Undo the damage of winter weight gain
“Spring” into action next season!
It’s understandable that cold, harsh winters and the continual parade of excess holiday foods can affect weight gain. From the candy at the end of October through February’s Superbowl parties, eating healthy is a continual challenge.
What is the average holiday weight gain? A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the average holiday season weight gain for American adults is just one pound. The bad news is that for most people that weight will be sticking around for good. In fact, the study showed that the average adult gains 1.5 pounds each year. Like a slowly rising tide, weight gained at that speed is hard to notice. But it means adding 10 pounds every seven years.
Although it is common for winter to bring on the extra weight, here’s how springtime can undo the damage:
- Weather improvements - for many with chronic illnesses wintertime brings on depression caused by feelings of limitations, isolation and the grueling ”pain” of cold temperatures.
- For most, spring changes our mood – the days grow longer, we start to shake off cabin fever and we begin to have more energy.
- Spring allows us to reflect on our holiday indulgences – the past is the past. Reflecting back helps to set our focus on the future. Start with a slow but gradual plan and stay committed.
- For some, spring relieves the stresses brought out by the holidays.
- Routines return to normal – with the holidays over, we can put the focus back on caring for ourselves.
- Spring allows us to become more active, get more fresh air and sunshine helping us to feel better, sleep better and burn extra calories.
Holiday weight gain doesn’t have to be permanent. For that extra push of support, plan a visit to your healthcare provider. They’re the best qualified to put you on the right path and help you identify what your individual goals and strategies need to be.
Springtime is the right time to get back on track and take care of what’s really important - You!
Michigan State University Extension offers many health and nutrition education classes and self-management workshops providing support and evidence based resources. For more information on chronic illness and healthier living, visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/chronic_disease.