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On to the first post!
I want to talk a little bit about taking care of yourself during the holiday season. I think one thing that trips most people up, whether they recognize it or not, is the time change. For us in the South, days are drastically shorter, temperatures much colder, and there seems to be much more time (and much more inclination) to sit around and just…nibble. If you’re trying to control your weight over the dark winter months, this time when the sun goes down around 6 & you’ve parked it in front of the TV or computer can be a major hazard. Luckily, I am going to outline 5 ideas for keeping you trim through the holidays.
1. Only keep the healthy snacking foods around. Out with the Doritos or pretzels & in with the berries or air-popped popcorn. If you are truly being driven to your wit’s end when it comes to snacking during the winter, at least snack on stuff that is going to do minimal damage; in the case of blueberries or strawberries, you may even be doing yourself a favor by adding those anti-oxidant rich foods into your diet.
2. The simplest and most obvious is to just get out of the house. Get up, get moving! Take your loving dog on a walk, take your loving significant other with you, listen to your favorite podcast or whatever you need to do. Removing yourself from the situation of mindless night-time snacking is the objective. Make sure if you are walking alone at night you stay in well-lit areas, take your phone, only put one ear-bud in, and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Safety first.
3. Close the kitchen. This is a pretty popular strategy for those of us with late-night snacking habits. I make dinner around 6/6:30, eat, and then immediately go back in and (because I have the luxury of a small kitchen & no children) clean the space top to bottom. All of the dishes go in the dishwasher, pans get scrubbed, counter-tops wiped, and lights get turned out. The kitchen is effectively ‘closed’ for the night. This puts up a pretty effective mental barrier that no more access to the kitchen is allowed for the night.
4. Mini Work-out. Sometimes distraction can be the best technique for success in these meVSmyself situations. I either slip in a workout or yoga DVD, do exercises (push ups, planks, mountain climbers) during commercials, or do the deck of cards workout. The deck of cards workout is easy– just assign an exercise to each suit (clubs=pushups, spades=situps, diamonds=squats, hearts=burpees) and start pulling cards! An 8 of hearts, for example, would be 8 burpees. Continue until you’re either out of cards or out of energy. Beware the self-reward path, however! If you tend to reward yourself after exercise, this may not the best route for you to follow if you know you’ll wind up in the kitchen with a spoon in the peanut butter afterward.
5. Get a hobby. A good cure for the snack-attack is to just occupy those hands. You can take up quilting, knitting, sketching, painting, blogging, anything to take your hands and mind away from the kitchen. Hell, even cleaning might be a good idea to distract you from the munchies.
There you have it! 5 quick ideas to try to soften the blow of those shorter days & longer opportunities for munching. If you have other ideas that have helped you avoid extra calories in the fall and winter evenings, post below!