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Watch Your Weight This Halloween

By Tracie Johanson

For those of us who are looking for quick weight loss, Halloween can be a scary experience! While just one night of indulgence in Halloween candy might not be enough to break your belt, dipping into the leftover stockpile for weeks on end will surely derail your diet or weight loss program.

In 1921, in Anoka, MN, the United States enjoyed our first recorded instance of a Halloween celebration. Annual candy consumption has climbed almost unabated since then. According to the Census Bureau, Americans eat nearly a half-pound of candy each week for an average of 25 pounds of candy a year. Candy is big business, with the United States boasting 1,040 manufacturing establishments producing chocolate and cocoa products in 2001. These establishments employed 45,913 people and shipped $12 billion worth of goods that year. Another 616 U.S. establishments manufactured non-chocolate confectionery products in 2001. These establishments employed 26,400 people and shipped $7 billion worth of goods that year (source: census.gov).

The overwhelming popularity of the South Beach Diet, Zone Diet, and Atkins Diet has prompted low-carb weight watchers to eat less candy. Overall consumption has actually declined over the last few years; as recently as 1997 the average annual candy consumption was a sky-high 27 pounds.

-> The Problem:

Most people on a diet plan or weight control program look at candy as little brightly-colored fat bombs. That assessment isn't far off the mark, either, with most candy packing little nutritional value and a ton of calories.

Some of the more popular Halloween candy has too many calories to be included in any healthy diet:

  • Twizzlers 1 treat size pkg.= 45 calories

  • Almond Joy 1 snack size bar = 90 calories

  • Milk Duds 1 treat size box = 40 calories

  • Butterfinger 1 snack size bar = 100 calories

  • Milky Way 1 snack size bar = 90 calories

  • SweetTarts 1 treat size pkg. = 50 calories

  • 1 Tootsie Pop 1 pop = 60 calories

  • 1 Tootsie Roll 1 small roll = 13 calories

Note: Calorie content is based on 1 serving of Halloween "snack or "fun size packages, not full size servings found in the candy aisle.

While just a few pieces of Halloween candy won't obliterate your diet program or weight loss plan, it's the temptation to keep having "just one more that will pack on the pounds. It only takes nine small fun-size candy bars to put on a quarter-pound of fat. Besides candy, Halloween threatens many other high-calorie treats like Caramel apples (243 calories), 8-oz. apple cider and a cake donut (319 calories), or a slice of pumpkin pie (240 calories).

-> The Solution:

Is it possible to cope with the menace of Halloween candy without taking all the fun out of the holiday? Absolutely! If you're looking for fast weight loss, and don't want Halloween to bring your fat loss to a screeching halt, consider these healthy Halloween tips:

  1. Walk with your kids while they're trick-or-treating. A 165-lb. woman strolling along (walking slowly) for one hour will burn approximately 150 calories (source: caloriesperhour.com).

  2. Out of sight, out of mind. When the kids have unloaded their stash, store it in an airtight container and put it in the cupboard. A bowl full of candy on the counter is an open invitation to have "just one", but a stockpile you can't see is less tempting.

  3. If you're going to give out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, don't buy it until October 31st. Having a candy supply in the house before Halloween only entices you to have some early.

  4. If you must buy candy before Halloween, buy a kind you don't like. Again, this will reduce the temptation for you to dig in.

  5. Hosting a Halloween party? Supply vegetables, healthy dips, and low fat snacking alternatives instead of candy.

  6. Set a Halloween candy deadline by which all Halloween candy must be either consumed (by the kids) or it will be thrown away. Saving that candy for weeks, or even months, only keeps temptation in the house.

  7. Put more emphasis on dressing up in a great costume, and less on candy. This is especially true for the kids, who often view Halloween as a candy free-for-all dream come true.

  8. By hosting a party on Halloween night, you can control the menu and have fun with friends at the same time.

  9. Focus on Halloween activities other than eating. There are lots of options available, from hayrides to haunted houses to bonfires.

  10. Candy has a long shelf life, and there's no reason why you couldn't put some of it in airtight bags and store it in the freezer. Allow the kids to take out one bag every two weeks until it's gone. This tactic will at least space out the temptation and minimize candy binge eating.

Of course, the absolute best way to avoid weight gain, and perhaps even achieve some easy weight loss, during the Halloween season is to bump up the amount of exercise you're getting. There's no better way to lose weight fast than a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Make sure the workout you're doing includes both aerobic and resistance training, as it is critical to get both types of exercise to maximize weight loss. It's also important to exercise for at least thirty minutes, three times per week, which is the most recent recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (source: cdc.gov).

A fantastic strategy is to find the best weight loss program for you now, before Halloween hits. The reason is that the last three months of the year are packed with holidays, special dinners and seasonal treats. Starting with Halloween candy and ending with Christmas fudge, many people find that they're packing on more pounds during this period than they do any other time of year.

Joining a gym is an excellent way to combat Halloween and holiday weight gain. Finding a good gym to join now will not only help keep off those holiday pounds, but will even make you slimmer by New Years.

For more free weight loss information and weight loss tips, go to www.letspickupthepace.com and click on the "Articles link.

* Copyright 2005 Pick Up The Pace. Permission is not required for the distribution of Pick Up The Pace articles as long as they are used in their entirety, are properly credited to Pick Up The Pace, and are accompanied by our website link: www.letspickupthepace.com.

* The information in this article and on this site is for general reference purposes only and not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information in this article or on www.letspickupthepace.com should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.

About The Author

Tracie Johanson is the founder of Pick Up The Pace, a 30-minute exercise studio for women, focusing on fitness, health and nutrition for maximum weight loss. Please visit www.letspickupthepace.com for more information.

info@letspickupthepace.com


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