Many factors can contribute to winter weight gain and people tend to avoid the bitter cold as much as possible. Being cooped up inside contributes to being very inactive & not exercising regularly. When the weather is cooler your body needs energy to keep warm. For some, this need for energy is met with calorie-heavy food. Water consumption also decreases in the winter which can lead to a mild dehydration. With the lack of water, exercise and Vitamin D it is very common for people in colder regions to go through seasonal depressions. Depressed moods can lead to over eating and over-consumption of comfort foods.
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, there is an abundance of high calorie temptations. The Physicians at Figure Weight Loss are here to help. Not only will our program make losing weight through this trying season a lot simpler, it will save you money!
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The following are some tips to help you curb the dreaded holiday weight gain.
Don’t skip meals or go to a party hungry. Many people try to “save” their calories early in the day so they indulge later. This doesn’t work, you will end up eating more calories in a short time and make poorer choices because you are so hungry. It is best to still eat small meals and snacks through the day, making sure to have some filling protein when you eat.
Be choosy about the foods and desserts you choose. If you look forward all year for your aunt’s casserole, then by all means have some. But if you aren’t a big fan of mashed potatoes and gravy, then skip those calories. Same idea applies to desserts. If you have a favorite dessert, then choose that one. If you can’t decide and want to “sample” them all, put them on a small plate so you can make sure you are just getting a sample taste.
Stay hydrated. We often forget to drink enough water in the winter, and with the holidays being so busy, it is easy to get dehydrated. Often we may feel hungry when we are really thirsty, so keeping water near you can help prevent you from overeating.
Limit alcohol. Not only does alcohol add calories, it also can contribute to eating more and dehydration too. Choose lower calorie drink options and limit to 1-2 drinks.
Don’t make food your focus. Remember it is a time to gather with loved ones, catch up and have fun, not just about eating. Try chatting with family or friends in a room that doesn’t have food, so you aren’t tempted to mindlessly graze while talking.
Walk it off. Get the family to go for a walk before and/or after a meal. This will burn a few calories and get you in a better mindset to make healthier food choices.
Exercise regularly through the season. As the weather gets colder, we often slow down on exercise, which contributes to the winter weight gain. Even if you only have 10-15 minutes, make time most days to get some exercise. It will burn some calories and help keep the stress from the holidays down.
Weigh yourself regularly. This can prevent weight gain from sneaking up on you and keeps you on track.
Keep the celebration foods under control. Not only is everyone bringing holiday treats in to work daily, but then we have all those leftovers to eat up after the celebrations. This can lead to a very high calorie diet for weeks if we don’t pay attention. Bring in your own healthy snacks and avoid the break room with all those treats. Give leftovers to guests as they leave so you don’t have quite so much high calorie food to eat.
Get back on track after the holidays. Whether you overindulged a little or a lot over the holidays, get back to healthier eating habits quickly.
Making a few small changes in how you celebrate can make a big difference in how you feel when the holidays are over!
Enjoy yourself, in moderation!