Most of us have post-holiday/pre-spring weight loss goals. Perhaps the hardest thing about packing on the inevitable holiday pounds is the fact that mother nature is stacking the deck against us as we’re trying to shed them. Cold weather and shorter days means we’re less active and more likely to be snuggled up in front of the TV with some comfort food. Luckily there’s time to reverse this trend before spring arrives and we can no longer hide our extra winter layer under winter layers.
The key to rapid weight loss and keeping those extra pounds at bay is identifying how your eating and exercise habits change over the winter months. It may sound silly, but what you wear can make a difference. If you tend to spend more time indoors lounging in sweats, it takes longer for you to notice your waistband is getting tighter. Make a point of wearing fitted clothes on a regular basis. Whether or not you can button your favorite jeans is often a better way to gauge your weight gain than obsessing over the scale.
While you’re at it, take note of how much more time you’re spending indoors and inactive than you do during warmer months. Even if you’re snowed in, you can always find a YouTube video or an app to work out with. Do something active every day to get your blood circulating and metabolism going. Interval or HIIT workouts are shorter and more intense so they will keep you burning calories long after you exercise. Exercise is good for your body and it’s also an effective mood elevator.
Which brings us to another reason why winter weight loss is so tough. It gets dreary with less sunlight and frigid weather. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is at its height right now and depression makes you crave comfort foods like sugar and anything fried. Consider getting a light therapy box to replace those rays and stimulate vitamin D production. Principal investigator in a recent study by the Endocrine Society, Dr. Stephanie Sisely, MD reports: “Vitamin D is never going to be the silver bullet for weight loss, but it may work in combination with strategies we know work, like diet and exercise.”
Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is the best way to maintain your figure and get all of the nutrients you need. Some experts believe that monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), found in foods like nuts and avocados, actually help you metabolize the bad fat. The Flat Belly Diet is based on eating a certain amount of MUFAs with each meal to promote fullness and obliterate belly fat.
Cooler temperatures and drier air often leave us more dehydrated than we realize. This can actually make you feel hungrier so drink plenty of water throughout the day to detox, feel fuller and watch the pounds melt away.
Finally, you’ve probably heard it a million times, but eating a healthy breakfast gives you energy, fuels you through the day. and makes you less tempted to snack on empty calories during that mid-afternoon slump. Nothing beats a bowl of oatmeal or a cup of yogurt (with active cultures for the probiotics) when you’re aiming for rapid weight loss.