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Avoid Winter Weight Gain

Many people are prone to gaining weight during the winter months for a couple of reasons. Colder weather often means less activity; add less activity to holiday gatherings and festivities, and you get winter weight gain. You can maintain, or even lose weight and still enjoy holiday fun by following these easy suggestions.

Stay on Schedule

The winter months are pretty hectic, but it is important to stick as closely as possible to your regular routine. Just getting a full night’s sleep may help prevent winter weight gain. So if you party, don’t party too hard, too often or too late. According to a article, “too little sleep can make you fat.” When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormone levels related to hunger cues increase while those related to satiation decrease. The bottom line – when you’re sleepy, you eat more and gain more weight.

Keep eating breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day – especially when it comes to avoiding weight gain. In her article, The Many Benefits of Breakfast, Kathleen M. Zelman, a registered dietician, writes that breakfast eaters weigh less than breakfast skippers. Get to bed in time enough to get your day off to a good start with a healthy breakfast.

Make Smart Food Choices

The winter holidays just wouldn’t be the same without abundant opportunities for the sumptuous meals they bring. You don’t have to skip scrumptious holiday treats, just limit them. Try these suggestions for avoiding winter weight gain.

Eat regularly, including breakfast. Skipping meals can lead to weight gain.

When you’re at the buffet table, take a look at everything before you choose. Select one or two high calorie, must-have options and allow yourself a reasonable portion of each on a small plate. Only eat what tastes really great (mediocre food has just as many calories and is not worth the potential weight price). Fill the rest of your plate with low calorie, sensible food choices.

Avoid mindless eating. Pay attention to everything you put in your mouth, including bites of this or that – these calories add up to pounds, too.

Don’t drink extra calories. Juice, eggnog, soda and holiday cocktails can quickly add up to winter weight gain. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Also, consider adding club soda to wine or liquor to reduce caloric intake.

Keep it Moving

Sure it's cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to parties, stores, work and the couch. Get up and move. Wii Fit games and activities help you stay trim and have fun – no winter coat or boots required. Don’t have Wii?

  • Jump rope in the garage.
  • Do ten minute segments up and down the stairs of your home.
  • Do vigorous housework such as sweeping, mopping or shoveling.
  • Dance around the house.
  • Jog in place 30 -40 minutes, 4 times each week (you can break it up to fit your schedule).
  • Jump on a trampoline.
  • Bundle up and go out for a walk or run. Bring your iPod, dog or an exercise buddy along. After all, a little cold weather won’t kill you.

Avoid Procrastination

Maintaining a healthy weight is a daily commitment. You don’t have to wait. You can start today.

Don’t be discouraged if you have a bad day and eat too much. Right now is as good a time as any to get back on track.

Use Tools

Keep a scale in the bathroom and weigh yourself daily (don’t be unpleasantly surprised by a 15 pound weight gain, it is easier to lose a couple of pounds instead).

Keep a written or online food journal (it’s harder to fool yourself when you record what you eat).

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