Healthy Bariatric Living – It Begins with Halloween

Steph Wagner MS, RDN

October 30, 2015

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Bariatric Living - The Holidays Start with Halloween!!

It allllll begins with Halloween.

The tipping point of the holiday season that can make us…or break us in our weight-loss goals. Now THAT is scary!!!!

We have a million and one reasons to fall off our healthy intentions and eat sugary sweets. It’s my birthday. It’s his birthday! It’s Valentine’s Day! It’s Christmas/Hanukkah/New Years/Easter/Fourth of July!!!!!

There’s no denying the hardest time of the year to get pounds off is during the traditional holiday trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

But in my experience….it all begins with Halloween.

For the past 7 years of bariatric nutrition counseling I always see this theme. The weeks following Halloween, patients come in with weight-gain and are really upset with themselves. They couldn’t stay out of their kids candy or the leftovers from their own giveaway basket at the house.

What makes this REALLY difficult, is once all the sugar is pumping through their bodies…they are walking into the hardest time of year feeling really weak in their abilities to walk away. Pinterest feeds are covered in holiday temptations! Someone ALREADY brought over the first round of holiday bread! That giant tin of flavored popcorn is never-ending and I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.

Sugary foods are addictive. We now have studies that show the same areas of the bright that light up with street drugs are the very same areas that light up with sugary foods. They are that addictive.

And it takes avoiding sugary (and starchy) foods for a good 3-5 days to get it back out of the system. So while the fun-sized candy bars are really fun in that 60 seconds of enjoyment, the lasting affects of craving and thinking of the next “hit” are not so fun.

Let’s get real.

The holiday season is INSANELY HARD for anyone trying to lose weight and better their health…bariatric surgery patients included. High sugar, high starch foods go down your pouch very easily which means unless you are crazy sensitive to sugar and have dumping syndrome at the thought sugar you aren’t exempt from the addictive properties of sugar. 

To win at the holiday season…don’t ignore the power of Halloween!

Do you have a game plan?

What are you handing out at your house this year? (Last year I handed out sticky hands and pencils from Oriental Trading…cheaper and I wasn’t tempted to eat it!!)

If you are handing out candy – what are you doing with the leftovers??

If your kids are coming how with pillowcases full of candy – how are you handling that? Are you controlling their intake of sugar? Or are you asking them to hide it from you??

A few years ago, I had a patient buy a lock and key safe. She gave the key to her husband so she wouldn’t know where it was, and he was in charge of opening the safe once a day for the kids to make a selection. It kept her out and it kept them regulated from the Great Sugar Binge of 2013. Not a bad idea!

In my opinion, the most important thing is to have a plan. Don’t be caught off guard! Buckets of candy are being prepared in your neighborhood at this….very…moment. It’s time to prepare your plan of attack!!!!

Any great tips or tricks you’ll be using this year to stay on track?? Share them here! We all need a plan!!!!

Oh and…Happy Halloween! ;)