Fall Diet Traps to Avoid

Fall’s crisp, cool weather practically demands creamy, warm beverages and big, cozy sweaters—and in many cases, a lax attitude toward your healthy eating and fitness routine. Don’t let the allure of sugary pumpkin spice lattes, over-sized tops, and snuggly fireplaces lure you into a sedentary season. Here’s are 5 of the biggest diet traps to watch out for this season.

The trap: Shorter days

Skipping workouts because it’s cold and dark. Fitness routines often suffer when crisp fall days become colder and darker. It can be tough to get to the gym when you have to drive in the dark. And instead of working out, many of my clients end up eating all night long—it’s a disaster for your waistline and fitness. The best advice here? Layer up and wear reflective gear if you head outside in the mornings or evenings, or consider moving your workouts to midday. Going for a walk during your lunch hour is great for your fitness and your mood! Don’t simply give up exercise for six months.

The trap: Office candy bowls

Halloween is just the start of the bottomless treat bowl season. It begins when everyone brings their extra candy into the office to get it out of the house, and it just keeps on rolling into the holidays. Having your own healthy treats at the office can help counter cravings for something sweet. Try bringing some fresh fruit like apples or bananas and having it with a small spoon of nut butter.

The trap: Holiday drinks

Who doesn’t like a little pumpkin-spiced anything? Problem is those fancy beverages from the specialty coffee shop are typically loaded with fat, sugar and extra calories—as much as 400 or more for a medium-to large-size drink, especially when topped with whipped cream. That doesn’t mean you have to go through the whole season feeling deprived: Just consider it a treat, and try ordering a smaller size with fat-free milk and no whipped cream. Small changes like this can cut the calorie count in half.

The trap: Cravings for comfort foods

Winter fare tends to be filling, but it’s also often packed with fat and calories, especially when you’re buying premade foods like chicken pot pie or mac and cheese. Make your own and you’ll control portion size and ingredients. For something like chicken pot pie, use mini pie trays, and sub in low-fat ingredients when possible. Keeping track of your calories can also help you figure out where you have room to indulge.

The trap:Tailgating every. single. weekend.

One of the most common fall problems I notice among my clients is a weekly routine: tailgating. If you want to go all out for something like the Super Bowl? Fine! But every weekend cannot be an extravaganza. On top of guzzling down calories in the form of beer, you might also be noshing on hot dogs, burgers, chips and other stadium-style foods—all of which are high in fat and sodium, and will make you feel sluggish and bloated by Monday morning. Grab the water bottle from the cooler after just one beer, and lay off the salt if at all possible.

What are your fitness and healthy-eating pitfalls this season? Share your stay-on-track strategies in the comments below!

“Fall Diet Traps to Avoid”, Written for Vertex Fitness Personal Training Studio by Ashvini Mashru, RD

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