Fit Chic NYC’s Blog

5 Tips for Avoiding Winter Weight Gain
My snow art during NYC's February blizzard

My snow art during NYC's February blizzard

SnowmanWe are not bears, or squirrels and unlike our animal friends who require excess food storage to survive winter, we do not go into hibernation mode for a few months and will have access to food year-round.

But that doesn’t stop the majority of Americans from gaining that extra seasonal padding.

“Your body may be working against you to hang on to it so you stay warm,” Lawrence Cheskin, MD, founder of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center told Prevention magazine.

While you can blame your lack of exercise motivation on the chilly weather or sparse rays of sunshine, we no longer have a physiological need to add an insulating layer to our frames because unlike our caveman ancestors (or animal friends), our risk of freezing to death is made basically non-existent thanks to space heaters and North Face.

The extra poundage typically starts to accumulate with the holiday overindulgence and “the weight-gain cycle can easily continue throughout the winter months, and by spring you can have 5-10 lbs. to lose. Hold that pace for a decade and you will have gained 50-60 lbs.,” Stew Smith, CSCS and former Navy SEAL says.

Here are 5 tips and tricks you can do to help beach-ready body year-round:

  1. Find comfort in fruits and vegetables: Instead of turning to mashed potatoes, pasta, macaroni and cheese, stuffing and other hearty foods for comfort from the chilly weather, take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season such as bok choy, kale, kiwi, pomegranates, parsnips, pears squash and especially those that are a good source of fiber (which makes your feel full longer) such as artichokes and avocados.
  2. Stay active: No hibernating! Keep up those New Year resolutions and stay in shape. If you usually take your workouts outdoor, the snow isn’t an excuse to forgo fitness. Try winter sports like skiing, snowboarding or ice skating, or invest in a temporary gym membership. NYSC offers two weeks for $20, or consider trying a month at a yoga studio – @Tarastiles recommends checking out Strala Yoga! (I’m going to start a month at Bikram Yoga NYC after I get back from my friend’s wedding in a week!)
  3. Bring the workout to your apartment: In the case of a horrible snow storm, or the “snowpocalypse” that the North East has been hit with this week, where traveling to the gym just isn’t safe, workout at home – No excuses, play like a champ! Bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, dips (off the edge of your bed/couch), lunges, squats and of course, the dreaded burpees are perfect for small spaces. Here’s a list of no-equipment workouts you can keep in your snow day activity arsenal. My favorites: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 rep rounds for time of burpees, push-ups and sit-ups, OR, 4 rounds for time of 30 push-ups, 40 sit-ups and 50 squats.
  4. Break out the bikini: Well, sort of. In the winter we tend to pile on the clothing and our figure gets lost under all those layers, allowing that extra weight to hide easily. Wear form-fitting clothes under your coats or try on summer outfits and bathing suits every few weeks to serve as a constant reminder of how your body looks.
  5. Don’t drink your calories: Winter drinks such as hot chocolate and eggnog are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Avoid these empty calorie and sip on hot tea instead. And watch your booze intake; most of the fancy cocktails have lots of hidden calories and are be high in sugar content.

Spring is only a few months away!


5 Comments so far
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Love the snow art! Couple questions for you: How do you cook parsnips and what do they taste like? I’ve seen a few food blogs recently mention them, but I don’t even know where to begin!

Also, last Thursday I did a series of squat jumps–30 secs jumps, 30 secs rest 6x. It is now Wednesday and my legs are still incredibly sore. The first few days after, I could hardly bend them and had trouble walking down steps. Is this normal? My legs even gave out a couple times and I totally bit it in the snow! I’ve been amping up the intensity of my workouts recently, which has been great, but I don’t want to feel like I should be in a body cast every time I do them! Any advice?

Comment by Ellen

Cooking is not my specialty and I’m no parsnip expert, but to me, they taste similar to potatoes, and I’ve always roasted them (peel, cut, sprinkle with olive oil and pop into the stove). My new vegetable is kale. I made kale chips last week and I’m in love!

It’s totally normal to feel sore even though it was a few days ago; it was just too much too soon! I remember the first time I tried CrossFit (which includes a lot of those high-intensity moves like burpees, thrusters, squat jumps etc.) I couldn’t walk for a week. Actually, I couldn’t sit either. Just existing hurt! But on that note, you don’t want to do a workout that leaves you unable to move the next few days… 1 day on, 4 days to recover isn’t the ideal workout schedule. The next time you do squat jumps the recovery shouldn’t take as long and I’d recommend cutting it down to maybe 4 sets until you see how your body responds. Also, did you do any other heavy lifting/exercises for quads that session, could just be introductory overload!

Comment by FitChicNYC

I saw this article over at the Healthy Tipping Point and it made me think of our Parsnips discussion – she does the roasting technique as well and makes fries out of them!

Comment by FitChicNYC

Love the tips….and your snow art! Usually the snow does not stop me from working out, I love my endorphins!!!

Comment by schacalieu

Thanks! And I agree; I already called my gym to make sure they’ll be open after work tonight. Plus, I can’t think of a better way to stay warm than working up a sweat!

Comment by FitChicNYC

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