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Keeping your fitness regimen during cooler weather

Exercise during cooler months
Exercise during cooler months

Now that summer is unofficially over we are looking forward to and preparing for the cooler months ahead. As we prepare our homes and cars, let us prepare our bodies as well. The cooler weather can put a damper on our motivation to exercise. We sit in our warm and cozy homes, drinking and eating, often more than usual. We must keep in mind that the lack of exercise is the beginning of most chronic diseases. To prevent chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, and maintain our weight we have to continue to exercise, yes even in the cooler and cold months to come. Here are some strategies to combat weight gain in the cooler months ahead:

1. Don’t stop exercising. If you have an exercise program, stick to it. If you don’t have an exercise program, plan one. "Setting a regular fitness schedule is the key to keeping weight off in winter," says Lisa Giannetto, MD, an assistant clinical professor in the Diet and Fitness Center at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "Come five o'clock, when it's pitch black and cold out, you're a lot more likely to go to your warm home and watch TV if you don't have a regular fitness schedule that includes a variety of types of exercises."

2. Avoid over-eating at home. Unfortunately, when we are warm and cozy at home we tend to crave warm and cozy foods. Try eating stews and low-sodium soups. Stay away from too much bread and desserts.

3. Never go to a party hungry, eat before you go! "Fruits and vegetables are where we need to get our carbohydrates, and not from alcohol and brownies," says Jule Anne Henstenberg, RD, director of the nutrition program at La Salle University. "Use high-fiber fruits and vegetables to fill up before a party." Eat a bunch of baby carrots, a big salad, or an apple, for example, to curb your desire for empty party-food calories.” This will reduce the stress of the social environment to eat and drink more than usual.

4. Holiday Planning. Plan your holiday meals around what you can eat, not what you want to eat. A healthy holiday meal can consist of plenteous fruits and vegetables. Do away with foods that contain high fat and transfat. And if you must have a dessert, research items that contain little to no sugar, fats and oils. Also try using the no-white plan – no flour, sugar, and salt.

5. Lastly, stay away from alcohol. Not only is alcohol not good for you and those around you, especially if you over-consume, but it is loaded with carbs. The calorie and fat content in alcohol, upon reading the label, may seem adequate but the carbs is where the problem lies.

It is unacceptable to believe that a little weight gain during cooler and cold month is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be. With planning and an active schedule, you can maintain your weight and possibly lose weight during those dreary cold months ahead.

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