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Easy to get off track with stress, Halloween candy

Reevaluate has been a word that seems to constantly crop up in my internal dialogue lately.

Reevaluate has been a word that seems to constantly crop up in my internal dialogue lately.

I've had a lot of change in my life in the past month, some good, some bad, a lot of which have required me to take a hard look at my goals, and what I really want out of life.

When I first started this column, I was beginning of a 12-week challenge at my gym. Having always had a competitive spirit, I was driven to blow everyone out of the water and win it. I was tracking everything I ate, I went hard at the gym seven days a week and my diet was on point. My head was in the game.

Now, over halfway through the challenge, I've had to drastically change my approach. Stress over life and work has been making it increasingly hard to be as diligent with my exercise and eating. I was exhausting myself, and leaving little room for relaxing and de-stressing.

Then Halloween rolled around.

While any leftover candy was given the heave-ho, I have a 13-year-old high-functioning autistic son who, because of his autism, has incredibly particular tastes which leaves about 90 per cent of his Halloween candy untouched.

By him, anyway.

I can't throw it out, not yet anyway or he'd have my head, so it sits in a cupboard, calling my name. Having been highly stressed out with a pile of candy at my disposal was too much. I have been mowing down on my son's Halloween candy. I'm eager for it to just be gone at this point, preferably not because I've eaten it all.

Before Candygate, I was already reevaluating my goals.

The 12-week challenge, while I'm still in it and would love to be the ultimate winner, has had to take a backseat to my mental well-being. I gave up tracking my food and, while I still exercise every day, I don't spend as long in the gym.

Stress is something I know can contribute to weight gain and,combined with Halloween candy, led me to gain four pounds this past week. This is how easy it is for me to slip back into old habits. The one thing I hold on to is a phrase my therapist told me: "A day, a week, a month, doesn't define your success." My success is defined as how I live my life and the choices I make long-term. It was a bad week, but I still made it to the gym and I still made lots of healthy choices.

Another change I made is something I swore I would never do: follow another weight-loss plan.

When I started writing this column, I promised myself that I would be completely transparent with my journey, so here I am, admitting to something that isn't easy for me to admit to. I spent several days, wondering if I should or shouldn't write about it, but ultimately I needed to be honest.

I'm not ashamed. In fact, I'm quite excited to see what, if any, results come from this new plan, but I do know several people who don't agree with plans and products promising weight loss.

My main problem was that I needed to remove the thinking that came with food, at least for now.

Planning meals and snacks, thinking about meals and snacks became just another stress in my life.

I have been desperate for a plan that involved minimal prep work, and minimal thinking, that would be easy for an 'on-the-go' lifestyle. I spoke with a few people, did some (minimal) research and settled on a plan that involved meal replacement shakes and some supplements. I'm not going to name the products or plan here, because I'm not writing to sell a product.

I asked my personal trainer if this would be a good idea and she wasn't terribly thrilled about a program like this but I have to see and experience for myself.

All of this is about doing what feels right for me.