Most of us would agree that Winter brings unique challenges when attempting to shed excess weight. That, along with the simple fact that most people do not stick to their New Year’s resolution beyond the end of January, adds to pounds coming on instead of off in the Winter months. We are past the December and New Year’s celebrations; however, colder, often wet weather and less daylight are here for a few more months.
Here are 7 helpful tips to help emerge slimmer in Spring:
Indoor Exercise Alternatives: Highlight ways to stay active indoors, like online fitness classes, yoga, or even simple exercises that can be done at home without equipment. There are so many online programs now. Whether you are into home workout routines, dance moves, or yoga, you can find what you like online. We no longer must purchase CDs. Find a dedicated space in your home or office (why not?)
Remember, the idea is to move your body. Even 5-10-minute walks, stretches, or dancing around the office can be beneficial.
Healthy Comfort Food Recipes: Winter comfort foods can be just what you don’t want if they look like pizza, pasta, and other high-fat, high-carbohydrate dishes. Opt for something lighter and healthier that still brings that warm, comforting feeling. A big pot of chicken, carrots, celery, onion, herbs, and spices is yummy. We use cauliflower instead of potato and will add more cauliflower and chicken over several days. Healthier, such as using lower-calorie ingredients or adding more vegetables to dishes. Use whatever veggies you like.
Find a frozen turkey that you can thaw and pop in the oven. Once again, add your veggies and almost a liter of water to the pan. Season the vegetables and baste it with the seasoned water. It’s fabulous, and I pick on it for days. Yes, avoid the skin as much as possible.
You can pig out all you want on non-starchy vegetables. Once or twice a week, throw butternut squash in the oven. I put our Caramel Liquid Stevia and cinnamon on it – it’s wonderful. Don’t overdo it with Butternut squash, but when you want that fabulous, sweet comfort food, go for it.
Staying Hydrated: This is simple, although not always easy…water, water, water. Stick to half your body weight in ounces every day. Set a timer on your phone, and have water in your office, around the house, and in your car. Stick with this one.
Vitamin D and Mood: Vitamin D can help. We take it every day all year. I remember my functional medicine doctor years ago telling me that most people in the U.S. are Vitamin D deficient (while living in Vegas, where it’s sunny almost every day). You might learn from your healthcare practitioner what your Vitamin D status is and go from there. It has been shown to help when the days are shorter, and we do not get much sunlight. Like I said, I was living in Vegas, so regardless of where you live, finding out if you are shortchanging your body of much-needed Vitamin D would be a good idea.
You will most likely not get enough Vitamin D from food. As for exposure to sunlight, well, it’s Winter, and I don’t believe you can count on that to be sure your Vitamin D is sufficient. Some evidence is that Vitamin D can enhance weight management and balance hormones. It’s always best to check with your healthcare provider and find out what might work for you regarding Vitamin D or any supplement.
Setting Realistic Goals: Remember to be kind to yourself. If you are working towards a weight release goal, be realistic. That is a good idea whether it’s Winter or any other season. Food is a very challenging addiction – maybe the most challenging. We can’t just stop eating. Find a buddy so that you can hold each other accountable. Our Maynestreet programs are all about personal support and accountability.
Know that you are unique; what works for someone else may not work for you. For example, asparagus is a healthy, non-starchy, low-calorie vegetable. Still, when I was releasing weight, the scale would go up a bit every time I ate asparagus the day before. Everyone is different. Celebrate small accomplishments and look for and acknowledge non-scale victories; how do you feel? How do your clothes feel? Are you sleeping better?
Embracing Outdoor Activities: If you are able, get outside. I love going for a walk on a cold, sunny Winter Day. Dress appropriately in layers, wear a hat, scarf, and gloves, and go for it. You will feel exnihilated after. For some people, Winter is their time to ski downhill, cross-country ski, skate, snowshoe, hike, and snowmobile.
Mindfulness and Stress Management: Many people feel “down,” anxious, or depressed during the darker, colder Winter days. A long time ago, someone told me to look at Winter differently. Think of it as a time for rest and renewal. The animals, flowers, and trees know that Winter affords us the glory of Spring. Find indoor things to do that bring you joy. Reading, knitting, painting, catching up on your favorite TV shows, jigsaw puzzles, writing, meditating, indoor exercising, catching up with friends on Zoom, going to lunch on the weekends with people you haven’t spent time with lately.
Summer flies by, and we often do not get to make all those plans we say we are going to. Take advantage of Winter’s quiet time. It’s okay to do absolutely nothing, too. I am a huge sports fan. I love watching football; when that is over, I watch basketball and golf for the remainder of the Winter. I also love British detective shows and consume them in the long evenings.
Here is a link to a 3-minute meditation I did. This short break in your day can make a big difference in your mood. Don’t let the word meditation scare you. It is simply a way of relaxing and getting re-energized.
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