For once, I’m going to side with all of the uber-conservative Christians of the world and say that Halloween is nothing but pure evil – not because all the gory costumes and creeping about late at night is a sin against God, but because the mounds of candy left lying around my house is a sin against my waistline. Candy is the devil’s work. Can I get an AMEN, sister?!
I’m not one of those girls who is naturally thin – hell, I’m not even UNnaturally thin. If you are one of those naturally thin people, I’m envious…. and maybe a little resentful. But if you have ever uttered the phrase, “No matter what I eat, I just can’t seem to gain any weight”, you should stop reading this blog entry. Seriously, STOP. Now go find a blog that discusses issues you can relate to – like how miserable it is for you to have to shop in the junior’s department because you’re too skinny to fit into adult-sized clothes.
Are they gone? Good. Moving on….
I have to cover miles of rubberized road on my treadmill and eat lettuce like a ravenous rabbit in order to lose weight. And if I’m not hyper-vigilant about what I’m putting in my mouth, I can pack on five or ten pounds in less time than it takes you to shout, “Twinkies!” I have learned through years and years of trial and error (mostly error), which dieting tools work for me and which ones don’t – Weight Watchers is one of the things that work.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Jennifer Hudson on you, and start singing, “It’s a New Day” or preach the “Believe, because it works” slogan – you get enough of that from all the commercial breaks on TV. What she’s saying is true, but who wants to hear it when it’s midnight, and you have a face full of Little Debbie snack cakes?
Being on Weight Watchers is effective but it isn’t always easy, especially when there’s a holiday involved. Halloween is one of many dietary saboteurs lurking on the calendar – the worst one, in my opinion. Halloween can become Halloweek or even Hallomonth because the holiday lingers as long as there’s still candy in the house.
Before I had kids, I had a solid Halloween strategy that helped keep the holiday pounds off – I bought candy I hate to eat for the trick-or-treaters that came around, so that the leftovers posed no temptation to me the next day. Granted, it was stuff the trick-or-treaters probably hated too, but they should be grateful I wasn’t handing out fistfuls of broccoli. We’ve all been to those houses….
But that dietary trick does me no good now because I have two kids out scouring the neighborhood for goodies, and bringing back all the candy I purposefully didn’t buy. When they come home after hours of pounding the pavement, the first thing they do is dump their spoils out onto the living room rug and decide what to keep and what to give away. Inevitably, the throw away pile contains all of my favorites – Almond Joy, Snickers, and Milky Way bars. What my unenlightened children see as inedible, I see as dozens of little “fun size” reasons I won’t be able to zip up my jeans in a week.
The Weight Watchers program assigns every food item a point value, and the combination of your age, gender and weight determines how many points you get per day; I’m allowed 26 points. There seems to be a direct correlation between how yummy a food is and its point value – the tastier the food, the higher the points. It’s no surprise that Brussels sprouts are 0 points, and birthday cake is 12 points. TWELVE POINTS! Guess how much a fun-size candy bar is worth? 2 points. Sounds harmless enough, right? It would be if I were even remotely capable of stopping at just one or two.
Can you stop at just one? For those of you that just said yes, I told you to stop reading this blog entry…. you thin people can’t fool me.
On a day like Halloween, my 26 points don’t seem to go very far. All the coping skills Weight Watchers taught me vanishes the moment I hear those chocolaty sirens calling to me from inside my children’s trick-or-treat bags. I can usually last the first few hours without caving into the temptation, but when night falls the rationalizations begin…
“The candy is just going to go to waste if I don’t eat it. How can I waste food when there are so many starving children in the world? Maybe I should mail them the candy. No, that won’t work, it would probably get all melty and gross by the time it got there. Besides, if they’re too poor to buy food, what are the chances they have a good dental plan? I don’t want to give starving kids cavities. How irresponsible would THAT be? I’ll donate to heifer.org and give them a cow instead. Milk is better for teeth…. oooo, speaking of milk – that would go great with a couple of fun-size Snickers….”
Eating half a dozen candy bars becomes far less gluttonous when you think you’re selflessly ridding the world of tooth decay. Of course, that same line of thinking will probably end up buying me a one-way ticket to Wilford Brimley town too – a sad place where nothing but the syringes and test strips are fun-size.
I’m thankful that this sugar-coated, willpower crushing holiday only comes once a year. But even when the Halloween treats run out, I know there is another dietary hurdle looming close on the horizon – instead of chocolate, this one will be made of stuffing and apple pie…..