Fall is officially here, which means candy corn, fun-size Snickers bars and pumpkin spice lattes are beginning to flood our grocery stores and news feeds. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the season to buckle down on your goals…because Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming!

Here are some sobering facts that may spook you a little bit…

  • A pumpkin spice latte has 380 calories.
  • Those fun-size Reese’s peanut butter cups at your coworkers desk? 87 calories. (And let’s be honest…we can’t have just one!)
  • Your favorite brewery is probably producing a small-batch pumpkin flavored stout…and on average, those bad boys contain up to 300 calories per glass. Yikes!

Alright, now that we’ve thoroughly scared you, let’s talk strategies. If you want to maintain or even improve your health, here are 5 ways to enjoy the season without packing on the pounds:

1. Pick your guilty pleasure

We all have one. Maybe it’s the pumpkin-shaped Reese’s. Or maybe it’s your Aunt Susan’s legendary apple pie. Identify ‘that one treat’ you absolutely look forward to all year long and allow yourself to have it! The rest? (We’re talking about your coworker’s candy stash and the kids’ goodie bags from school) … leave it alone. It’s not worth it. You are a KING/QUEEN and only deserve that one decadent holiday treat your crave.

2. Track your calories (we love MyFitnessPal!)

Nothing is more sobering than seeing the raw facts. You can’t hide from the numbers! There are plenty of free fitness apps out there that allow you to track your daily caloric intake. Download one and log everything. And be gracious with yourself. If you exceed your goal by 100 calories one day, don’t trash the app the next day. As long as you’re tracking, you’re winning.

3. Join a challenge

Find an online challenge (sober October, no-candy November, December Detox) and tap into your competitive side. Making a ‘game’ of your goals can make it seem more fun and rewarding. If you really want to avoid holiday weight gain, then check out any one of the many challenges offered at your local Iron Tribe — we always have something running!

4. Pick an accountability partner

Chances are you know someone right now who is also wanting to improve their overall health. Team up with that person and ask them to keep you accountable through the holidays. Go on walks, share recipes, hit the gym — whatever you have to do to stay on track (together!)

5. Get comfortable saying no

This is perhaps the most powerful tip of them all. You can always say no. Yes, even to your grandmother who loves giving you seconds and thirds of your favorite holiday meal. Here are some go to responses you can use…

‘Thank you for offering, but I’m trying to work on my health — I’ve already lost 5 pounds and feel so great!’

‘Thank you, but I think I’m already full. Tell me more about Uncle Harold’s new bird feeders…(change the subject and make them the focus of the conversation!)’

‘Thank you but I’m going to have to say no this time. Can I help you clean up? I’ll grab the tupperware!’

At the end of the day, the couple of seconds of delicious eating isn’t worth sacrificing your health. Keep focusing on your goals and you’ll get through this season feeling strong, motivated and healthy.