If the cold winter weather keeps you inside, you may find yourself dreading the unwanted weight gain that often comes with inactivity and eating more high-calorie foods. Don’t get discouraged — instead use these strategies to keep off those extra pounds.
Enjoy more fruits and vegetables. Filling half your plate with fruits and veggies helps you feel full while eating fewer calories so you won’t be as tempted by high fat, sugar-laden options. You’ll also benefit from vitamins and minerals that can boost your body’s immune system.
Watch your portions. Eating smaller portions lets you enjoy those holiday favorites without feeling deprived.
Learn something new. Enrolling in a class to learn a new skill or hobby keeps you busy and active. This can boost your mood and help you avoid boredom and mindless snacking in front of the TV. And you may even make some new friends.
Drink more water. Increasing your intake of H2O hydrates your body and is a healthier alternative to sugar-laden drinks that are high in calories.
Bring it inside
When it’s too dark or too cold for outdoor activities, bring your exercise indoors. Remember to speak to your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program. You can burn calories and increase your coordination, flexibility and fitness levels with a variety of indoor activities. You can benefit from activities such as:
- Aerobic exercise to raise your heart rate. Try mall walking, jumping rope or following along to a dance or Zumba® DVD. If you have access to a fitness facility, sign up for a class or try swimming, playing tennis or joining a basketball league.
- Weight training to build muscle. At home, try crunches, pushups, resistance bands or lifting 2-pound hand weights. If you join a fitness center, schedule time with a trainer to learn how to work exercise equipment or the proper technique for lifting free weights.
Need some motivation?
You can find free help online with the Body Weight Planner from the National Institutes of Health. The program creates calorie and activity plans to help you lose weight within a set time frame and maintain your goal weight. SuperTracker works with the Body Weight Planner, creating a personalized meal plan based on your results. Use this tool from the Department of Agriculture to track your food intake, physical activity and weight. It also offers tips and support to help you succeed.
Tools you can use:
- Body Weight Planner — supertracker.usda.gov/bwp
- SuperTracker — supertracker.usda.gov