What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of winter? Snow? Perhaps the holiday season? What about weight gain? Unfortunately, it’s true that many of us will put on at least a few pounds during the winter months. Less outdoor activity, stronger food cravings, festive eating, and fewer fresh food options are just a few of the reasons why people tend to gain weight during the winter.
Fortunately, winter weight gain does not have to be your reality this year. Use this 4-step approach to keep those extra pounds away.
1. Be Fit as a Family
Parents are made very aware that children need more exercise than they are typically getting. But, this does not mean that parents should simply enroll their kids in a winter sport or activity and sit on the sidelines. There are many fun and physically active ways that families can spend time together during the winter months.
Family physical activity provides fond memories for children, helps build healthy relationships, and provides every member of the family with an exercise outlet.
2. Create Your Own Indoor Workout
There are some days when outdoor activity is just not going to happen and a trip to the gym through the snow is just too daunting. For those days it is important to have a plan that will get you moving at home. It doesn’t take much to elevate the heart rate and to burn some extra calories with a simple at-home workout routine. Many exercises require no equipment at all and can be done in just a few minutes with great results.
3. Make It Social
Exercising alone is rarely as enjoyable as it is when done with a friend. There are also many reasons why recruiting an exercise partner leads to more success and adherence to the plan. Schedule with a friend to take daily walks, attend weekly exercise classes, or take up a winter hobby together. This is a great way to stay on track, especially on those cold winter days when curling up in front of the TV seems like such an appealing option!
4. Plan Your Snacking
Lack of exercise isn’t the only reason winter months bring weight gain. Sitting inside coincides with snacking out of boredom, a bad habit that almost half of adults are apparently guilty of! While snacking in itself is not necessarily a problem, the types of snacks we choose to nibble on sure can be. Going to the fridge to “see what’s there” is a sure-fire way to make some poor food choices.
Plan out your snacks in advance so that healthy options like these are easily accessible. Another helpful trick is to eat snacks from small, portion-sized dishes instead of directly from the package. Research shows that this advice leads to significantly less calories consumed and therefore less potential for weight gain.
Winter weight gain is avoidable with a little planning and a little discipline. Taking a proactive approach this winter will go a long way to keeping off those unwanted pounds, and will give anyone a head start for the next seasonal challenge: Bathing suit season.
Dave Smith is a personal trainer who loves helping people exercise effectively and efficiently. Dave teaches people how to maximize their fitness results using body weight exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime. You can learn more about Dave’s fitness philosophies and training methods at www.makeyourbodywork.com (maybe even try out a workout while you’re there!)