Halt Fall Weight Gain

Fall is here in the Midwest and I’ll admit, I’m not as careful with my eating and exercise habits when the weather gets colder.  My healthy, fresh from the garden fruits, vegetables, herbs and grilled dinners are replaced with hot out of the oven, baked goods, casseroles, cookies and biscuits.  I’ll find myself steadily creeping towards a heavier winter weight, peak in February, and then refocus my eating and exercise habits so that I feel more “in shape” by Spring Vacation.  Each Spring I ask myself, “What if I didn’t gain that winter weight?  What if I maintained a reasonable eating and exercise baseline throughout the tailgate, holiday, dinner party season?”

While a 5-10 pound winter weight gain may not seem that significant, each year it becomes increasingly difficult, and takes a couple of weeks longer to regain my desired level of fitness.  In my college years I could meet my fitness goals by the spring break deadline.  Once kids arrived, I succeeded in achieving a “before school is out” deadline, and now that they’re teens , July 4th has become more realistic.

What if I halted the fall weight gain cycle?  This year I vow to retain my summer eating and exercise habits all winter long.  Here are my 3 SMART goals to help me be successful.

  1. Drink 1 cup of water with and between meals.  This will keep me energized and hydrated and prevent me from mistaking thirst for hunger.
  2. I will bring 2 servings of fresh fruit with me to work everyday.  Fruit is my downfall in the winter, often replaced by baked goods.  The fiber in fresh fruits will keep me feeling fuller longer, and the Vitamins and phytochemicals including antioxidants will improve my immunity against the impending flu season.
  3. I will get an hour of activity most days of the week.  I know that I tend to become less active, and the lean muscle mass I developed over the summer, returns to fat (adipose) tissue, slowing my metabolism and accelerating weight gain.

Are you the willing victim of a fall weight gain cycle?  What are your 3 SMART goals?



Categories: Nutrition & Wellness

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3 replies

  1. Very good; I am inspired to follow your example! Already do ok on the water, but like you, the fruit falls off in winter. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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  2. Great post and I plan to take on your advice because I too tend to fall victim to the little weight gain each Winter- or at least I did when I lived in the Midwest. Moving to the South has helped me personally, because it’s nice enough outside to actually exercise now = )

    Other things I try during poor weather:
    1. Use it as motivation to clean the house- it keeps me moving to burn some extra calories (and if you turn on the music and dance while doing it, that helps even more) and in the end, it improves my mood during those cold periods
    2. The colorful fall vegetables and cold weather inspires me to make soup (home-made so there is a lot of water and less sodium and you can sneak fruit into it).
    3. If water just won’t cut it, I’ll drink something hot and mostly water- like tea if I think I’m getting a ‘boredom’ craving and not real hunger.

    Thanks!
    Julie Wallace

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