Winter Weight Gain: How to Avoid It
Winter can be a harsh time of year for you and your waistline. With shorter days, extended darkness, and frigid temperatures that keep us inside and generally less active, it’s only natural that we seek out comfort in food. Research from the American Society for Nutrition shows that a major percentage of American adult’s weight gain comes during the winter months. Although the New England Journal of Medicine puts the average winter weight gain at just one pound, studies have proven that we can’t seem to shed this added weight post-winter, which can lead to a gradual yet substantial build-up over the years.
So if the winter diet doldrums are upon you, just remember that winter and weight gain don’t have to be synonymous. Follow these easy tips to avoid packing on the dreaded winter weight gain:
Stay Active. Dear couch potato: Get up! Fight the urge to melt in to your couch when you get home from work. Instead, create an exercise routine, plan it into your day and stick to it. Persistence and regular exercise are key to fighting off the bulge and maintaining a positive and healthy outlook. Or you could simply just go outside, get fresh air and absorb some much needed vitamin D from the sun. You will instantly feel better.
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Try on your summer clothes. Chunky sweaters, baggy sweats and layers upon layers can lull us in to thinking we haven’t gained any weight. Use a summer outfit or a bathing suite to compare where you are weight-wise with where you were just a few short months ago. This reality check can give you added motivation and the reassurance that warmer weather lies ahead. Plus, knowing you’ll be holding yourself accountable is a great strategy to ward off any potential winter weight gain.
Keep a food journal. For those of us still trying to recover from the holiday indulgences that derailed our healthy eating habits, get back on track with a food journal. It not only keeps you accountable but encourages you to prepare healthy meals and pinpoint the culprits behind unhealthy habits. Try NuMi, Nutrisystem’s FREE online tracking tool, which makes logging food, activity, weight and more simple!
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Avoid empty calories. It’s cold and you want something hot and comforting to soften the bite of that winter chill. Luckily, that doesn’t have to equate to winter weight gain. Indulge in hearty winter foods like chili and soup instead of calorie-dense, cheese-laden or cream-filled dishes that tend to zap energy and send you straight into a food coma.