Don’t wait until winter is over to spring clean your diet.
Try these tips to avoid winter weight gain by staying active and eating well during even the coldest months.
As our friends up north prepare for shorter days and cooler weather, those of us in the southern hemisphere are looking forward to summer.
This year, I really am looking forward to my favourite season. That wasn’t the case last year, when the prospect of exposing my winter padding to the world had me running for cover.
The worst part was, I had nobody to blame but myself. Instead of adhering to the advice I’ve laid out below, I spent five months on the couch drinking red wine and veggie burgers from Knead.
Unfortunately, it soon became evident that thinking about eating well and exercising doesn’t count. It turns out you actually have to do those things if you want to avoid winter weight gain.
What I should have done was head into winter with my game face on, ready to tackle whatever the cold weather had to throw at me. Instead, I saw it as an excuse to eat like a bear preparing to hibernate.
I suffered the consequences of my actions with an overall feeling of heaviness and clothes that looked as if they’d shrunk in the wash (if only). Luckily for you, avoiding a similarly uncomfortable fate isn’t that hard.
All it takes is a few adjustments to your habits and mindset. Yes, it does require a little self-restraint, but it’s worth the effort. After all, you can’t wear a onesie to the beach.
Reframe How You View Cold Weather
For Jill Homer —extreme adventurer and author of Into the North Wind —winter represents a playground of opportunity. For the rest of us, it’s a sign to stock up on family-size bags of M&Ms and batten down the hatches.
Cycling a thousand miles across Alaska for fun is a little nuts, but then again, exiling oneself to the couch for months on end isn’t that smart either. For one thing, it won’t help you in your mission to survive winter without gaining weight.
Look what happened to me.
What you need to do is find a way to view the season in a more favourable light. Look for the good stuff winter has to offer. It could be going on an invigorating walk with friends or ice-skating with the kids. Maybe it’s a solo hike to blow out the cobwebs after a long day at the office.
When you’re happy, you’ll be less inclined to seek out comfort food to make yourself feel better. Having a bunch of stuff you really enjoy doing in the winter months is a great way to keep those happiness levels elevated.
And you out of the snack cupboard.
Nothing Tastes as Good as Thin Feels
It’s true. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. No matter how amazing those burgers tasted at the time (and they were delicious), it wasn’t enough to offset the fog of pudgy lethargy I experienced at the end of winter.
Rather than use winter as an excuse to consume everything in sight, see it as a challenge to welcome summer in even better shape than you are right now.
Please send some photos so I can be inspired when my turn rolls around again.
Spring Clean Your Diet like a Boss with These Tips
Spring cleaning your diet isn’t simply a case of tossing out all your old favorites and replacing them with a bunch of underwhelming staples. In fact, opting for the all-or-nothing approach will soon have you reverting to your old ways.
Instead, focus on outsmarting the season by instituting a few small-but-beneficial adjustments to your eating habits.
1. Ditch the Processed Foods
Processed foods are high in sugar and full of dodgy ingredients you shouldn’t be eating anyway. Instead, make a point of cooking from scratch. When you make your own food you control what goes into it.
Plus, there’s something really rewarding about preparing a meal together as a family. If you’re single, you can always get together with friends.
2. Delay Gratification
When you’re feeling unhappy, it’s easy to make excuses about your eating habits. But constantly ‘rewarding’ yourself with tasty treats takes away from the overall enjoyment.
Whereas, when you delay gratification and only allow yourself the occasional treat, it becomes something to look forward.
3. Eat More Plant-Based, Whole Foods
By eating a plant-based diet with plenty of whole foods, you’re loading your body with the nutrients it really needs. This eliminates cravings and helps avoid the hunger pangs that invariably arrive an hour after tucking into a drive-thru cheeseburger.
These are just some of the ways you can spring clean your eating habits, there are plenty of other things you can do, such as cutting back on salt and sugar, avoiding drinks that dehydrate you and adding probiotics to your diet.
However, it’s important to remember that surviving winter starts in the mind, not the fridge. Waiting until it’s warm out is only going to compound matters. Start building small habits now, and you’ll reap the benefits come spring.