During the month of October, I tried out a portion-controlled meal plan and workout video. Since the month culminates in one of our country’s biggest eat-a-ton-of-candy holidays, I’m taking stock.

In some ways the experiment was a miserable failure. Due to a computer problem meaning I can’t play a video without skipping, and the fact that I do not own a TV and DVD player, I only did the dance workout for about a week and a half at home. Then I thought I would try bringing it to work. The workout is only half an hour and I thought I could do it after my work day. Instead, it languishes on my desk.

That left me with my usual go-to of crazy dancing, along with the treadmill at my office, as my main exercise in October. Not so hot. While I can feel the dump truck of self-criticism that likes to lurk just out of sight, I choose to pass on indulging in that and instead focus on moving forward.

On the portion-control part of the story, I was more successful. I never fully embraced the idea of measuring every little thing that went into my mouth, but I did pre-measure and prepare most of my meals in October, and when I didn’t, I really felt the difference.

I thought I would hate the portion-controlled thing, but I really didn’t. My intention was to use it as training for my eye and my stomach in serving sizes and proportions of protein, vegetables, etc. To that end, I felt pretty successful.

I learned right off the bat that my biggest area needing attention was fats, oils, cheese—the cream in my coffee. And right behind that is carbs, even although I avoid processed carbs like white flour and white sugar, and almost never eat pasta anymore.

I also learned that my current diet and even my serving sizes were pretty good overall. My diet is mostly whole foods, prepared by me from scratch.

Even though I felt like I didn’t give the Country Heat program my full effort in the end, I still lost 3 inches from my waistline this month.

Still. Here comes November. Not to mention December. So here’s my plan: I’m going to give another shot at the Country Heat program in November. I liked it and I learned a lot, but I can train myself a bit more.

I’m also scheduling two days a week in the gym in November. It’s been ages since I was there, and I miss it. I’m also scheduling one running date per week. The weeks when I plan ahead, schedule my workouts in, and make that commitment to myself very overt are the weeks I get it done.

Planning exercise and meals had one surprising side effect, that I spent less time overall thinking about it. That relief feels good. The physical activity feels good. Taking care of myself feels good. So the question becomes: Do I want to feel good? Will I allow myself to feel good?

Finally, the question of the hour: Halloween.

Since my children are all grown up, some with kids of their own, I’m officially off the hook for Halloween. So after taking some photos, I went home. I live out in the sticks and never get a trick-or-treater, and had no candy on Halloween.

Full disclosure: If I had candy last night, I would have eaten it. Which is exactly why there is no candy and no sugar at my house.

Do you have a strategy for staying on track with health goals through the holiday season? Contact me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.