Keeping Winter Weight Away
By Martin Brown
Of all the challenges to keeping our weight down, probably the two greatest are the holiday period followed by what I like to call “the winter blues.” It’s a tough one two punch for all of us who would like to head into spring — when the coats come off and the more reveling clothes come on — with only a few extra pounds at the most to lose. Here are some tips to help you keep down your winter weight gain.
Hopefully you made it through December without putting too much of a dent in the old bathroom scale, but now the cold days and long nights of January and February can present every bit as much of a challenge as the holiday goodies that have been placed under your nose for the past three weeks.
Here are four simple action steps you can take today to keep winter weight away and avoid that slide down into the next pants size up.
1. Remember that winter is the time that all of us tend to do a little hibernation of our own.
We’re a lot less tempted to go out on a cold dark night to get something to eat. That means that, during this time of year, we are more tempted than ever to make a meal, a snack, or a dessert out of whatever food we have in the house. Studies show that over 70% of the calories we consume come from whatever foods we have in our house. So don’t forget that your first and most important line of defense is the food you bring into the house.
2. Accept the fact that you’re going to want comfort food and some snacks so prepare accordingly.
Diets that resist our temptation for snacks and comfort food consistently breakdown and fail because they are based on unrealistic expectations. Rather than fighting the inevitable, go with the flow. Sure you can do the baked potato with butter and sour cream. But here’s the compromise: have that baked potato with fat free Ranch dressing. Do you love a rich chocolate brownie, hot and chewy on a cold winter night? Check out “No Pudge Brownies” and their secret ingredient: a cup of fat free vanilla yogurt. At 110 calories for a generous portion, keeping trim never tasted so good. No joke, just look it up online.
3. To make your diet tastier, get creative.
There’s an old expression I love,:“If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting.” Keeping your weight under control has a lot to do with looking for creative solutions like the two I just mentioned above. There are hundreds of smart ideas on eating well while eating less, you can make these ideas a part of your life, but first you have to get creative and think outside the box. Your current diet brought you to where you are today. If that’s a place you don’t want to stay, you have to change the routine that brought you there.
4. Gyms are a great bargain — if you actually use them.
All the time when I’m on the road, I’ll use a local gym for a workout. I always make it a point to ask about the monthly rate telling them I’m not from the area and therefore not a potential sale, but just curious. One gym in a superb of Indianapolis recently told me that they were $19 per month. Another one in Philadelphia was $29. My own gym here in Northern California, one of the pricier parts of the country, is $39 per month. Since I go an average of twenty nights per month, that’s two bucks a visit for my neighborhood, and a buck a visit for my friends in Indiana.
Of course gyms make their money by getting people to sign a one-year deal, who then come for the first four weeks and don’t show up during the remaining 48 weeks of the year. Don’t be one of those people. If you do nothing more than thirty minutes on a treadmill, you’re moving, and that’s key to weight maintenance. If you want to stay at or near your ideal weight, movement has to be part of your plan. In the winter, not too many of us are going out for a stroll after work, in the dark, with the temperature hovering in the mid-twenties, so get a gym membership and come in out of the cold. Your body will thank you for it—
And you’ll love the approving looks you get when spring is once again in the air.
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