That dreaded winter weight gain. It’s a common problem—people tend to pack on a few pounds during the winter months.
Now’s the time to fight back. Let’s get after this now, while winter is still in full force. We’ll have less to deal with when the warm breezes start blowing! Although winter weight gain varies from person to person, research shows the average gain to be five to seven pounds!
So, why does winter weight gain happen? According to Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, it happens because we eat more and move less during the winter months (1).
Since spring is not that far out, now is the time to take action. We can do something about it. We don’t have to greet spring with softer middles and tighter clothes.
Here is 3 ways to get the process going and build discipline to keep at it.
According to Merriam-Webster, discipline is a “rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity(2).” This is perfect. In order to fight winter weight gain, we have to discipline ourselves to follow some rules.
Here we go…
1. Banned language that does not serve you: For the next several weeks, do not allow yourself to say, “Just this once.” If you pay close attention, a “just this once” situation comes up practically every day in our lives. This type of statement elevates the need to make healthier choices. For instance, you’re on the other side of town where your favorite restaurant is. You may find yourself saying “Just this once.” A friend invites you to lunch, “Just this once.” Your co-worker brings doughnuts. You have to catch these inner thoughts and say no to them every single time. Otherwise, you will never get ahead.
When you encounter this inner self-talk situation, you must challenge them. Think about your “WHY,” Why did you decide to improve your health or lose weight. Also, sometime you just got to grit your teeth, resist what others are having or inviting you to have and make good food choices. I’m not saying it is easy. I am saying it is necessary.
Your goal is to exercise disciple at the moment of choice.
2. Plan your occasional splurge, and do not deviate from the plan. Unending deprivation is never a good idea, but you have to be intentional about the time, place and food that you let yourself splurge on.
Love the hot wings at your favorite restaurant? Then let’s make a deal. Eat clean for seven days. No cheating. And then at the end of those ten days, go have the wings. Guilt free. Just enjoy them. Then set the next goal. But you are not allowed to deviate from your plan in the meantime. If you do, you lose the wings.
Don’t waste your fun calories on something that doesn’t compare to those wings!
3. Keep moving. Decide today that exercise is not an optional activity. You need to get your body in motion. Not only for weight loss but cardiovascular health. For lifelong mobility. The body is designed to move. There should not be any other discussion here.
Exercise is scientifically proven to be effective at preventing weight gain—and that is what we’re after right now. Don’t even worry so much about losing pounds; just work to keep the winter scale-creep from happening to you. Try to get some cardio in at least five to six days a week. Resistance training two to three days a week. Set a regular exercise schedule and get it in. If you’re inactive now, start with doing some type of exercise at lest three day a week.
Remember: spring is not far away. Let’s be ready for it, and leave winter weight gain behind.