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Tips to avoid winter weight gain

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Fall is here, and the festivities are getting closer. Americans gain an average of 1-5 pounds over the next 3 months. That's up to an excess of 17,500 calories consumed. Here are some tips to stay on track over the next few months.

  • Start something new. This isn't the most popular time of year to start a fitness regime, but go for it anyway. By breaking out of the sterotype you may find yourself more likely to keep it up because it's not typical to start so it's not typical to fail, like during New Years. Buy a fitness DVD or join a gym. Gym rates tend to be cheaper this time of year and many gyms are offering special deals. For example, Gold's Gym in Montgomery is offering a joining fee of $1.With the weather turning colder, you need some indoor options.
  • Write down a fitness/health goal for the season. Whether it is "not to gain a pound" or something even more ambitious like to "lose 10", writing down your goal will keep you more accountable to it.
  • Look up healthy versions of your favorite holiday meals and treats. Virtually any recipe can be altered to be healthier and still delicious. Any search engine will give you options.
  • Do not bring treats into your house. Leave them at the office or at the party. Bringing in the temptation makes it virtually impossible to turn down.
  • Bring a healthy option to potlucks and parties. Parties thrown by others can be caloric disasters. If you bring something healthy, you know you can at least eat one thing. It doesn't have to be a fruit or veggie tray (though those are always good options). Whip up a lighter version of spinach dip, green bean casserole, healthy lasagna or a light dessert. Don't get suckered in by others to destroy your efforts. You can enjoy delicious foods while eating well.
  • Plan to reward yourself when you keep your goal. You're getting less gifts as an adult anyway. Plan to buy yourself something you really want come January when you maintain your goals. Save up a little each week or plan spend your Christmas money on it.
  • Get accountability. Join a fitness group or club, grab a friend or family member, and hold one another accountable. Work out together, dine out together, grocery shop together or just send each other little notes of encouragement. When you're accountable to someone you're 10x more likely to succeed.
  • At the very least, aim to maintain. Maintaining weight is a lot easier than losing it because it doesn't require a calorie deficit. Gaining it can be the easiest route, but if you gain it now, you're going to have to work very hard in a few months to lose it. Also, keep in mind that often people don't end up losing their holiday weight gain, and if you average just 3 pounds a season and never burn that off, you'll be 30 pounds heavier in ten years from holidays alone.

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