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  • Carol Michaels

Preventing Weight Gain In The Winter

If you have a tendency to gain weight during the winter, it’s important for you to figure out what factors contribute to this tendency, and then plan accordingly. Weight gain is a real concern. Our lifestyles are sedentary and our obesity rate is increasing. Those extra pounds acquired over the winter may stay with you and increase yearly. If every year you gain 5 to 10 pounds, in just 5 years it can lead to obesity. Obesity increase our chances of developing chronic disease. People gain weight during the winter months for different reasons. Changes in behavior can lead to health benefits.

Holidays can mean more food, dessert, and alcohol. Holidays parties can lead you to overeat which can result in weight gain. If your weight gain tends to come during the holiday season you need an eating and exercise plan. Come up with a plan for staying active. Think about factors that have made exercise during the holiday season difficult in the past. Try to come up with some creative solutions to these barriers, then schedule them into your calendar the same way you schedule parties, meetings and family gatherings.

If the holidays create excess stress for you, think of ways to reduce it. Exercise is the best stress-reducer around, and stress reduction is one of the best reasons to stay active. Getting enough sleep is essential, focusing on your priorities and eliminating low-priority activities if you are too busy. Make time for those activities that give the holidays meaning, and that provide pleasure and opportunities to be with people you enjoy.

Many people experience mild to moderate winter depression. Severe winter depression, known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is marked by depressed mood, sleeping more than usual, increased appetite, cravings for sweets and carbohydrates, and weight gain. If depression is a problem for you, talk to your healthcare provider. They may recommend some form of light therapy, which relieves winter depression in many people. Exercise can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. People who experience winter depression can try combining exercise and light therapy by exercising outdoors when time and weather permit.

Include occasional small portions of holiday treats that you really love, but balance this by eating more prudently at other meals. Avoid munching and drinking out of control. Do not go to parties on an empty stomach or you will be starving and overeat. If you drink alcohol, keep your consumption reasonable.

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