Is it the darkness, coldness, or the enhanced desire to hibernate…definitely all of the above!
The darker, shorter days can definitely makes us feel lethargic and more sedentary. The lack of exercise due to inclement weather, or darkness can certainly dampen our active routines. Also, depending on where you live, the absence of vitamin D from the sun can increase weight gain by hindering fat breakdown and increasing fat storage. Extra indoor time can also lead to increased snacking or over-eating on the wrong foods!
Here are 5 solutions to combat the winter weight gain, you can start right away!
- Have an indoor plan for exercise--Get Moving! Put a plan together of when, and what you are going to do to keep active. There are many phone apps, you-tube videos, and DVD’s to keep you moving at home when the weather or darkness kicks in, or you can join the many mall walkers (just try locking your purse in the car to stay focused on walking instead of shopping). Have a goal of including 30 minutes 5 days per week!
- Keep the cravings out of the house! Snack on citrus fruits which can strengthen your immune system to fight illness throughout the winter. Peppers are also a good source of vitamin c along with tomatoes, and kiwi.
- Discuss taking vitamin D3 with your doctor. Most of us need a boost in winter so taking 1000-2000 IU can fill the need daily. Also, include foods that include vitamin D like fatty fish (salmon, tuna, halibut) , milk, yogurt, egg, and fortified foods.
- Get enough Sleep! Don’t fight the feeling, your body needs at least 7 hours per night. Sleep rejuvenates, energizes, and replenishes the body. It is also known to keep our metabolism up, and fight food cravings. Get those ZZZ’s!
- Make Soups! They are warm, comforting, and delicious! Keep them healthy by using broth based options with extra vegetables, and protein to fill you up. Skip the noodles and add beans for an extra protein plus fiber boost! Most soups make enough for extra to use for lunch or dinner the next day. Make your own on the weekend when you have more time, and enjoy it throughout the week! Check out my favorite soup recipe below...
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 organic red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper (to taste)
8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 can (14 oz./398 ml) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 cans (14 oz./398 ml each) no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup organic corn kernels, thawed
4 cups lightly packed organic baby spinach
1 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
Fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and red pepper, sauté for two to three minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in six cups broth, and the tomatoes, bring to a boil. Stir in the beans, and corn. Boil gently, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the remaining broth, the spinach, jalapeno pepper, lime zest and juice. Remove from the heat. (Add extra broth and lime juice to adjust consistency and acidity to taste if desired). Garnish with fresh coriander (if using).
Makes eight servings. Enjoy!