Winter, with its holiday hoopla and abundance of comfort food, can make staying on the slim-down straight-and-narrow a bit of a challenge, to say the least. ‘Tis the season for temptation, right?
But the dropping temps don’t have to mean an expanding waistline―especially if you commit to a program like Nutrisystem, which takes the work out of weight loss.
Winterize your weight loss plan with these nine simple tips:
1. Eat Your Veggies
We know, we know, you’ve heard this one a thousand times. You already know that piling on the produce is associated with a whole slew of health benefits. But here’s something new: If you don’t like munching on veggies solo, you can sneak them into your favorite dishes for an added nutrient boost and to cut calories. In a study out of Penn State University, researchers provided subjects with two nearly identical entrees, one of which included “hidden” pureed vegetables. The participants who ate the hidden veggie version ended up eating fewer calories—in some instances, nearly 400 fewer—than their peers. These subjects also consumed more fiber, which might explain why they reported feeling just as full and satisfied as their peers in the control group. Trim-down takeaway: Try sneaking veggies into your sauces, soups, casseroles and smoothies for some extra nutrition and a “hidden” calorie cut.
2. Step Away from the Screen
Even though the cold weather makes working through lunch tempting, meal-time multi-tasking is a weight loss no-no. In a study published in 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects who ate lunch while playing solitaire on a computer reported feeling less full after lunch than their non-distracted peers. Those who ate while staring at the screen also consumed significantly more at a post-meal snack-time, suggesting that working through lunch or even eating in front of the TV might be to blame for those pesky extra pounds. Trim-down takeaway: Give the computer and TV the cold shoulder when meal-time rolls around to avoid mindless munching.
3. Warm Up to Cold Weather Activities
You don’t have to be a gym rat to torch calories this winter. You can work up a sweat doing everyday activities or, even better, having fun! According to the Calorie Control Council, a 150 pound woman can burn over 200 calories shoveling snow, ice skating, sledding or skiing for just one half hour. Trim-down takeaway: Don’t let the cooler temps intimidate you. Bundle up and get outside for some fun—and fitness.
4. Hit the Hay
Countless studies have suggested that getting inadequate amounts of sleep (fewer than 7 hours for adults) is a risk factor for obesity. Experts contend that when we burn the midnight oil, we may alter the hormones that control hunger, extend the amount of time we can spend chowing down, decrease our physical activity due to exhaustion, and reach for less healthy foods, among other things. Trim-down takeaway: Take advantage of winter’s early sunset and hit the sack in time to get a solid seven to eight hours of shut-eye.
5. Don’t Get Lost in Layers
It seems innocent enough: when the weather gets cold, we pack on more layers of clothing. But when sweater weather becomes an excuse to hide our bodies, we may start slacking in our slim-down efforts. Trim-down takeaway: Don’t use baggy winter clothing as an excuse to indulge. If you wouldn’t eat it before a summer beach trip, then you don’t need to eat it now! Keep yourself honest by skipping the elastic waistbands and baggy ponchos, and show off your progress in clothes that fit your frame.
6. Don’t Head Out Hungry
With all of the holiday hustle and bustle, it can be hard to stay on track—especially if you head to the festivities ravenous. Fill up on fruits, veggies and lean proteins before heading to holiday celebrations, and always offer to bring a healthy side dish or appetizer, so you have options if hunger hits when temptation abounds. Consider bringing back-ups―like a Nutrisystem bar or snack―in your purse or pocket just in case. Trim-down takeaway: Don’t rely on celebratory spreads to curb cravings. Opt for healthier options at home and then snack on fruits and veggies when party time arrives.
7. Track Your Intake and Activity
In a study of more than 1,600 overweight and obese adults, researchers from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research discovered that the more participants recorded their food intake, the more weight they lost. In fact, those who recorded their intake six or more days a week lost, on average, twice as much as non-trackers suggesting that by recording your intake this season, you’ll be more likely to come out of it unscathed. But don’t stop at tracking your food; a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at 26 studies involving more than 2,700 participants revealed a dramatic increase in physical activity in subjects who used a pedometer to track physical activity. Even sweeter? Pedometer users significantly reduced their body mass index and their blood pressure. Need help getting started? Check out NuMi, Nutrisystem’s free online tracking app! Trim-down takeaway: Tracking your food and exercise can help you make this your season of slimming!
One of the best things you can do to ward off weight gain this winter is to make sure you’re drinking enough water. In a study published in 2015 in the journal Obesity (Silver Springs), subjects who gulped 500 milliliters of water 30 minutes before a meal lost more weight than those who did not fill up on fluids. Another study published in 2005 in Obesity Research revealed that water drinkers, on average, consumed almost 200 fewer calories daily than their non-water-drinking peers. Trim-down takeaway: Sip your way slim before, during and after meals.
9. Schedule Weekly Weigh-Ins
Weighing yourself regularly is a great way to hold yourself accountable through the trim-down turbulence that is the holiday season. In a two-year study recently published in the Journal of Obesity, researchers found that frequent self-weighing and tracking results was helpful for losing weight―and keeping it off. Trim-down takeaway: Don’t let the changing season wreak havoc on your weigh-in routine. Weigh-in once a week, around the same time of day, and with the same amount of clothes on each time. Not getting the results you want? Let Nutrisystem help!