Five Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain…OR “How Not to Panic on Memorial Day”

In diet, exercise, nutrition, Uncategorized, wellness on October 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Happens to all of us–those extra winter pounds can really creep up on us, in some hidden and very sneaky ways and then we panic on Memorial Day when we realize we’ll soon be in those skimpy summer clothes.

Winter weight gain isn’t inevitable, though! Here are five ways you can thwart that weight gain:

  • Stress and More Stress: One trip to the mailbox can send the heart racing, what with heating, electric and holiday-purchases-come-due bills–and that floods bodies with those waist-thickening “fight or flight” hormones, like Cortisol.

Solution:  Get plenty of Vitamin D, because it has a positive effect on the hormones and immune system, says Naturopathic Physician Dr. Laurie Brodsky, ND. You can also try other stress-busters, such as meditation or yoga.

  • Holiday Indulgence:  Halloween’s just around the corner and soon we go into the Thanksgiving-New Year season with parties, treats and groaning buffet tables.

Solution: Remember it’s a 45-day stretch with three holidays, not a 45 day holiday. Practice the “Rule of One.”  Dr. Brodsky explains that this means you fill your plate with one of everything, such as a protein and a green and then have one drink. “That way, you get to taste everything and don’t feel deprived, but you’re still practicing portion control,” she says.

Try to squeeze in an extra workout or two if you know a big party is imminent.

  •   Exercise Derailment:  It’s tempting to go right home after work when the days are short and cold.

Solution: Establish a set routine and then mark it in your calendar so it becomes a habit. Habits usually form in 25 to 30 days, says Psychology Today.  Other ideas include partnering with a buddy, or creating exercise routines at home.

“A few rounds of jumping jacks, push ups, and crunches will get your blood flowing and work most of your major muscles,” said Shay DeSilva, founder, Fast Fitness To Go.
  • Seasonal Depression:  It can make you irritable, moody and sad, says WebMD.  The shorter, colder days can negatively impact you–and let’s face it, we don’t exactly make the best food choices when we feel that way.

Solution: We tend to crave warm, comfort foods, so keep healthy ones, like a vegetable-laden soup, in easy reach. Protein-rich foods and snacks will balance blood sugar, alleviate mood swings. Brodsky has a great recipe for a pumpkin granola (see recipe in sidebar on the right of this page).  “Pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan so they’ll help you sleep if you have a handful before bed,” she said. A small piece of chocolate IS okay as long as it contains at least 75 percent cacao.

  • Sleep Disruptions. Our sleep can actually be disturbed by too-warm rooms, and sleep has a direct effect on three hormones that regulate stress, energy balance and appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep, cortisol, the stress hormone, elevates glucose and appetites. Ghrelin, which increases appetite, becomes elevated; Leptin, which suppresses appetite and moderates energy balance, is decreased. Lack of sleep also affects your exercise routine.”It’s a negative cycle,” explains Dr. Kathia Roberts, Ph.D., ND, D.PHYT, “Some of my patients tell me they can’t sleep without exercising but then, again, they’re too tired to exercise.”

Solution: Keep your room at 68 to 70 degrees.



Irene Ross is a certified health and nutrition coach who helps people get off the diet roller coaster to make a lifetime of healthy weight maintenance and lifestyle.

“Healthy weight is a lot more about simply walking away with a list of so-called good foods and bad foods. It’s about a lot of things. Like learning how to balance blood sugar and knowing about the connection between hormones and processed foods and the adrenals and thyroid–among other things. And they need to know that everything feeds us; for instance, career, relationships, self-care, because if just one thing is out of balance they’ll always be, well, hungry.

“In short, I help individuals investigate new roads and new areas of development, then provide them with the resources to take action.”

Irene sees people individually or in groups, presents workshops and lectures and creates employee wellness programs.

There’s something for every budget, from teleseminars to my platinum “Six Step System to Lose the Weight, Keep it Off and Let Your Fabulousness Shine” to VIP Days for those who just want very fast, concentrated results.

Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, Irene is also a nutrition and wellness expert for our 4-legged furry friends, writing frequently on those topics. Her website is:  She also writes a free, twice-monthly newsletter, “Power Wellness,” full of information and suggestions for healthy eating and lifestyle–for BOTH humans and pets.  Subscribers get a free download of her report, “Sugar’s Sour Story.”  To subscribe, click here.

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