During winter, the cold, short days often limit our exercise endeavors, and that unused energy is funneled instead into everyone’s favorite holiday pastime: eating. As such, many are resigned to wintertime weight gain. A merry Christmas — and five extra pounds — to all.
However, your waistline doesn’t have to expand this holiday season: A study found that participants were able to prevent weight gain merely by continuing to move and controlling hunger levels. With these two factors in mind, we’ve compiled the top ways to avoid gaining weight during winter.
Reduce Your Workout Length
This time of year can be hectic. Rather than skip your workout because of a party or other obligation, just shorten your workout session. Play hooky from the gym and opt for a quick home workout instead.
Take It Indoors
Snowy weather is a great incentive to try out new indoor workouts, such as yoga, indoor rock climbing, dancing, or even martial arts. If it gets your heart rate up, it counts as exercise!
Wear Your Fitness Tracker Consistently
We’re especially prone to inactivity in the winter, so this is a prime time to wear your fitness tracker. On days when a workout isn’t feasible, make reaching 10,000 steps your goal.
Celebrate by Moving, Not Eating
Instead of indulging in holiday desserts or sugary drinks, go ice skating or caroling with friends to celebrate the holidays. That way, when you partake in hot chocolate afterward, you’ll have earned it.
Protein balances blood sugar levels and helps you feel full for longer. Even in your snacks, try to include a minimum of 10 grams of protein.
Hydrate With Tea
According to research, three-fourths of Americans may be chronically dehydrated. Mistaking thirst for hunger is common, so drink lots of fluids to avoid munching unnecessarily. Sipping tea is a great way to stay both hydrated and warm.
Choose Smart Carbs
Many people swear off carbs when dieting, but carbs aren’t all bad. Most of your carbs should come from sources such as vegetables, beans, and dairy. Reserve starchy carbs — pasta, bread, rice, and the like — for after workouts, when your body needs them for recovery.
Don’t Starve Yourself
Skipping meals before a holiday party is always a bad idea. With a growling stomach, you won’t be able to moderate what you eat, and will likely overdo it. Eat normally throughout the day to avoid ravenously consuming more than you planned, and then regretting it just as quickly.
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