Tips for Staying Off the Couch and Out of the Fridge this Winter

It’s easy to pack on unwanted pounds over the winter months when we crave comfort foods and may not find it quite as easy to get regular exercise.  And if you are retired or work from home most of the day, the temptation to snack can be hard to resist.

Although added weight might not be as noticeable under layers of sweaters and well-placed scarves, trying to flatten the tummy gets harder for many as they age.  Best not to lose ground over the winter!

Regular exercise helps; whether it’s on a treadmill in the basement, walking the mall with friends or signing up for a gym membership, staying active helps seniors maintain a healthy weight and preserve physical function.  Still, so many social events surround eating and drinking this time of year, it can be hard to say no.  And every good Netflix binge calls for a few guilty pleasures!

What can you do to curb snacking?

  • Don’t buy food that will tempt you.
  • Send snacks for grandkids home with them!
  • Stock the fridge with healthy alternatives ready to grab.
  • Take note of what triggers snacking and switch up routines.
  • Try drinking a cup of hot camomile tea at night if that’s the witching hour. 
  • Take a relaxing bath or try some gentle yoga to unwind rather than TV
  • Keep your hands busy with a project like knitting or painting

Our instinct is to huddle up under blankets and hibernate in the winter and we all may be unintentionally adding calories to our diet preparing for the long, dark months ahead.  The tendency to load up on carbs and protein may date back to a time when food was scarce in the winter and humans required more calories which were used to stay warm.  In modern society we don’t need the extra calories for the winter with indoor heating and plenty of food, but we still crave it nevertheless.

According to a recent Huffington Post Australia report,  the lack of sunlight in the winter months affects our hormones, producing melatonin which may make us more sleepy.   Higher levels of melatonin also make us feel hungrier.   Combine this with less motivation to get outdoors to exercise and it’s no wonder we gain weight in the winter.   

Half the battle may be understanding why we are craving certain foods and laying low all winter, the other half is doing something about it!

To read more about “Metabolic Winter” and weight gain in modern society, follow this link to the US National Institutes of Health.