Sweaters that hide the extra pounds come out of boxes and our activity levels decrease dramatically as opportunities to get outside disappear. But even though society tells us this is OK, and even encourages bad eating habits during the winter time, it doesn’t have to be that way. This winter, I challenge you to continue to follow a few simple eating rules to see results instead of setbacks. Winter is the perfect time to really build a strong muscular foundation before the spring. And just in case you need one more reason, lean muscle tissue burns more calories than fat at rest, so you can sneak an extra Christmas cookie guilt-free.
First, remember that muscle needs protein to repair itself and grow stronger. Focus on eating protein-based foods instead of sugary treats to fuel your workouts. Not only will you have extra energy in the gym, but because protein will keep you feeling fuller longer than sweets, you’ll be less tempted to nosh on sugary snacks.
Second, embrace wintery vegetables. Although some of your summer favorites may be out of season (corn on the cob, anyone?), winter vegetables are rich in nutrients. Vegetables like pumpkin, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and broccoli are in-season. Try throwing pumpkin in your beef stew for added potassium, or make a broccoli-chicken stir-fry to get your daily value of cold-fighting Vitamin C.
Third, remember to always listen to your body before consuming food. If you don’t want an apple, you aren’t hungry — so put that piece of chocolate down. Winter is infamous for weight gain because people mindlessly eat out of boredom. The cold weather automatically makes us less active because it’s harder to be outside. Increased food intake paired with less activity equates to weight gain. Avoid the extra pounds this winter by only eating when you’re hungry and focusing on eating only what will fuel your body.
This winter, don’t forget these simple rules to avoid weight gain and continue to see results all-year round.Information provided by Julia Steggerda, Fitness World 24 – Downtown, 418 Sixth Ave., Suite 110, 288-1111.