If you think you gain weight during the winter, the truth is, you’re probably right. Research says that we tend to overeat during the colder months, which probably explains why some surveys have shown most people gain an average of five to seven pounds in the wintertime.
It makes sense considering all the holiday feasting going on, as well as our natural impulse to reach for comfort foods when the days get shorter and darker.
However, the good news is that avoiding the winter weight is possible – and it doesn’t have to dampen your holiday fun either. Here’s how you beat those pesky extra five pounds.
1. Keep a Consistent Exercise Schedule
With the cold weather and the shorter days, it’s easy to skip on your regular morning run. Ditto goes for driving to the gym when it’s snowing. However, keeping a consistent and regular exercise schedule is key to helping you keep you from gaining weight. Consistency is everything when it comes to weight loss in general, but it’s especially important when you clock out from work and all you want to do is rush to your warm home. For extra support, ask a friend to be your workout buddy so you can help keep each other accountable.
2. Plan Ahead
With all the holiday invites filling up your Google calendar, it’s important to plan ahead or you’ll end up tasting each and every canapé and pastry that comes your way. To curb your appetite, fill yourself up first with a small salad or an apple with peanut butter before you leave. If you’re attending a holiday party at a restaurant, check out the menu online first and decide which healthy dish you’re going to eat so you don’t get roped into the “We’re all getting fries” agreement.
3. Hydrate Yo’Self But Avoid Alcohol
We often mistake thirst for hunger, so make you’re staying adequately hydrated throughout the day as well as at gatherings. Not only should you continue to drink eight glasses of water daily (because that's what you're doing, right?) it’s a good idea to chug a water bottle before rushing off to a soiree – a trick that makes you feel full without adding any calories to your diet.
Speaking of drinking, since many holiday celebrations involve drinking calorie-laden alcohol, you might want to skip the booze. If you must indulge, a good rule of thumb to remember is one glass of water for every glass of wine.
4. Cut Down on Your Screen Time
Wintertime makes us want to curl up in front of our TV or tablet for a good Netflix binge night after night as we munch away on our favorite snack or even dinner. However, research shows that watching less TV helps motivate you to exercise more and eat a healthier diet. Cut back on your screen time to eat more mindfully or go for a walk outside, and you’ll feel fuller faster and feel lighter.
5. Snack Wisely
If the cold weather incites us to reach for the fatty, salty, and sugary foods, then we need to be prepared for it. Which is why you need to focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods, including fiber-rich foods, like vegetables, beans, and whole grains, which fill you up faster and keep hunger at bay. Including lean protein, like fish, nut butter, eggs, beans, and chicken, into your diet is another great option for keeping you feeling fuller longer while also giving you that much-needed dose of energy.
Gaining winter weight doesn’t have to be inevitable. By keeping a consistent exercise schedule, hydrating yourself, planning ahead before holiday parties, reducing screen time and snacking wisely, you’re more likely to gain five pounds of muscle than fat. And while no one likes to carry around extra weight, don’t forget to have fun either and treat yourself now and then. Remember, everything in moderation; including moderation.
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