How many times have you found yourself putting on pounds during the cold months just to get stressed out in spring, crash dieting to prepare yourself for “bikini season?” Wouldn’t it be great to stay trim and energized all year round? You can! With a few lifestyle modifications, you can beat back the winter bulk. Below are several tips to help you stay fit and energized.
Let in the sun. Open your blinds first thing in the morning and get outside in the sunlight as early as possible. This will help keep your energy regulated, which tends to get more difficult as days get shorter.
Get the right amount of sleep. Getting enough restful sleep is important for maintaining energy and a healthy weight. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, but don’t overdo it. We tend to go into hibernation mode when it’s cold out, sleeping longer than normal, which actually leaves us feeling more tired. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Keep Moving. It can be hard to motivate when it’s cold, dark and wet outside, but maintaining an exercise routine may be even more important during these months since we’re less likely to be active in other areas. You’ll find more tips for keeping active below.
Practice mindfulness. With added events on the calendar, tasks on the to-do list and items on the shopping list, the holiday season can be stressful. Allowing yourself even a few minutes every day to just sit and focus on your breath will make healthy decisions easier to make.
Nourish your body. There are so many temptations this time of year, it can be easy to forego healthier options for the cocktails and starchy sweets that tend to be available in abundance. Here are some tips to help tame the cravings:
- Eat seasonally. Seasonal veggies like winter squash and sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness and can satisfy the desire for something starchy.
- Eat before parties. Before heading out to celebrations, enjoy a meal with plenty of vegetables, protein and healthy fats to curb hunger. Or, if it’s a dinner party, start by filling your plate with veggies. You can always go back for a taste of that casserole later.
- Choose your surroundings. If you know you’re likely to be snacking at an event, stand by the veggie tray, rather than the dessert bar.
5 Tips for Keeping Active in Cold Months
With so much to do and so little sunlight, keeping active in fall and winter can really feel like a chore, and it can be easy to just let it slide. However, that often leads to a cascade of bad food choices, overdoing the drinks, and spending a lot of time curled up on the couch. The average American gains between five and 12 pounds during the holiday season! Here are some tips for keeping energy up and weight down with exercise:
Plan ahead. Maintain a weekly exercise routine as much as possible. If something comes up, like a holiday gathering, reschedule your workout rather than foregoing it altogether. Make sure you put your workouts on your calendar. We’re more likely to commit to exercise if it’s scheduled into the day.
Suck it up. If the idea of bundling up and running in the rain sounds terrible, try it anyway. You might find it invigorating.
Move your workout indoors. If you’d rather stay inside, use a video to guide you in a workout or join a class. You could also try indoor sports, like racquetball or indoor soccer, or re-up your gym membership and get on the treadmill. It doesn’t take much to move the body in the right direction.
Take advantage of commercial breaks. If you’re more focused on the football season than the holiday season, you’re probably spending lots of time on the couch. The average NFL game has 20 commercial breaks. Imagine how many push-ups and crunches you can get done in that amount of time!
Participate in snow sports. If you live in or near an area that gets plenty of snow, take advantage of the opportunity to ski, snowboard or snowshoe. Even sledding means walking uphill in the snow over and over again!
Cold and short months don’t need to equate with putting on pounds. Use the opportunity to get creative and enjoy some new ways to exercise. Holiday gatherings can be a great time to start new traditions, like an (actual) football game or a family hike. Get out there and get moving!
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