Winter weight gain is caused by many factors, but there is only one outcome. When spring arrives, you’re heavier than you were in the winter.
Approximately 5 to 7 pounds are gained by the average adult between December and February, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. This adds up over the years, so you can see why you may be in for a shock when you start to shed your bulky coats and sweaters in March.
Let this be the year you break the cycle. Make these changes to your diet and stay active so you’ll be leaner all year.
Tips to prevent weight gain during the winter:
- Make portions smaller. You may find it difficult to resist comfort foods and holiday treats. By reducing serving sizes, you’ll be able to enjoy some of your favorite dishes without depriving yourself completely.
- Buy lots of produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables may be hard to find at your local grocery depending on where you live. You can find winter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and beets. If you are looking for items that freeze well, like spinach and peas, try the frozen food aisle.
- Be wise when you party. The holidays are a prime time for socializing. Rather than eating and drinking, focus on conversation and dancing. A healthy snack beforehand will prevent you from overindulging at hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffets.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking cocktails undermines many diets. As well as containing empty calories, they tend to weaken your willpower. Limit yourself to one or two light drinks like wine or Bloody Mary’s.
- Bring snacks with you. Keep wholesome treats at your desk and in your car for shopping expeditions and office food platters. Nuts, carrots, and protein bars with low sugar are good choices.
- Drink less coffee. Some specialty coffee drinks have more sugar and calories than a large meal. Consider them an occasional treat, and order the smallest size.
- Be mindful when eating. Things can get hectic during the holidays. Keep an eye on how many calories you’re consuming and the quality of your food. Otherwise, you may consume large quantities of junk food without thinking, particularly while watching TV.
- Make a quick recovery. You should get back on track as soon as possible if you stray from your diet. Eat a bit less for the next couple of days.
Tips to combat weight gain during the winter:
- Commit yourself. During cold, rainy weather, it makes sense to want to stay indoors. If you plan ahead and are determined, you can run early in the morning or go to the gym after work.
- Bundle up. Layers of warm clothing can keep you warm and comfortable outdoors. Make sure your face, hands, and feet are also protected.
- Share the fun with others. Get your mind off the cold weather by having fun with family and friends. Ice skate or go cross-country skiing. It will make you feel more accountable to show up on time if you have a workout partner.
- Set up a home gym. On some days, the weather may be so extreme that staying indoors makes sense. You can still keep to your workout schedule if you have some equipment at home. Get a treadmill or a jump rope. Check out exercise DVDs at your local store or online (or YouTube!) to find titles that interest you.
If you consume fewer calories and exercise more, you can stop winter weight gain in its tracks. You lower your risk of many serious health problems and have more energy to enjoy your favorite activities when you manage your weight.