Monday, October 7, 2013

AIM: Kickoff to the Eating Season

 
It's October, which means fall, football, and all of the food that seems to come with this time of year.  I know that most people think the tough time to maintain your weight comes between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, but to me, the Eating Season begins much earlier.  Think about it:  humongous bags of Halloween candy have been on the store shelves for a month, at least.  Seriously, who buys a bag of candy and saves it for two months, until October 31st?  That never happened in my world - back in the day, I used to buy Halloween candy early, but we'd break into it long before the big night and boom.  That bag was a goner, and none of it went to the trick-or-treaters.  Over the last few years, in order to save me from myself I've either bought candy that I really dislike, or I buy it the day before Halloween (surprisingly, the stores DO NOT run out of candy, despite having encouraged people to stock up for months leading to Halloween).  If it's looking like I'll have leftover candy, the last group of kids at my door hits the bonanza, with me emptying the bowl into their bags.  The costumed kids are happy and I'm also happy knowing that my clothes will still fit.

And of course, as any coffee drinker knows, the pumpkin-spiced latte has returned to coffeehouses everywhere, along with pumpkin bread, scones and pretty much anything pumpkin-flavored you can think of.  While I do like those treats, for me, the high calorie count just does not make it worthwhile to eat them, even though they're only here for a limited time and I'll miss my chance and then what?!  The lure of the pumpkin bandwagon is strong:  I met two friends at Starbucks on a Sunday afternoon recently, and while waiting in a long line to order, I swear I was the only person not getting a PSL (that would be pumpkin-spiced latte, for the uninitiated).  The barista even asked me "no syrup?" when I ordered my iced non-fat latte...yes, I'm the oddball who resists the pumpkin.

Along with all things candy and pumpkin comes football games and the food that must go with them.  We are a college football-watching family, which comes partly by living in a college town (with the current Heisman trophy winner, no less).  Game days around here mean tailgating and food, food, food - you don't dare go to the grocery store on a Friday before gameday...I swear there's more people shopping at that time than there is right before Thanksgiving!  Football and food seem to go hand-in-hand, and that's been a challenge for me.  While I like the idea of it, and I used to like laying in all kinds of snacks and food for the games, it's not a good thing for dieting or weight maintenance, so we pretty much stick to our standard meals and forgo the "football food" mentality for the most part.

The main thing that I try to do during this, the beginning of the Eating Season, is to not buy into the hype.  It can be a challenge some days, because the lure of the fall treats seems to be everywhere.  But for too many years I DID buy into it, and my body paid the price.  Yes, it's fun to see certain kinds of candy appear on the grocery store shelves.  However, I have lived long enough to know that it will reappear again and again, along with all things pumpkin, and of course, the football snacks.  My goal is to see beyond the hype of the seasonal treats and understand that it's just food that I don't need if I want to maintain my new lower weight...which I do.  


 AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you'd like us to address!

23 comments:

  1. I LOVE the quote which was going around a while ago which said, essentially, we'd not have to worry about "eating season" (to use your words) if we paid attention to what we ate the other 8 months of the year.
    Sparked so many good reallife conversations among friends...

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  2. One of the best things I ever heard on a WW meeting was with regards to the holidays. In a US case she would have said: there are only 4 days: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. There's no reason to eat on all the other days and those 4 days of eating more won't let you gain that much.

    I have always remembered that. We celebrate something called Sinterklaas which is on December 5th. That goes with candy (like Halloween) and can already be bought in stores since last month. We don't celebrate Sinterklaas (it's for children) and I don't buy the candy.

    The last couple of years I pretty much stick to what they said on WW back then and eat more on the actual holiday but watch my intake the days around them.

    As for the food and football: that's not something that's done here. Here almost everyone loves soccer and soccer in Europe is big which means there are games on TV from August to June/July and almost every night. So eating a lot of food at a game is not common here. Except at a European or World championship people get drinks and food for the games but that's only every 2 years.

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    1. I'm relieved to hear that the U.S. isn't the only crazy country who puts out holiday candy too early...how crazy that the Sinterklaas candy has been out for so long already!!

      You (and WW) are very right on the holidays...but we (the royal) seem to make everything an "occasion" that MUST. HAVE. FOOD.

      Interesting that the soccer games don't garner the food attention, but I guess since they aren't played only once a week, the novelty of "game food" wears off pretty quickly...

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    2. Eastern chocolate can be bought in January :) Ridiculous!

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  3. At our old house, I used to have 400 trick or treaters - I would literally buy anywhere between 10-15 bags of candy, and invariably, my hand would go into the candy jar more times than i would have liked - I buy the good stuff - snickers, kit kat, etc.

    We moved to our house 13 years ago - I bought the same amount of candy and I only got . . . one trick or treater. She was 7, and the granddaughter of our neighbor, and I told her to open her pillow case and I dumped 10 bags of candy into her bag - I'll never forget to the look on her face!

    Happy Monday!

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    1. What an awesome memory you made for that girl - I'm sure she's still telling that story to this day!

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  4. My favorite thing about football? The grocery stores are EMPTY during a Steelers game! LOL

    Seriously, though, "My goal is to see beyond the hype of the seasonal treats and understand that it's just food that I don't need." As I asked Lori in her post, what do you say to yourself to stay disciplined? I seem to have lost my inner mom that tells me no.

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    1. LOL, you nailed it with the empty stores during the game!

      I'm don't think of myself as disciplined when it comes to eating...now you've made me think. Hmmm, there might be a post in that question, if I can muddle through what I do...

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  5. Oh so true. I never thought of it as food hype, but you are so right. So many of our celebrations and traditions center around food. Now seasons are focusing on food, as you said fall and football. I'm currently fighting the "vacation" hype. Trying to make smart food choices away from home.

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    1. Vacation hype - I dealt with that recently! I ended up indulging in an iced non-fat latte from either Starbucks or DD (meh) every day (normally I'd just make one at home), and I did have ice cream several times...but salads and healthy food were plentiful, and I'm glad I didn't go overboard. I'm sure you'll make good decisions while enjoying your vacation! :)

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  6. This is not actually an eating season for me. It is however, a time when there are some foods that we just don't have the rest of the year. I do look forward to some of it so I try to allow a bit without going overboard. But the bags of chocolate, etc? No issue for me at all. It's the same Hershey's Kiss wrapped in a different color tinfoil!

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    1. WHAT??!! But the autumnal-colored chocolate is so pretty...it has to taste different! ;)

      Way to see around the marketing, my friend!

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  7. Like how you wrote this - not buying into the food hype! It does feel very marketed and weird, now that I am out of the frenzy. I still love me some pumpkin spice coffee, but I work it into the rotation of treats and don't have a normal treat AND the syrupy coffee!

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  8. The pumpkin stuff at SB's is crazy. I might try to make a pumpkin spice latte at home with my cubes LOL. Fortunately I really love the taste of pure coffee, so its not so much of a challenge for me.

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    1. Me, too - I am a black coffee or espresso person. Although pumpkin frozen yogurt? That's another story! ;)

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  9. I get so annoyed when I go to Starbucks and I want my non-flavored latte, which I order that way BECAUSE I WANT IT THAT WAY, and they say "you don't want any flavor? Are you sure?" Like it is so strange. That's starbucks, though. Local indies know better than that.

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    1. I know...we are the weirdos who don't get a flavor!

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  10. LOL I had to remind myself just yesterday that it wasn't absolutely necessary that I visit the new pizza place rightthatveryminute, because there was a fairly good chance it would still be open next week when I have more calories left in the budget. :)

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    1. And also, that gives them time to work out the kinks.

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  11. I love pumpkin and I love coffee, but thankfully never got on board with the pumpkin spice latte craze. But I do really love peppermint mocha, so I used to have the same temptation around the holidays. But now I don't ever drink "fancy" coffee - I just take regular coffee with fat free creamer, and at the holidays, buy myself a bottle of peppermint mocha creamer (which, sadly, they don't make in fat free). So I guess what I'm saying is, I find a way to still enjoy the seasonal flavor in a healthier way. And you can totally do that with pumpkin! It's really healthy on its own, and can be healthy when baked into things.

    But you're right that it is a lot of hype - everything is an excuse to eat crap, and there is this sense that you may be "missing out." But it's just food.

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  12. I like the idea of giving away candy that you don't like! That for me would be skittles, lollipops, tootsie rolls! I had a weight watcher leader who handed out packets of koolaid - I thought it was a great idea!

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  13. Okay, I learned two great things from this: 1. It really is a scam that stores put out the Halloween stuff so early because they know NONE of us are stocking up "for the kids", and 2. There is such a thing as Eating Season. What a great way to frame thinking about this time of year!

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