The winter months can be fun and festive. It’s also the season when weight loss patients can lose momentum and throw months of progress right out the window. According to research reported by Johns Hopkins University, people tend to gain five to seven pounds on average during the winter months. Sounds like Santa isn’t the only one enjoying some cookies and milk.
Patients don’t need to be doomed to winter weight gain. Being aware of the common causes for seasonal weight gain can help dieters work to avoid the usual hurdles, and set themselves up for a positive start to the New Year. Here are three of the most common causes for winter weight gain, and what your weight loss patients can do to stay on track when the weather outside is frightful:
- COLD WEATHER: Finding time to take a walk seems a lot easier when the weather is warm and beautiful — but not so much when it’s below freezing and there’s snow on the ground. Dieters may even lose motivation to go to the gym when they have to leave their comfy, warm house and defrost the car.
Advice you can give your patients: Call on your friends, family, or significant other to help hold you accountable to your workout routine. Give yourself an incentive to go, such as putting $5 in a jar every time you do a workout. Use the money at the end of the week to treat yourself to some shopping or a healthy snack. You can also consider using a workout app or routine that can be done in the comfort of your living room so you never even have to leave the house.
- HOLIDAY MEALS: The winter months can mean quality time with family and friends, as well as fun holiday parties for work. Those gatherings tend to have a lot of fattening and sugary foods that can easily throw a dieter off.
Advice you can give your patients: Never attend a holiday party hungry. Eat a healthy, protein-filled meal before going to the party to control hunger and make it easier to beat cravings. Bringing a protein-rich meal replacement bar or shake can also help if hunger strikes during the event. For even more tips on how to avoid holiday snacking, check out this recent blog.
- WINTER GROGGINESS: The cold weather and decreased sunlight can cause many people to feel extra sleepy, causing a lack of motivation to stay active. Winter grogginess can even negatively influence productivity during the day and at the workplace, impacting not just our weight but our overall mood. This can cause a snowball effect.
Advice you can give your patients: Find a few moments throughout the day to get up, move around, and increase your energy. “Deskercise” is a great way to stay active throughout the day by decreasing your sitting time at work, and you can do it right at your desk! Incorporating energizing routines like this can also help keep you motivated throughout the winter season.
What are some other challenges to staying on a program during the winter months? Share with us on Facebook, and let’s toss around some ideas of how to stay on track through the New Year!
Sources: Eat This, Not That