Stopping the 8-week Holiday Binge Before It StartsBy Chris Carmichael, trainright.com

I’m so completely done with candy. I don’t want to see it; I don’t want it in the kitchen at CTS or in my house. It’s enough already. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a parent or not, the candy is everywhere right now. It’s at the office, at the bank, even at the carwash(!?). And for many athletes, Halloween candy is what kicks open the door to significant winter weight gain.

As athletes we’re headed into a long period of nutrition challenges. Between Halloween and New Years, you have to run an 8-week gauntlet of well-meaning friends and family doing their best to make you happy with fatty and sugary foods. Because of that, weight loss over the next 8 weeks is a difficult – and sometimes unrealistic – goal for many people. Instead, I have a more a more pragmatic challenge for you: Weigh yourself this morning (or tomorrow morning) and make it your goal to weigh no more than that on January 1.

The first step is figuring out what to do with all this candy.

My son Connor came home with a pillowcase stuffed with it on Halloween night, to add to the pile he already had from earlier parties and events. What should happen to all of that candy? He’s a very active kid (which is part of the reason he could cover so many houses on Halloween night) so I’m not going to stop him from enjoying his score, but the truth is he’s going to get bored with candy before he even makes a dent in that pillowcase.

It seems wasteful to throw it out, so like most parents we keep several pounds of it around even though we don’t really want it. The problem is, we grab a piece every once in a while, just because it’s there. Your weight goes up, but maybe it’s hard to tell because you’re also transitioning back into warmer clothes you haven’t worn since last winter. And you just keep going, until you’re finishing up that Halloween candy just as the Thanksgiving smorgasbord gets rolling.

And it’s not just parents that get caught in this trap. Unless your neighborhood is a magnet for trick-or-treaters, you most likely have a big bag of leftover candy you didn’t give out. Or your friends are bringing their leftovers or their kids’ candy to the office to get it out of their houses.

We have to get rid of this crap.

Here’s one way that I like: If you’re in the US, find a local dentistry office that’s taking part in a “Candy Buy-Back” program. You might be able to find one at halloweencandybuyback.com or similar sites. You’ll get $1/pound of candy, but that’s not really the important part. They’ll donate the candy to Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to US soldiers stationed overseas.

One of my coaches who has two kids took this a step further. He took the money he got from the candy, added a generous amount to it, and donated the total to the American Red Cross (redcross.org) to support their work with Hurricane Sandy efforts and other disasters. Wins all around.

Before I go this week, I want to encourage you to check out our web site at trainright.com to learn more about what we do and how we might be able to help you meet your goals.

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