Avoid Winter Stress & Weight Gainby Marvin Wilkerson on 12/07/15
You know how easy it is for people put on weight during the winter. And you tend to put on more weight if you’re already overweight. “Although seasonal weight gain varies from person to person, there are surveys that show an average of a five to seven pound gain in weight in the winter” according to founder and director of the John Hopkins Weight Management Center Lawrence Cheskin, MD.
The most annoying aspect of this winter weight gain is that it tends to remain with you even after the winter where it becomes difficult to lose the weight after the winter. Lack of physical exercise, overindulging during the holidays and comfort eating are the primary reasons people put on weight during the winter.
Also, during the winter, there are shorter days and cold weather. People can feel they undergo so much stress or boredom during the winter which makes it easy not to engage in physical activity. Depression can easily follow the holidays promoting overeating as well as undereating. If you remain indoors, there is a possibility to keep pacing between the kitchen and the family room eating high-calorie sweets and snacks looking for comfort and escape from the boredom.
Use these sample ideas to keep yourself from falling into the rut that can take a spring and summer to recoup. If you ever do!
Keep on moving
Understanding our brain is hardwired in our modern day just as our Neanderthal ancestors. You think they sat around during the winter months? They didn’t have refrigerators or pantry’s to store food. So body movement is programmed in our brain and during the fall and winter may decide to beef up to survive until the spring and summer. So you should avoid using winter as an excuse to remain at home without physical activity. You should endeavour to stay physically active during the winter to maintain the weight and minimize stress. Whether it’s exercise at the gym, or some equipment at home like our ancestors it requires movement to maintain your weight and a good mental attitude during the winter. Equipment ideas include jump ropes, free weights, resistance band, kettle ball, stability ball, etc. and it’s not a crime or unhealthy to dress up and take a breezy walk. Nothing like a sunny crisp day. Just don’t allow the winter stress to prevent you from physical activity. As well, there’s nothing like focused activity to keep us out of the doldrums, stress or depression.
Going to the store for groceries?
You should not get into the rut of ordering food for convenience via home delivery; you should go out to get it from the store. Not only that, you have a better chance of knowing what you’re getting. Definitely park so you have to walk. Don’t mind how bitterly cold it is out there. Do the grocery shopping the way you would do it at any time of the year. This will give you an opportunity to get some pounds off as it acts as a form of mild physical activity
Don’t store the bike or put off a healthy walk
Biking in the winter is one of the best things you can do. A bike ride or even a walk around the neighbourhood or a park can burn quite a few calories. Not only that simply seeing and being around people is a great mental stimulation the brain is geared for as well. We are social animals and very visual. So this stimulus can be very beneficial and keep our minds active with ideas and visualizations concerning our own lives. It’s pretty tough to be depressed or stressed out when the mind has positive stimulation.
Avoid heavy meals
It’s not going to be easy to rid yourself of the calories because of less activity. Ask yourself, “How many calories do I need in a more sedentary lifestyle?” Eating too many calorie adds to your weight even if you think you haven’t eaten too much. Your fist is your stomach, how much does it need? Stop eating because it tastes good. Eat to live well by eating healthy with correct portions for you. Meat protein should never be more than 4 oz. at a time. Therefore, instead of eating heavy meals or too many calories, you should eat fibre-rich vegetables, meatless proteins and grains. Think of our ancestors, a few berries or fruit several times day kept them lean and able to defend themselves to survive. We all need a mind-set “we eat to survive.” That’ll slow you down from the second plate! And if you do overeat, don’t betray your habits and routines, simply cut out a few calories over the next few days while adding some extra exercise.
Remember to have fun
The main reason we call this a festive season is be around, see people and celebrate. We don’t go to parties to eat! So be aware of why your there and focus on that. Let’s not forget, one bad meal once a week is not going to cause over weight. But not enjoying your self can lead to more stress, worry or even depression which can cause you to consistently over eat while eating junk food to find nurturance.
Maintain your skincare and body routines
You should take good care of your skin at this time of the year. Even better focus on your hygiene as you pamper yourself. Makes you feel good. Hard to be stressed when you’re loving on yourself and relaxing. (As a matter of fact it’s impossible) Moisturizers should prevent hard winter conditions. Also, ensure that you use sunscreen daily all through the season. Take some time at the saloon or take care of the car or other routines that bring little joys into your life. It’s the little things that can bring big pleasures.
Do not avoid a good bath at least a couple times a week during the winter season. Take a good bath after the day’s activities at work and relax with a gentle music. A little Epson salt, some smelly stuff, that’s the kind of relaxation that lets you become an observer of life for a nice reality check. The simple pleasures. And if it’s after work in the evening, a small glass of wine, oh my, you’re pretty close to heaven.
Get out of town
During the winter, everyone needs a dose of nature. You should go around the city or out of town. Take a break and visit places. If you cannot make it out of work, you should make good use of the weekends. There will certainly be a change in your health and stress level after this change in environment. A lunch or dinner in the next city over is a delightful way to spend some time with important people. A little catching up with what’s going on with somebody else. A great objective to take your mind off yourself. (Pretty hard to be overly stressed thinking about doing for others.) Just listening!
Have a cup of herbal tea
This should be warm, and it is good at all ages to drink herbal tea. There many herbal teas that help with body function and health. Teas to improve sleep, digestion, energy, mood and the list can go on and on. No house should be without St. John’s Wort, a tea to snip depression before it takes over. (The number 1 prescription for depression in France.) Teas are an excellent way to get enough hydration and with positive health results.
Get nutty with your dishes
Your holiday recipes should incorporate nuts. Not only are they a great source of protein but also magnesium and essential fatty acids. They also provide you with the fibre you need forming the bulk in your diet. Raw nuts should be used whenever possible for the healthier benefits. Cook them yourself then eat them. You don’t need the salt or rancid oil found in so many canned nuts.
Do make soups
Homemade vegetable soups should be frequently eaten. This is a healthy, nutritious and ensures you take it warm. When you do this, it gives you control over what you eat. You decide what amount of each ingredient that make up the vegetable soup you eat. The sodium content of your food can be monitored. Good vegetable soup can be filling, maintains a good healthy you.
Get to bed earlier
At this time of the season, the days are very short, and people become fatigued faster than ever. Therefore, going to bed early makes you less fatigued and wake up feeling refreshed. Lack of proper sleep is no. 1 on the list for weight gain. Without proper sleep the body recognizes it and produces chemicals which make you hungry. So you eat more. Lack of sleep is a major cause of stress. Cherry juice, yogurt, chamomile tea are excellent for preparing you for sleep. Eating your largest protein 2 - 3 hours before bedtime will promote the body to rest.
Stretch when you wake up
Ensure that you engage in a little stretching when you wake up in the morning. This is essential as it prepares you for the day and makes you relax. It helps to reduce tension and stress and at the same time, keeps you alert and not falling asleep. It gets you focused to take on the day.
Go easy on the coffee
Taking a few cups of coffee early in the morning when you wake up will prevent morning lethargy. Also, it is important to have breakfast with adequate diet followed by fruits. These helps you to prepare for the day as you will remain active and feel less stress. Switch to tea later on.
Go out and get your lunch every once in a while
It is important to prepare your lunch and take to work, but it is also important to always take a walk from the office during lunch time to nearby places to remain fit and active. If you do not have your lunch in the office, it is advisable to walk down to a spot you will take your lunch. Any movement away from the environment allows you to let down. Gives you a moment to ponder and relax. This will re-energize you for the rest of your day. Of course the fresh air is revitalizing too.
Finally, let’s not forget about nutrition. I highly recommend a vitamin B supplement. Vitamin B’s is what helps the body combat stress. St. John’s Wart is very effective for some people to combat melancholy or even depression. My favourite way to get St. John’s Wart is through a tea. Another highly important vitamin is Vitamin D. Naturally coming through sunshine, hard to find in the winter, the lack of this vitamin reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage – so calories you consume are stored in fat cells rather than being used for energy. Numerous studies show low levels of vitamin D in the overweight and obese. You can boost your vitamin D levels by eating more oily fish.