This time of the year can be like an obstacle course for people trying to lose weight and keep it off, every turn brings another cake, another cookie, large dinners, and to top it all off, many of us wash it all down with a heavy egg nog drink, or wine, which can bring on even more cravings! While seasonal weight gain affects each person in a different way, a study conducted by Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD of Johns Hopkins University found that people tend to gain five to seven pounds during the winter months.
Why do people gain weight in winter?
The most common reason that weight gain happens during the winter include interruptions to exercise schedules, tempting treats and comfort foods, and issues like sleepiness and seasonal affective disorder caused by the lack of sunlight.
So, what is it that you should do to keep those extra pounds away from your body?
Here are six tips that will help you to avoid weight gain and keep up with your fitness goals
1- Exercise – While it can be hard to keep up your workout routine while visiting with family and celebrating the holidays, whatever exercise you can squeeze in will matter. Whether it’s going to a kickboxing class, doing morning yoga, or even just taking a family walk, it is important to stay active.
2- Moderation is key– Don’t deprive yourself by cutting yourself off from enjoying any holiday treats, just make sure to moderate them and balance them out with healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only will you keep the weight off easier, but you’ll feel better too.
3- Limit alcohol– Alcohol is full of “empty calories”, meaning when you drink it there is absolutely no nutritional value. So enjoy a glass of champagne at midnight on New Year’s Eve, but don’t go overboard, because those calories do add up.
4- Say no – Often the hardest part of moderating the treats you eat and limiting your alcohol consumption is dealing with the pressure of family and friends to join them in indulging. No one will be offended if you don’t take a second or third cookie, so get comfortable saying no when someone offers you food or another drink.
5- Don’t go to events hungry – Studies suggest that when we have food outside our homes we might increase our calorie intake by up to 40%. This is because often with the expectation of a party full of free food we choose not to eat normal meals during the hours leading up to it. This can cause binging, which leads to weight gain. Make sure you’re eating breakfast and lunch as normal so that you can choose what treats to eat based on choice and not hunger.
6- Don’t be too hard on yourself– As long as you’re being mindful of what you consume and trying to be active in some way every day, don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip up a little bit with an extra cookie here or there. Be sure to enjoy yourself, and remember that what is truly important this holiday season is spending time with family.