Winter weight gain is all too real. Whether it’s subconscious or conscious, we make a decision to loosen the reins. You know, first comes Halloween. Next up, Thanksgiving — and you’re making pies & cakes. People are bringing food over. You’ve got leftovers for days! Then, there are the holiday parties! Friends (but are they really friends?) send you chocolates and gifts with fancy pastries. Intentions aside, it’s tradition. And, in many ways, it’s amazing. All that said, temptation is everywhere! Combine that with living in your cute/big/comfy winter clothes and, yeah, it’s easy to pack on the pounds over the cold months.
Before we get into the how, it’s important to know the why. So, I’m going to throw in some science for a hot second.
We eat more in the winter months because we’re hardwired to do so. This is the season, going back through history, when food was most scarce. It came down to, bottom line, availability of resources. Our ancestors didn’t have crops to harvest. They were simply trying to survive winter months.
You’ve heard the term comfort food, right? Now, we think of comfort food as things that aren’t necessarily good for us and/or our go-to’s that make us feel better when we’re feeling blue. But, comfort foods also describe foods that take care of our health. For instance, foods that are higher in fat, hearty, and keep us full longer.
So instead of fighting our biology, pay attention to it.
Tip 1: Don’t buy foods that tempt you.
Oreos are sitting in your pantry. And you’ve purposely placed them on the back top shelf behind the 5 year old canned soup so as to never be tempted. But, guess what? You’re human. Weak moments are going to strike. Why set yourself up for failure?
Tip 2: Buy healthy versions of your fave foods.
Speaking of weak moments striking… prepare better. If there’s a healthy version of your favorite snack — satisfying your carb craving, but without any inflammatory ingredients — you’ll feel much better after succumbing to those pesky cravings.
Tip 3: Decline social gatherings from time to time.
Don’t put yourself in positions where you’re surrounded by foods you don’t normally eat and there’s NO WAY OUT. Politely decline half the parties you’re invited to. Whether it’s holiday stuff, office shindigs, birthdays, etc. Do you really need to go to all those parties, anyway?
Tip 4: Schedule your workouts in advance.
Winter is the time of year when everyone stops working out because everyone else has stopped working out. Your friends fall off the wagon, so you tend to fall off the wagon. But, I am here to tell you what you already know and that is this: Do not put off exercise when you are stressed. That is when you need it the most. I know it’s cold in the morning and your bed is so comfy. But get up and go because you’re going to feel a bajillion times better.
Tip 5: Wear more form-fitting clothes.
Sure, it’s super fun to throw on a scarf and a big chunky sweater all winter — feeling all cozy and such. But wearing our mean jeans, as I like to call them, every other week, keeps us on point. Because, you know, if you go months without wearing them… you’ll swear someone shrunk them in the dryer!
If you found these 5 tips helpful, you’ll LOVE my podcast, “How To Avoid Cold Weather Weight Gain” on The Chalene Show! Not only do I share more tips, but I reveal how my husband, Bret, cured joint pain though fasting. Plus, I offer suggestions on how to handle family dynamics when your diet is restricted and theirs isn’t. Oh, and I’ll give some pointers on proper food etiquette when attending parties. Honestly, how could you NOT listen! Curl up with your oversized sweater and skinny jeans (ha!) and hit that play NOW!