Now that summer is drawing to a close, holiday season and winter is right around the corner. And for many people, that means it is weight gain season.
Many of us struggle with our weight on a daily basis, but we try awfully hard in the spring to get in great shape for the summer. We hit the gym, do the crunches, cut out the carbs, and sweat like there’s no tomorrow in order to look a little bit better in our swimwear.
We put a lot of effort into getting into that proverbial summer shape; but why do we need to bust our humps to get in shape in the first place? It is because we go into hibernation mode during cold-weather months.
When the holiday season rolls around, when the crisp air starts to put the chill in our bones, we stock up on creamy gratins, soups, and mashed potatoes. We eat more and exercise less, seeing that we are not wearing the bikini anymore.
Don’t fall victim to the vicious cycle again this year. Use these ten tips to help keep you on the right track.
10 Great Tips for Staying in Shape
1: Stews and Soups
- This is all about eating. Most of us take advantage of the cold weather and load up on seasonal favorites, like cookies and pies and cakes. When the weather gets a bit nippy, make something with some heat to it. A turkey chili, chicken noodle soup, gumbo, or any other stew or soup is a great way to eat healthy for the season.
2: Drink Light
- If you can, avoid alcoholic beverages and beverages loaded down with sugar; instead of drinking a coke while you’re snowed in, try some green tea sweetened with Splenda or, better yet, some good old water. Get in the habit of cutting out those dead carbs during the winter months and you’ll have less bulk come the spring/summer.
3: Snack Smart
- We all know that being stuck inside due to cold weather means you’ll snack more. There’s something about boredom that makes you hungrier than a week’s worth of back-breaking work! So when you get the urge, snack smart. Go for fresh fruits, veggies, cheeses, and nuts.
4: Find the Activity
- Most of us use the bad weather as an excuse to sleep in or to be lazy, but you should be finding ways to keep active. Go shovel your driveway, rake the leaves, ice the sidewalk; do something that gets you up and moving around. Don’t let your metabolism hibernate.
5: Avoid the Mind Games
- A lot of us become a bit antisocial in the cold-weather months, so we begin to think that a few lapsed days of dieting enthusiasm won’t matter since we’re not out and about. Don’t fall into this trap. Treat everyday like it’s your high-school reunion and you have something to prove.
6: Keep up with your Sleep
- Thanksgiving and Christmas and possibly some bad-weather days will keep you home for a while. This means you can be up all night watching an America’s Got Talent marathon or something. Or you could do the smart thing and stick with your normal sleeping pattern in order to keep your energy up. Duh!
7: Don’t do a Workaround
- Some of us will sacrifice a lot before and after a holiday meal, thinking that we can splurge on a big feast if we trim a little here and a little there. This is just the wrong approach. You can indulge a little more on the holidays than you would on a normal day, but don’t starve yourself or change your eating habits for fear of ruining a diet.
8: Ditch the Leftovers
- Leftovers are too tempting. You’ll begin to make deals with yourself: “Okay, after this pie is finished, I’ll start the diet again.” If you’re eating at someone else’s home, don’t do the doggy bag thing, and if you’re eating at your home, give your leftovers away (unless you have ideas for healthy leftover recipes).
9: No Renewals
- You know what’s right after Christmas, right? New Year’s Day! This means a lot of you will absolutely shatter your diets in December, thinking you can make it up at the start of 2012. It’s this kind of lapse that leaves you needing to diet in the first place. Every day should be a resolution in your dieting revolution.
10: Don’t Stress
- Stressing over whether you’re sticking with your diet thoroughly enough might break you down. Keep up with your weigh-ins and stick with your healthier meals and increased activity, but don’t think about it too much. Many of us are stress eaters and will begin to binge when we feel the pressure.
This season can feel like it lasts an eternity if you’re worrying too much about your weight, and it’s all made worse by the fact that baggy sweaters and coats enable us to hide a little more. Just remember that feeling you get when you try those swim trunks on, that should keep you wanting to stay in great shape during the winter.