It’s extremely common for people to experience weight gain during the winter months. Not only are we recovering from the holidays when we may have overindulged, but we’re also staying indoors more, being more lethargic and eating comfort foods. It’s much more easier to prevent weight gain than working at losing it after you’ve put it on so follow these simple winter weight loss guidelines to beat winter weight gain!
When it gets cold out it may interrupt your exercise routine if you enjoyed working out outdoors and, let’s face it, going to the gym five days a week can get a little repetitive. Don’t let routine boredom or some chilly weather keep you from reaching your weight loss goals though. Increase your overall calorie burn by doing more incidental activities throughout the day.
Incidental activities can be any moving you do that uses a small amount of energy over the course of the day opposed to an exercise session done all at once. For example, take the stairs at work, instead of carrying too many groceries in at once make more trips to unpack the car and so on. Even simple house cleaning is a great way to burn energy! If five days a week of working out indoors doesn’t keep you motivated, make a plan to do most of your incidental activities twice a week to burn more energy on the days you don’t go to the gym.
Slim down your comfort foods
During the winter we tend to overindulge on comfort foods that we don’t normally eat during the warmer months. Pot pies, potato-heavy dishes, thick soups and meatloafs are all comfort foods but they’re also very heavy meals and high in fat.
Substituting fattier ingredients for something different and healthier is a simple change that make a big difference in calories per portion of these comfort foods. In most recipes you can substitute margarine in place of butter or use sugar substitutes instead of pure sugar and you won’t even notice the difference. While these changes will save you some calories, remember that you should only prepare these comfort foods sporadically and that you should still incorporate healthy recipes in your diet.
Focus on eating when you eat
This may sound redundant but how often have you consumed a meal only to realize afterward that you didn’t really taste anything? When we eat in front of a screen like a TV, computer or smartphone, we are distracted and don’t realize what we’re eating. This can lead to overeating because we’re not paying attention to when we’re full. Also, since we’re not tasting our food, we may not feel satisfied and will crave food later on.
Studies have shown that people who aren’t distracted while eating will realize they are fuller quicker and consume less calories. They will also eat less when they snack later because they remember when they were eating. This winter, we prescribe you ditch the electronics during mealtimes and focus on your food and conversation.
Get some sun
Have you ever caught a case of the winter blues? Winter seasonal depression is still a mystery to those who study it but researchers agree that people who suffer from it are particularly sensitive to light, or that lack of it. During the winter season we tend to stay indoors more and limit the amount of natural light we’re exposed to.
“Sunlight can prevent dips in serotonin, a mood-boosting brain chemical that is also partly responsible for feelings of fullness," says Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, author of Winter Blues (Guilford Press, 2005). Even a heavy dose of artificial light, especially in the morning, may help suppress food cravings and the urge to overeat so if you can tolerate the weather, try to do some outdoor activity and get some sun.
Set springtime goals
A great way to motivate yourself not to put on winter weight is to set a springtime goal. Committing to goals gives you something to work toward opposed to just saying you want to lose weight. Do you have a vacation to look forward to? Maybe just a trip to the beach once the weather warms up? Whatever your reason is, make sure you have something to strive toward because that will help keep you on track.
Following these guidelines will help you avoid gaining dreaded winter weight but if you do put on a few pounds, remember to handle setbacks well so you can overcome them. The road to weight loss can be difficult but Riverside Surgical & Weight Loss Center only strives to work with patients throughout the whole process. Contact us today with any questions regarding your weight loss.