Winter is a popular time for celebrations and parties. There’s Christmas, Winter Solstice, St. Nicholas Day, New Year, St. Lucia Day, and Three Kings Day to name a few.
And since it’s a joyous holiday season, some of us would likely enjoy hot chocolate, freshly baked goods, and candy canes! Who wouldn’t? Plus, we may spend more time on the couch than outdoors because of the cold temperature.
No wonder winter weight gain is a thing! Research even showed that people gain a pound or two during the winter months. How can you avoid gaining weight during winter?
Below are some tips you can follow so you can come out of the holiday season with less frustration and guilt than usual.
8 Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain
Table of Contents
1. Set Your Intentions
Intention setting to avoid gaining weight is truly transformational. It opens your eyes, gets you inspired, and makes you feel motivated.
To do this, get a journal or a notebook and a pen. Then, sit in a quiet spot. Bonus points if you can make some tea or lemon water, first. Now, write where you are currently at and find opportunities to change.
How do you want to feel? What things (including drinks, food, and other consumables) and people are making it difficult for you to experience things you want?
What can you do to take better care of yourself? What will you commit to doing to experience and feel what you want? The things you will put on your list will guide you exactly on what you need to do in the next month or so.
2. Keep Moving
Yes, it’s not easy to go out into the cold but there are ways to move your body even in the comfort of your home. Try Pilates or yoga at home. A treadmill run in a temperature-controlled room is also a good idea.
You can even find the best cheap weight bench to take your training to the next level. It’s a great home gym equipment and is one of the finest ways to add power, strength, and size to your muscles while at home.
Some affordable workout equipment you can use includes resistance bands, weights, kettlebells, and a medicine ball. Find an exercise equipment you enjoy the most using and set a regular fitness schedule to keep weight off during winter.
3. Don’t Go to a Party Hungry
Consume high-fiber vegetables and fruits to fill you up before attending a party. These healthy foods are what we need to get our carbs and not from brownies and alcohol. So, eat a big salad, baby carrots, or an apple to curb your hunger pangs.
Not to mention that being in an environment with plenty of food choices and alcohol plus the stress caused by social settings could foster overeating. That is why it’s better to be on guard before going to the party.
If you do overeat, make up for it. We call this calorie damage control, wherein you cut your calorie intake for a few days and exercise more than your usual.
Water is something we tend to forget during colder months as we move and sweat less. However, it is still important to drink enough water.
The American Heart Association even states that in cold months, our kidneys excrete more urine. All the more reason why we need to drink adequate water.
5. Limit Sugar and Beverages
We know. Sugary treats can be tempting during the winter season. But you can limit that sugar craving with simple health hacks. For instance, before going for a cookie, try drinking a glass of water first and wait how you feel half an hour later.
You can also take advantage of natural sweet produce: sweet potatoes, turnips, sweet onions, and winter squash parsnips. Moreover, cut down on beverages and caffeine. Be mindful of your fancy java orders, such as that caramel macchiato, that are packed with a boatload of added caffeine and sugar.
6. Get Enough Sleep (and Sunshine)
Are you used to staying up late to try to get more things done or to just unwind after a busy day? Beware. This habit can throw off two hunger hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin increases lack of sleep, which leads to an increase in appetite while leptin (satiation hormone) decreases with lack of sleep. When this happens. You are more likely to eat the following day.
So, avoid winter weight gain by getting enough sleep. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Getting enough sunshine also helps improve your sleep.
The natural light in the morning regulates your circadian rhythm by signaling your body when to decrease and increase melatonin levels. But since winter days mean less sunshine, you can consume foods rich in vitamin D.
7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. The holiday season itself comes with stress, like hosting visitors and overspending. And since your goal is weight loss or avoiding weight gain, stress reduction is very important.
Instead, why not focus on things that make you feel relaxed and calm? This can include journaling, meditation, spending time in nature, doing art activities, talking to a friend, exercising, playing games, reading, or listening to music.
8. Plan Your Menu
Make healthy eating plans that are weather-proof and realistic for the winter season. Salad may be good to eat in the summer, but we’re often looking for a hot meal during winter.
Good thing there are plenty of warming dishes that can easily be adapted. Plan for your menu days or a week ahead so you don’t end up being impulsive with your food choices.
People usually gain unwanted pounds because they are hungry and without a meal plan. You may also cook food in bigger batches and put them in your fridge so you’ll always have a healthy meal on the go.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Winter may not be a season to follow strict diets and detoxes, but the above tips are sure ways to avoid unwanted weight gain.
There’s really no need to let go of your favorite winter meals and stay away from the celebration. Just be aware of why you are there – to celebrate and be with your loved ones – and make that a priority.