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Avoiding Weight Gain This Winter

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Winter seems to be a time when many people put on some extra weight. Have you ever considered why that is? Here are some of the top reasons and what to do about them.

More layers equals more room to hide. Bulky sweaters and loose coats give us that fake comfort and temporary ability to live in denial. I always tell my clients to have one summer outfit easily accessible and to try it on, on a regular basis. Aside from serving as a reminder that Summer is just a few short months away, it will be an accurate measurement of how your more fitted (and less layered) wardrobe feels.

Hot comfort drinks. Don’t we all associate those hot chocolates and creamy lattes with cold winter days? Did you know that these drinks could contain up to 700 calories? Many people falsely assume that “liquid calories” don’t count. This is obviously false. Try herbal teas instead, or lower calorie versions of your favorite drink. Substitute whole milk for skim, skip the whipped cream, and use cinnamon powder for flavor, instead of flavored syrup.

Feeling too lazy to exercise.  Many people feel a lot less energetic in the winter months and that is understandable.  The days are shorter, it gets dark sooner, and getting out of the house requires bundling up, and even warming up the car.  Outdoor exercisers find it more challenging to stick to their routine with the unpredictable weather, and it getting dark so early in the day, giving them less hours of “ideal workout conditions.”

My suggestion? Adjust your schedule or routine accordingly.  See what works for you.  Cold weather should not mean no exercise. Whether you are used to outdoor workouts, or just get lazy with the cold season, here are some tips to help you get you heated up even when the weather is cold.

1. Stock up on fitness DVDs. Make sure you pick ones that are fun and motivating (check out the Shape Fitness kosher workout DVD).

2. Find an exercise buddy. This way the two of you help each other get the workout accomplished, whether indoors or out.

3. If you are a walker or jogger, invest in warm yet comfortable gear. This should be something that is warm enough to wear outside, yet comfortable enough (and not bulky) to exercise in.  Make sure to protect your head and ears.

4. Try to exercise during daylight hours. The days are shorter but it is easier to exercise when it is light out.

Chanukah parties, office holiday parties, Chinese auctions, dinners, and fundraisers… need I say more? As always, plan ahead. Do not ever starve yourself the day of a function, planning to make up for it later on. Eat regular balanced meals throughout the day, and try drinking 2 glasses of water before the event. When you get there, scan the room and decide what you want to eat, before you fill up your plate. Treat a buffet style table as a visual menu. “see” the food there as simply a feast for the eyes, and it is up to you to make the best choices from it.

As always, having professional guidance is one of the best tools you can invest in. Whether it’s a nutritionist helping you plan your menus, or a personal trainer working out with you and measuring your results, having that professional guidance is extremely valuable.

Remember that Summer is right around the corner. With just some planning and willpower, you can avoid weight gain traps this winter.

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About the Author: Tanya Rosen is the co-owner of Shape Fitness in Flatbush. She is a certified nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and aerobics instructor, and is the creator of the SHAPE FITNESS KOSHER WORKOUTS DVD, available in Judaica stores or online at www.shapefitnessgym.com.


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Winter seems to be a time when many people put on some extra weight. Have you ever considered why that is? Here are some of the top reasons and what to do about them.

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Dear Tanya,

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Welcome to Fit and Trim, where you can ask the health and fitness questions you’ve been thinking about for years – and get answers. I can’t wait to hear from you. Email me at magazine@jewishpress.com.

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