If you wish to maintain a healthy weight during winter holidays first, you need to compile a list of potential weight gain habits. Because it is not the food you eat that would bring extra pounds, it is an unhealthy habit.
Although we have many opportunities to enjoy winter, we are mostly trying to avoid cold weather and to stay as long as possible in our cozy and warm flats and houses where we only enjoy everyday indoor activities. Most of us engage in minimum physical activities, and some people only get out when going to work.
We should not generalize, surely some people keep going to cinemas, concerts and pubs. However, most people stay at home. In a way, it is understandable because winter can be very cold, and passive, and boost a bad mood.
One of the biggest problems related to winter weight gain is that pounds tend to stay for a very long time, and studies showed that those who gain weight in winter have many obstacles and problems when trying to lose weight. You see the problem now, right?
Main obstacles for winter weight gain are:
Lack of physical activities
Overindulging at Christmas and other winter festivals
What are the solutions?
Enjoy winter sports
There are many sports you can try and enjoy. For instance, ice-skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Remember that even everyday chores like shoveling the snow in front of your house or out of your driveway can burn calories.
In case you never experienced winter sports, this is your chance.
Engage in any kind of exercising
When winter comes, we usually forget about exercising. Many prefer outdoor exercising, but outdoor exercising can substitute indoor exercising or training at gyms.
However, even short walks can boost your body. Do your best to walk to work, in case you can, of course, or jog around your neighborhood.
Find fun indoor activities
If you want to avoid snow and cold, you should not limit yourself to fun activities in your house. There are plenty more to try and have fun. For instance, bowling with your friends, artificial rock climbing, billiards, indoor pools, and so on. Even shopping for Christmas or simply window-shopping in a mall can help you stay active.
Organize your daily activities and set motivational plans
There are many things you can plan – spring vacations, hiking excursions, marathons, and more. Try to spend time creatively and learn new things – sewing, knitting, foreign language, photography, for instance.
Planning and organizing will set your mind of food and will keep you entertained and active, both mentally and physically.
Let the sunshine in
Studies showed that morning winter sunlight could boost your energy. Staying indoors for too long can make you tired and exhausted, thus open your windows and let the sunshine in. Sun also increases levels of serotonin that can help you control your food cravings.
Opt for healthy food anytime and anywhere
It can be hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables in winter; however, there are still plenty of winter fruits and delicious food that can give you the energy and maintain your weight. Just think about oranges, mandarins, and pomegranates.
Maintain your zinc levels
Nutritionists concluded that low levels of zinc are associated with less calorie burning. Thus, eat healthy food rich in this mineral – nuts, whole grains, and other fruits and vegetables.
Fill your kitchen cupboards
It is important to store certain food in your kitchen, that way you can always make quick and healthy nutritious meals. These foods should be included in your shopping list: cans of tomatoes, and beans, dried whole wheat pasta, cereals, and dried fruits. You will also save money and avoid buying more food.
Eat your winter greens
Do not eat the same food every day, and do not forget about plenty of winter greens you can include in your diets. Kale, artichokes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are just some of the food you should eat weekly.
There are also root vegetables such as swedes, parsnips and turnips.
Control your alcohol intakes
Some studies showed that alcohol consumption increases during winter months. We celebrate many winter holidays, but the worst weight-gain enemy is alcohol because when we are drinking it, we are not aware of how much calories we consume.
It is not easy to avoid alcohol, but controlling the intake and drinking more water and juices is very helpful.
Do not party on an empty stomach
Going to a party hungry means, you will drink more and eat more unhealthy high-calorie snacks because usually there are not many healthy foods at the party.
Eat before you go, that way you will control your food craving and you will not drink much, as well.
Control your calorie intake
If you know you are prone to overeating and that you cannot easily avoid those sweet winter snacks, control your calorie intakes. In case you overeat, cut your calories for a few next days.
It is also important to drink a lot of hot drinks during winter. Avoid hot chocolate and syrupy coffee; these drinks are very high in calories.
Avoid stressful situations as much as possible
We live in a stressful environment, that is for sure, but try to avoid stress by any possible means, because stress triggers eating. Many people experience to gain weight as a result of daily stress.
Control your weight with sex
Apart from the fact that sex burns calories, it is also crucial for better sleep, stress reduction and neutralization, and a positive mood. During the winter, we experience something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka Wintertime Blues that leads us to food cravings.
Sex makes us feel better, due to the chemicals produced during the sex – dopamine and serotonin; thus we will be less interested in food and less eager to eat everything we see on the table. Sex can also help us feel better about ourselves and love our bodies more.
Hyland, L. (2013). Keeping It Off: Healthy Plan for Weight Loss (Winter Version).
Patenaude, F. (2011). The Raw winter Recipe Guide – 75 Raw Food Recipes You Can Make with Seasonal Ingredients in 5 Minutes or Less.
Veale, W. (2003). Winter Warmers: Over 60 Warming Recipes Low in Points. Simon & Schuster Ltd.
Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo
Last article update: 11/12/2019