no matter how tempting, is filled with a lot of empty calories engineered to blow your mind and your taste buds to bits.
Since your diet plays a central role in your ability to look and feel your best while also impacting your performance at work, at home, and in the gym, keeping it tight around Halloween is only going to help.
Here is my Halloween Survival Guide:
1. Limit Your Intake - This is especially important if you are fresh off a strict training regime. During the final few weeks of your training we reintroduce whole foods, but your belly remains a sensitive ecosystem. After consuming clean fuel for a while, your stomach acid and tummy muscles are weaker. You are efficient at churning through veggies, but not so the barely pronounceable food additives found in most candies.
2. Give out candy you hate - First, if you are in an area that celebrates Halloween, put your light on and pass out candy! That's an order. If you have little kiddos to stroll around then you got a free pass from the Kenzai Halloween police. But don’t be one of those people that doesn’t pass out candy because you are on Kenzai. What does this diatribe have to do with nutrition? Nothing. Your health, and the health of the earthly community is important, but so too is a spot of fun.
Now, then. We all have our favorite treats. Sweet? Salty? Chocolate? Taffy? Caramel? Do yourself a favor and buy your least favorite treats. Pass these out. And in the event there are leftovers, you won’t be tempted
3. No leftovers - Speaking of leftovers, bring them into your office or give them to a friend. We all know a couple of Freegans that will eat just about anything. If not that....throw them away!
4. Crush Your Grams - Some people will cut their grams throughout the day, knowing that later on they are apt to succumb to temptation. This is one of the worst things you can do. Meet those off-menu foods with a full belly to avoid overindulging and impulse eating. Chocolate bars do not your dinner make. Yes, this applies to dark chocolate as well.
5. Have a Craving Plan - When the cravings strike you need to get your mouth moving. A distraction like gum, coffee, or mints may be enough to get you through a craving. If you are an experienced trainee, you might just be able to ride out the wave. Cravings, no matter how strong, won’t last forever. And making hard choices now will show up as great results in the mirror later.
Halloween is an epic event filled with mirth, weirdness, and candy. It only happens once a year. You should enjoy it. But remember, candy is available all year round.
If you are in a serious training cycle and aim to walk the straight and narrow, consider planning an indulgence on your terms when the time is right!