8 Ways to Avoid the After-Summer Weight GainArticle posted in: Nutrition
Biking. Kayaking. Walking. Running. Swimming. It’s easy to be active when the weather is so hospitable. But what happens when the weather gets colder, busy routines begin again, and new demands take priority over your healthy living goals? Unless you take steps to confront these new challenges, you’ll fall right back in the same traps that often lead to weight gain.
Here are eight ways to stay on track and avoid that after-summer weight gain:
1. Keep Going and Going.
Have you gotten accustomed to an afternoon swim in your pool? Maybe an after-dinner walk? Just because the weather will get cooler and the sun will set earlier doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to exercise. Swim indoors at your gym or try another low-impact exercise like an indoor bike or elliptical machine. Take a walk during your lunch break or as soon as you get home to catch the sun. You can also switch your evening exercise to the morning.
2. Listen to Your Body.
Our ancestors had to eat more food to insulate for the coming winter. According to Dr. Jan Chozen Bays in her book, Mindful Eating, our bodies still send us those preparatory signals even though we’re eons away from having to hunt or gather food or survive against the elements. Therefore, we must resist the urge to bulk up and continue to eat healthy meals. Continue to watch your portions and eat only when you truly feel hungry to avoid the after-summer weight gain.
3. The Farmer’s Market Is Still Open!
Tomatoes, peppers and zucchini may be finished for the season, but there are lots of fall vegetables to enjoy like squash, pumpkin, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and turnips. Experiment with new recipes and continue your trend of eating farm-fresh, homegrown vegetables.
4. Hold on Harvest Sweets.
As soon as September begins, harvest foods—particularly harvest desserts—are everywhere. While it’s one thing to embrace a new season by decorating with pumpkins, it’s quite another to eat your way through every pumpkin-flavored item at the grocery store. Apples and pumpkins are healthy foods! Don’t alter them…enjoy a small apple with peanut butter. That’s 1 Fruit and 1 Healthy Fat fulfilled. Make a pumpkin smoothie with Greek yogurt and cinnamon. That’s 1 Vegetable plus 1 Lean Protein.
5. Have Holiday Game Plans.
Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. All three holidays seem to come out of nowhere after summer ends. How will you handle the surplus of candy, bounty of carb-heavy foods and edible holiday cheer? Think about your diet before each holiday arrives and decide what you’re going to eat. Remember: It’s not realistic to deprive yourself of all your favorite foods. Depravity often leads to binging. Instead, allow yourself one small slice of apple pie or one peanut butter cup. Promise yourself you’ll exercise on and each holiday, as well.
6. Fight the Convenience Trap.
Has soccer practice started? Choir rehearsal? Basketball? It’s so easy to stop at the drive-thru for dinner. But don’t do it; grab a protein bar for the car or plan to eat before or after practice and your taxi route is complete. Crock pot recipes, one-pot meals and make ahead dinners can help you feed your hungry family and stick to your busy weeknight obligations. Plan your meals over the weekend so you aren’t left scrambling mid-week.
7. Try Something New.
Many gyms offer “back to school” classes or specials you might take advantage of now that vacation season is over. Try a new group fitness class or challenge yourself to work with a personal trainer. If you have less time to exercise now, find a way to stay active. Walk the track while your son is at football practice. Find a friend to keep you motivated.
8. Don’t Pack Away the Bikini.
It’s easy to hide the after-summer weight gain in a big, comfy sweater. But there’s no hiding anything in an itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny bikini—or bathing suit. In addition to keeping an eye on the scale, make it a point to slip into your bathing suit from time to time to see how your body is changing and if/how the suit fits. If you don’t like what you see, exercise harder, keep drinking your water and above all: stick to the South Beach Diet.