I probably should have posted this before Thanksgiving but for me the month of December is the hardest. All month there seem to be temptations everywhere: peppermint bark, holiday cookies, pecan and pumpkin pie, etc. Plus, the days are getting so much colder and shorter. We had a nice little dusting of snow on Thanksgiving and since then the temperature seems to keep dropping. Though it looks like this will be a relatively mild winter, much like last winter, it’s still cold enough that getting up the motivation to hit the gym is that much harder. Less sunlight means more cravings for carbs. In short, it’s a lot harder not to pack on some pounds.
While I hate to be all self-help-y, I know I’ve found it helpful to read other people’s tips. Here are mine:
Give Yourself Permission to Snack But Not Binge
All year round this is basically my motto but it’s especially important through this month. I can let myself have a small slice of pie, a modest piece of peppermint bark, or a nice size Christmas cookie without guilt. I just have to be sure to stop at one and not neglect to include those points/calories in my daily count. You can have a treat a day without gaining weight as long as you’re mindful that you don’t overdo it. During this season, it’s better to let yourself have a few sweet treats instead of making yourself feel deprived.
Enjoy Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
The cooler it gets, the more I want to eat warm savory foods. It’s tempting to start making more pasta dishes and other heavier entrees. Many of the best seasonal fruits and vegetables are delicious when roasted such as all varieties of squash, apples and pears. Roasted broccoli and carrots are also good. I’m finding it to be important to intentionally include a hefty side of these seasonal vegetables and fruits with a meal. This Autumn Butternut Squash Salad has become a favorite for lunch. I’ve also been thinking that a low sugar cobbler with a light topping of oats would make a perfect low calorie dessert/snack.
This is really the hardest for me. I feel like there is no good reason to get up before the sun rises when I don’t absolutely have to. Braving the cold in my workout clothes isn’t a very inviting idea. I’ve found it helpful to find workouts that I can do in the comfort of my room. If I really feel the need to get the gym, I remind myself that working out will make me warmer (since I’m practically always cold now, this is pretty motivating). When I make plans with friends, I also try to intentionally get in more exercise. Like making extra laps around the mall, always taking the stairs and being willing to take part in festive activities like ice skating.
Keep Counting Those Points/Calories
Since Halloween I know I’ve been less and less motivated to keep track of my Weight Watchers points. I think it’s partially due to the natural lethargy that comes with this change of season. Also, because I hate seeing how many points a piece of pecan pie is. But I know that, if I want to keep weight off, I have to hold myself accountable. This is the time of year when my body is really working against me. When it keeps telling me that I’m hungry even though I’ve had my fair share of calories. The only way to keep my weight stable is for me to keep track of what I’m eating so I know when I’ve hit that limit and I need to drink some tea or a large glass of water to appease those deceptive hunger pangs.
What works for you?