There's something about the winter time that just beckons us to ratchet up our calorie count. Whether it's the indulgent fare of a holiday party or the comfort-inducing snack foods we crave when it's freezing outside, it's easy to let our eyes get bigger than our stomachs during the cold months. So what can you do to maintain control during this season of dietary temptation? Below are five simple yet effective ways to beat winter weight gain.
1. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
If you're perusing the grocery store aisles on an empty stomach, more often than not you're going to let impulse do the shopping instead of using your better judgment. This doesn't mean you have to eat a full course meal before you head out the door, but you can fuel up with a quick snack of fresh fruits and vegetables (e.g., grapes, apples, baby carrots, etc.) to ease those cravings. That way, you'll be a lot more clear-headed--and more apt to stick to your shopping list--when you go to the store.
2. Snack responsibly.
When the weather outside is frightful, many of us like to snuggle up on a cozy couch and binge watch our favorite movies or TV shows. Unfortunately, along with binge watching comes binge eating, and before you know it, that entire bag of chips is gone without even looking.
Curtail mindless snacking by taking a predetermined portion out of the bag and putting it on some kind of plate or napkin, then putting the rest away. That way, once you're done, you're done, and it will be harder for you to go back to get seconds.
There's no getting around it--if you're going to have any chance of beating winter weight gain, you're going to have to crank up your calorie burning efforts. Do your best to get some type of regular exercise during the winter season, whether it's going for a brisk 30-minute walk first thing in the morning or heading to Five Seasons for a strength training session 2-4 times a week.
4. Drink more water.
Water is beneficial for your body for a number of important reasons: It flushes out fat cells, removes toxins from your system, and aids in digestive health. Drinking several glasses of water a day will help you feel fuller throughout the day, which will stave off those cravings that tend to derail your diet plans. In addition, the hydrating effects of water help your skin retain moisture, which really comes in handy during those days when the dry winter air is particularly hostile to your skin.
5. Turn regular activities into calorie-burners.
When you're out running errands, don't even worry about trying to find a parking space that's close to the front of a given building. Park at a decent distance from the building on purpose, so that you can burn a few extra calories walking to and from your car.
Whether you take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators or manually vacuum your living spaces instead of letting the robotic vacuum do it for you, taking these small opportunities when they present themselves can really add up in terms of the total amount of calories you'll burn per day.
The winter months are typically the time when our worst eating habits tend to surface, but you don't have to assume that weight gain is inevitable. Use the tips outlined above to help you keep those calories under control.