Try to Maintain, Rather than Gain this Holiday Season

December 9, 2019

Winter with all of its festivities and chilly weather driving up our appetites; can be a challenging time for the weight conscious. For many, seasonal weight gain seems inevitable and even as the weather gets warmer, the additional weight seems to stick around. Let me reassure you: there is no mandatory weight gain every year!



Do you ever find yourself falling into any of these patterns during the holidays?



Enhanced Desire to Eat

Many people find that with the abundance of delicious foods available they tend to eat more. This is the time when pot lucks are popular, sweet snacks are brought into the office from baking weekends, and parties around every corner are filled with cheese platters and alcohol. Please keep in mind is that mammals tend to get hungrier during the winter due to a biological response to the cold. Also, large spreads of food can be very challenging since our ‘feast or famine’ cues will kick in; the big thing to remember is that as unfortunate as it is: you can’t out-smart 300,000 years of evolution. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy some treats (since life is short and the concept of willpower and desire are not compatible); but try and portion out servings and monitor the actual amount you are eating and drinking.



Lack of Exercise and Fewer Minor Calorie-Burning Activities

We can blame many components of the winter season for our lack of activity: lack of sunlight, chilly mornings, ice and snow, and general winter blues. Plus, all of the little calorie burning chores that add up during the summer are done; such as walking to and from work on nice days, washing the car, and warm evenings at the park. Clearly, it’s easy to skip your morning run due to fear of ice, and pass up an evening walk due to lack of visibility; but rather than focusing on what we are ‘lacking’ try and focus on what we can do instead. Does your residence have an indoor pool, track, or fitness center? Are there any community-based recreational activities you can take part in such as co-ed volleyball or local bowling leagues?



If you are finding yourself in any of these ruts, think of the things you can do to change them or prevent them from becoming a new normal; complacency has no place in your dynamic world! Remember, inactivity and over-eating is the recipe for weight gain and you can do something to prevent it. Try starting this season by weighing in, and doing so on a weekly basis. Keep track of what your weight is up to! Maintain, don’t gain!

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