Winter Blues and Comfort Foods

Countering Winter Weight Gain

by Jen Kavanagh

During the long winter months, do you look for comfort, longing for warmer, sunny summer days? 

Many people turn to comfort foods full of fat and calories during this season. But when summer comes, and the shorts, tank tops and bathing suits come out, you may realize those comfort foods weren’t the best choices, as the scale has ticked up a bit and things are feeling a little tight. 

Here are some things you can do this winter to avoid weight gain, have high energy, and sail through the winter months.

  1. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love. Restriction and deprivation leads to binges.
  2. Don’t try a fad diet. These new diets promise amazing results, but most don’t deliver. Any fad diet promising quick weight loss usually results in gaining all the weight you lost back. They are not sustainable for the long term and real life.
  3. Eat whole foods that fill your body with nutrients to give you energy and keep you feeling full and happy.
  4. Live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of your food should be healthy whole foods, like lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. That leaves you with 20% of your total calories to come from fun foods and drinks, like chocolate cake or wine.
  5. Cook comfort foods at home. In this way, you have control over the quality of ingredients, as home-cooked food contains fewer calories than take-out and restaurant cooking. I always strive to improve upon the health factor of the recipes I cook with small healthy substitutions. There are lots of ways to reduce calories and fat by using more healthful ingredients and replacing the less healthy items.
  6. Track your food intake with an app like My Fitness Pal. You can also track your energy output with a device like a Fitbit. This helps a great deal with accountability and makes it easy to avoid weight gain by simply making sure you are expending more calories than you ingest.
  7. Get some exercise. Even if you don’t like to be outside in the cold, there are tons of great in-home videos and programs for very little money. The more you burn, the less likely you are to gain weight; you may even lose some.

Being consistent with a healthy diet will help you maintain great energy throughout your day as well as keep your weight in check, so when summer arrives, you’ll feel fabulous in those shorts and bathing suits.

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