Prepare to Enter. . . The Danger Zone!

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This post was originally published in 2009. However, I think it is worth repeating. . . with a few minor changes.

October, November, and December are what I call The Danger Zone time of the year. Within these three months we encounter all sorts of eating challenges. October is the time of CANDY! Candy seems to appear just about everywhere – in offices, on desks, in kids’ backpacks. However, just because candy is around does NOT mean you have to eat it. A previous post had some tips for dealing with Halloween candy. I have two tactics to add this year. The first is to mentally label the Halloween as “not my food.” The candy is for other people, or the kids, or the trick-or-treaters. Every time you think of or see the candy, tell yourself “that’s not my food” and find something else to do. Second, if you do have more candy than you had planned, do not use that slip as an excuse to keep slipping the rest of the day (or week, or month). Recognize that you made a slip, but tell yourself, “that’s OK. I can make better choices the rest of the day that will help me stay on track.”

Once we’ve made it through Halloween, we are faced with Thanksgiving, then Holiday Parties, Christmas, Hannuka, Kawnza, New Years, etc. These holidays and parties are typically food-focused, family-focused and filled with stress. One way to make this year easier and less stressful is to start thinking now about how you will handle any food challenges that come your way.

For example, do you have a hard time (like me) staying away from buffets at parties? You can start thinking now and visualizing how you will deal with the buffets this year. Perhaps make a rule that first you will put fruits and vegetables on your plate then small bites of other items. Or, that you will only make one trip to the buffet. If alcohol is a challenge, make a rule that you will alternate each “beverage” with a glass of water. Do you over-eat at Thanksgiving dinner? Start visualizing how your plate will look this year – with half filled with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with complex carbohydrates or starch (you can also review the Quarter Your Plate newsletter for more information on how to do this). And, don’t forget to visualize what your dessert plate will look like, too.

The last three months of the year do not have to be filled with scary food situation. You just need to plan ahead for how you will deal with them so you are prepared when they happen.

Have a healthy day!

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Dr. Penny



My goal is help you take control of your triggers so you can lead a normal life. I’ve had Irritable Bowel Syndrome for over 14 years. I’ve been told, “It’s all in your head.” And, “You just need to figure out what’s causing your symptoms” without being provided any help to figure it out. I’ve finally gotten my symptoms under control. I want to help you do the same thing. I want to help you get your life back.


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