If a chill in the air gets your heart racing, be honest. Pumpkin spice lattes and apple pies have something to do with this passion, don’t they?
Comfort foods are so closely tied to the cooler weather, and that’s probably why we tend to gain a few pounds in the winter months. But this doesn’t have to be an absolute. You can get some comfort without sacrificing your fit physique. It is possible with a few minor tweaks.
Here’s how to avoid gaining weight during the winter.
1. Avoid Seasonal Beverages
Whether it’s pumpkin spice latte or a mug of eggnog, seasonal beverages can sneak an excessive amount of calories and fat into your diet. These drinks are so dangerous because we often don’t even consider the added calories. After all, it’s just a drink, right? But did you know that there are about 223 calories in one cup of eggnog?
That’s more than 10 percent of your daily intake on a 2,000-calorie diet. If you’re trying to maintain a slim figure, you’re probably used to something closer to 1,500 calories. In that case, one glass of eggnog is closer to 15 percent of your daily intake.
In order to maintain your weight, you’ll need to expend as many calories as you consume, so this is important. Alcoholic beverages in general tend to add a lot of liquid calories, so try to drink in moderation. If you have trouble cutting back, don’t hesitate to address the problem. There are centers in virtually every town, so you can easily find treatment to help you through this season without drinking.
2. Keep exercising
If you already exercise, keep it up. If you aren’t exercising now, start. Focus on building muscle, and you will create a situation where it’s easier to burn fat. When your body contains more muscle tone than fat, it is more efficient at fat and calorie burning. So even at rest, a toned body will burn more fat than a flabby one. Exercise may seem like a chore, but its effects last much longer than the burn.
Try for 30-minutes of exercise daily. If possible, mix aerobic exercise with some strength training to build muscle. But if you’re starting from nothing, remember that any exercise is better than no exercise. Even walking for 30-minutes daily can help you burn calories and maintain your weight.
3. Practice Portion Control
Retire your “eating pants” this holiday season and practice portion control instead. You don’t have to deprive yourself this holiday season, but you do have to practice some moderation. Feel free to enjoy that pecan pie and a small pile of aunt Bessie’s sweet potatoes. Just know when to call it quits.
Grab the smallest plate you can find and avoid overfilling it. If you’re eating with a dessert plate, seconds are okay. But the gap between plate-fulls should help you realize how much you’ve eaten.
4. Eat slowly
This may be a novel concept, but try to make an effort to enjoy the company of the people around you. Engage in light conversation while you eat, and try to avoid shoveling food into your mouth quickly. It can take 20 minutes from the time food enters your mouth to the moment when you start feeling full, so give your body time to adjust.
When you eat quickly, you run the risk of eating until you’re uncomfortably full, which isn’t a great place to be.
Also, remember you want to save room for dessert. Get your favorites, but try to eat light at dinner.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common to put on weight during the winter, but you can buck the trend this year by following these simple tips. With some minor adjustments, you can keep your waistline where it is and be ready when the warm weather rolls in again.