November is here and that means fall is in full swing with winter not too far behind. You know what that means? The start of hibernation season. Shorter days, cooler temps, and the abundance of food-related events (think football tailgating parties and the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s) leads to increased calorie intake and less exercise to offset it.
While most people have heard about the average five-pound weight gain during the holidays, research shows the average is actually only about one pound. The problem? That pound doesn’t get lost and over time adds up. That means we all need some tools to stay healthy and keep the weight off during these colder months leading into the holiday season.
It’s more important than usual to add exercise into your schedule and to do everything you can to ensure you follow through. That means setting a calendar reminder or your alarm to get you up from bed or away from your desk to engage in your exercise of choice. If mornings are the best time of day to get in your workout, be sure to go to sleep earlier than usual and set out your gym clothes the night before. Get a mid-day break at work? Pack your gym bag the night before and leave it by your door to grab on your way to the office.
As for what you eat, meal planning is key to making sure you have healthy, balanced meals on the table or in your lunchbox. Use those extra hours cuddling on the couch over the weekend to write down what you’re going to cook or buy for your weekly meals. Get some inspiration from my Menu Plan Monday series.
If you’re going to be spending more time indoors, make sure what’s on hand to eat is good for you. If you really want that pumpkin spice latte or slice of apple pie you’ll have to think twice about going out in the cold to get it. Instead, maybe you’ll snack on some almonds or fresh apple slices instead. Or if you have the ingredients on hand you can make your own healthier version like this Pumpkin Pie Spiced Coffee or Nostalgic Apple Pie.
Keep up with your exercise routine while staying home by taking advantage of what’s online. Just Google your favorite form of exercise and you’ll find YouTube videos you can follow along.
Women’s and men’s magazines like Shape and Men’s Fitness also have workout programs on their online sites and here’s a list of 50 free online workout resources. You can also join an online exercise program like Daily Burn – you pay a small monthly fee, but if it keeps you motivated it will be worth it.
Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and culinary nutrition expert. She has extensive experience as a recipe developer, writer, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities (Barron’s, 2011), past columnist for the Culinary Corner column in Today’s Dietitian Magazine, and maintains a popular blog at JessicaLevinson.com. Jessica is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and various Dietetic Practice Groups of the AND, including Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Food and Culinary Professionals, and Dietitians in Business and Communications. Follow her out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.