Some of you may be in the middle of what feels like the annual Winter Weight Gain. Does anyone know the meaning of “fat pants”? Do you have a size of clothes for winter and another size for summer? If so, you know what I am talking about 🙂
The holidays, less sunlight, and cold weather added together = feelings of sluggishness, unhappiness with appearance, and an all-around blah feeling. Who would willingly sign up for that? Doesn’t sound like too much fun to me. But, as a lot of us know, it’s easy to hibernate a bit in the winter and even more so in weather like we’ve been having lately.
It’s hard to stay at top of your game with respect to health when you feel crummy and unmotivated. However, there is one easy area we can put extra effort into during this time to help offset these bad feelings and that is in the FOOD category. If you are less active in the winter, then you need to decrease your caloric intake in order to not gain weight (simple math, right?).
Here are some strategies to help you lower your caloric intake:
1. Eat smaller portions. Everything in our society is super-sized and if it’s in front of us, we tend to eat it. At home, eat off of a salad plate rather than a large dinner plate. Going out to eat? Ask for a box when your food is served and put 1/3 – 1/2 of your dinner in the to-go box for tomorrow’s lunch.
2. Limit sugars/sweets. The holidays are over! Try to treat yourself sparingly (1x/week) or substitute fruit (berries, fruit salad, etc.) instead. Sweets offer very little and/or no nutritional value to our diet.
3. Drink water at every meal. (Do you see the recurring theme with water, yet? – It helps everything!). Make water your first choice every meal. Don’t drink your calories!
4. Eliminate high-fat foods in your diet. Skip the butter/margarine to cook with and use a healthy oil (canola, olive) instead. Use spices to help season your food. Don’t eat anything fried – baked is always better.
5. Track your calories. Many of us do not know how many calories we consume. Coupled with our lack of knowledge about proper portion sizes, this can easily mean we are consuming way more calories than our body needs. There are a variety of methods (websites, paper/pencil, phone apps) – just pick what works best for you. This also forces us to measure what we are eating = great check-up on our portion sizes. Remember, a normal serving of meat (e.g. chicken breast) is about the size of a fist.
6. Skip seconds. Ate everything on your lunch-size plate, but still feel hungry? Drink some water and/or take a walk. It truly does take approximately 20 minutes after eating to feel full. So give yourself that time before you go back for more. Chances are you really aren’t still hungry.
Implementing even one strategy from this list will help cut back on your caloric intake. Why don’t you challenge yourself this week and see if you can focus on 2 things from this list? Of course, I also would like you to stay active or get active this week too. We’ve got some warmer weather headed out way, get outside and enjoy it 🙂