How to Successfully Fight Weight Gain This Winter
Autumn and winter hold challenges to those striving to lose weight. Once the colder weather settles in, we’re tempted to hibernate indoors with our hot chocolate and holiday treats. The temptation to indulge in sweets begins with Halloween candy, and then continues with Thanksgiving Dinner and holiday goodies. How many of us have quit our weight loss journey from October to December, silently promising ourselves to pick back up come New Year’s?
On average, adults in the US gain one pound every holiday season. For those who are already overweight (with a BMI that is higher than 25), the weight gain is closer to 7 pounds every season. Most adults never lose this additional weight.
So what can you do differently this season to make sure you keep those pounds off? Many patients have worked so hard to achieve their current weight, so what can you do to prevent those pounds from creeping back on?
Address the Sugar Cravings
During the holidays, we often crave sugar upon the mere sight of delicious pumpkin desserts, savory Thanksgiving dishes, Christmas cookies, and more. For some people, pictures of food alone can stimulate their appetite. Since end-of-the-year holidays are big on marketing food, most posters are filled with temptations!
Refined sugars (and carbohydrates) are responsible for most weight gain. To satiate these sugar cravings, focus on naturally sweet fruits and vegetables. You can try baked beets, sweet potatoes, and steamed pumpkins and squash, which all have natural sugar. Most berries like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries taste sweet, so they’ll quench those sugar cravings, but they’re not too high in sugar like watermelon and pineapple.
Consider Joining a Weight Loss Program
A weight loss program can be extremely beneficial during the winter months. A physician-lead program offers pre-packaged, portion-controlled meals to help patients reach their goal weight. One study conducted by the Obesity Society reported that predetermined portion-controlled meals can contribute to greater weight loss than self-selected meal proportions.
The typical American diet often includes oversized meal proportions, which have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the US. Researchers from the Obesity Society have determined that when patients join an obesity intervention and prevention program, which includes behavioral counseling, they are given specific portion-sized lunches and entrees that help them attain their weight loss goals.
“The researchers found that when combined with behavioral counseling as part of a complete weight-loss intervention, a meal plan incorporating portion-controlled prepackaged, frozen lunch and dinner entrees can promote greater weight loss than a self-selected diet.” ~ The Obesity Society
In the end, approximately three-fourths (74%) of those who participated in the study had experienced a ≥5% weight reduction. Only 54% of those who were allowed to select their own meals achieved this success. The patients with the greater weight loss also experienced a decrease in the number of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, such as LCL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
Find the Perfect Sleep Schedule
Many people know a lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, but did you know too much sleep can also have the same effect? Believe it or not, it is possible to sleep too much. Some studies indicate a direct correlation between too little/too much sleep and Type 2 Diabetes. US adults are recommended to get an average (but consistent) 7-9 hours of sleep. Less than 5 hours of sleep and more than 8 each night can contribute to weight gain.
What with the longer nights during the colder months, it’s easy for our bodies to think it’s time for sleep and relaxation. We feel sluggish, like our bodies have entered hibernation mode. To help yourself stay committed to your goals, try to fall asleep not long after it becomes dark aside and wake up before the sunrise the next day. Some people strive to become “morning people” and suddenly find themselves to be ridiculously productive in the early hours of the day.
Don’t Give Up on Your Workouts
Despite the weather outside, we still need to burn off the extra calories we consume during the holidays. Don’t let your mind convince you that it’s impossible to exercise during the cold months. You can:
- Purchase some work-out DVDs that you can do in your own home
- Invest in workout equipment for your house
- Research body building exercises that use your bodyweight to build muscle
- Sign up for the gym – don’t wait for New Year’s!
- Bundle up and take a walk around the block, especially after a meal
- Find a rigorous activity you enjoy, like yoga, indoor water polo, or snowshoeing
- Go walking or jogging with a friend who can keep you accountable
Don’t let the colder months cheat you out of your own success. Stay true to your goals despite the temptations surrounding the holiday season. When New Year’s arrives, you won’t feel guilty about your performance. If you need a dedicated team to encourage you along the way, celebrate your progress, and keep you accountable, schedule a free consultation today and we’d happy to help!Tags: avoid weight gain, fight weight gain, fight winter weight gain, lost weight, maintain weight loss, prevent weight gain, weight management