Most people find themselves more diet-aware during the summer months. Not only is there a greater chance of visiting a pool or the beach in your swimsuit, but the warmer weather makes it easier to get outside and exercise.
During the winter months, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds thanks to tempting, fattening foods typically offered during the holidays and the cold weather putting a pause on your workout routine.
Surveys have shown that the average person gains five to seven pounds during the winter. So how do you fight those extra pounds and keep the weight off this winter?
We’re breaking down exactly what you need to do to avoid that winter weight gain.
Stick to Your Exercise Routine
Although it can be easy to ditch that evening run or skip the gym in the winter due to cold weather and shorter days, it’s important that you stay motivated. Set a regular fitness schedule that includes a variety of exercises that you enjoy.
Many people find that having an accountability partner is key to their success with an exercise regimen. Although it’s tough to fight the urge to go home to your warm couch than to the gym, it’s an important step in keeping off that winter weight.
Eat Before a Holiday Party
It may sound counterintuitive to losing weight, but eating before you go to a party is a good way to fill up on the healthy carbohydrates you need instead of foods like alcohol and brownies. Aim to eat foods that are high in fiber like fruits and vegetables before a party.
Research has proven that when you eat outside of your home, you’re likely to take in as much as 40% more calories than you would otherwise. In order to fight the urge to snack during the party, fill up on healthy foods beforehand and spend the party socializing instead.
Discover Calorie Damage Control
Just because you overeat at a party or big family gathering doesn’t mean is has to completely throw you off the wagon. Instead, try to cut your calories for a few days and get a little more exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to pile up the hours at the gym — instead, add a brisk walk in during your lunch break or take the stairs instead of using the elevator at the office.
If you can reduce your intake by just 100 calories per day (either through eating less or exercising more), you can lose as much as 10 pounds per year with no other effort).
Remember Your Long-Term Goals
It can be a downer to constantly pass on treats each day but it’s important to remind yourself of why you’re doing this in the first place. Whether you’re wanting to maintain or even lose weight to feel better, become more confident or reverse a health concern, your reason is what will keep you motivated when it gets tough.
One helpful way to keep your goals in mind is to jot them down on a sticky note or a digital calendar that can send you a daily alert. These daily reminders will help you stay motivated and make it easier for you to say no.
Ask Yourself Why You’re Eating
People eat for a number of reasons — many of which have nothing to do with hunger. During the holidays especially, it becomes easy to eat when you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed or lonely. It’s also common to be in social situations with plenty of sweets and comfort foods. Many people find themselves eating just so they have something to do.
Instead, try coming up with coping mechanisms that don’t involve eating. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, practice deep breathing exercises that can help calm you down. During social gatherings, drinking sparkling water or something low-calorie instead of heading straight for the appetizers can give you something to do without piling on those unnecessary calories.
Practice Everything in Moderation
While it’s important to stick to your goals during the holiday season, you should also give yourself the freedom to have a treat every now and then. After all, it’s the holidays, right?
It can be tempting to overdo the sweets during the winter, especially since they typically show up around Halloween and don’t leave us until the New Year. If you have a special candy or cookie that you really love, allow yourself to have one or two total.
Just because something is “seasonal” doesn’t mean you have to eat as much as you can while it’s in season. Remember that you have control over what you put in your mouth… and food doesn’t have the power over you!
Get Plenty of Rest
Most people think of diet and exercise when they think of weight loss (or avoiding weight gain). But there’s something much easier that you can do to help fight cravings.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it becomes easier to give into your cravings — especially for carbs, sweets and high-calorie foods. Unfortunately, most people sacrifice sleep the most during the winter months because there’s so much going on between parties, cleaning, cookies and so on.
If possible, try to plan when your schedule is going to be particularly hectic and come up with a strategy for sleep. Be sure you also include time for your exercise routine and to maintain a healthy meal plan. Doing these things will keep you focused during the cold months so you can come out energized and happy with the way you feel.
Do you have concerns about your weight or need a game plan to maintain your weight this winter? Come talk to one of our medical professionals at CareNow®. Our physicians can assess your diet and exercise plan and determine what your overall weight and health goals should be.
When you make your appointment at CareNow®, be sure to take advantage of our Web Check-In® feature. When you check-in online, we’ll call to let you know when it’s time to see a healthcare provider. To find the clinic nearest you, visit our website.