Five Fall Diet Downfalls (and How To Avoid Them)

Beer, candy, and baked goods, oh my! Tis the season for diet-busting foods. Here's how to beat the bulge.

You are what you eat. Pumpkin, beer, and baseball photo via Shutterstock.

You are what you eat. Pumpkin, beer, and baseball photo via Shutterstock.

As summer (hopefully slowly) turns into fall, our eating habits adjust along with our wardrobes. When you pack away the bikinis and bring out the sweaters, the motivation to stay in beach shape dwindles with the summer sunlight. So when light beer turns to pumpkin ale, and snacking on carrots turns into holiday candy, fear not! We asked Paul Gozbekian, a nutrition coach and personal training manager at Equinox Dartmouth Street for ways to beat fall’s most influential diet downfalls.

1. Beer

Downfall: Going from summer beers to fall and winter brews can increase caloric consumption by 10 percent.
Offset: When consuming some of the fall beer options like pumpkin or Octoberfest, plan to drink fewer than you normally would. Also, swap out one or two full calorie beers for a lighter option. “This will help offset those additional calories,” Gozbekian says.

2. Baked Goods

Downfall: We typically see an increase in baked goods. ‘Tis the season for pies, breads, candies, and cookies.
Offset: Eat before you go out, and fill up on healthy snacks like carrot sticks with hummus. “That way you are less likely to overdo it on the baked goods when you go to those holiday events,” he says.

3. Candy Consumption

Downfall: Between Halloween and Christmas we consume more candy than any other time of the year. “A good way to look at it is three pieces of peppermint candy equates to 60 calories,” he says. “Multiply that by seven days gives you 420 calories for the week and more than 20,000 for the year.” So, that means that with just fall and winter alone you are putting on close to three pounds just from candy.
Offset: “Eat before parties and holiday events and do not have candy sitting around at home or on your desk at work. If it is within arms reach, you will eat it,” Gozbekian says. Be sure to throw away or donate leftover Halloween candy. It seems like common sense but it works.

4. Soups and Stews

Downfall: Fall soups and stews are known for being much heartier than during the summer. During the fall we can expect to see a drastic increase in fat and carbohydrates in our soups and stews.
Offset: “Like the beer and other fall items you will need to adjust your portions,” he says. “Instead of a bowl go with a cup. It’s all about moderation.”

5. Less Outdoor Activity

Downfall: “With the weather changing and days getting shorter and colder we will be spending more time indoors. With this additional downtime typically comes an increase in ‘boredom eating’ as well as additional grazing,” Gozbekian says. “Especially while we watch football.”
Offset: Hopefully we are all looking for outdoor fall activities to replace our summer fun. “Increasing your caloric intake with all of these hearty, cold-weather comfort foods and decreasing your exercise is a simple equation that amounts to weight gain,” he says. Try hiking in the fall to see the foliage and then take up a winter sport for the months with snow. Cross-country skiing is a fantastic way to burn calories.