We aren’t mind readers, but odds are high that one of your New Year’s resolutions involves exercise or weight loss. There’s also an excellent chance that you abandoned – or will abandon – your resolution by the end of January. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, we’re here to help. Take advantage of your newfound motivation and shed winter weight gain fast by trying the simple tips below.
Reduce Refined Sugar
Sugar is a popular substance found in everything from soda to soup. On average, each American consumes a whopping 152 pounds of sugar per year. Many Americans also feast on foods made from wheat flour, an ingredient that converts to sugar after it enters the body.
Experts originally believed that foods high in fat, even if they were healthy fats, were responsible for weight gain. Now many nutrition specialists believe that sugar is actually your waist-line’s number one foe. Assuming this is true, you may quickly lose weight if you reduce your sugar intake.
Some people choose to give up refined sugar completely, but you may find this causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. If you decide that completely eliminating refined sugar from your diet isn’t a plausible possibility, working on lowering your consumption instead. Here are some tips to help you cut back on sugar:
- Snack on naturally sweet foods, such as strawberries and oranges
- Sweeten tea with honey rather than sugar
- Use stevia instead of white sugar in your coffee
- Drizzle fresh maple syrup rather than processed pancake syrup over your breakfast
- Cook from scratch whenever possible to avoid the sugar that is often found in processed foods
Avoid replacing refined sugar with artificial sweeteners whenever possible. Artificial sweeteners are linked to numerous side effects, including headaches and weight gain.
Enjoy Sensible Snacks
When a snack attack strikes, what’s the first thing you reach for? If you answered chips, cookies, or candy, it’s time to change your dietary habits. A healthy snack contains vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, such as protein or fiber. It has little, if any, refined sugar.
Keep healthy snacks on hand so you aren’t tempted to nosh on junk food. Here are some convenient snacks that you can keep in your fridge or pantry:
- Granola bars
- Grape tomatoes
- Sliced cucumbers
- Carrot sticks
- Apple wedges
- Mini oranges
- Packets of nuts or seeds
Dip vegetables in hummus, tahini, or low-fat ranch dressing. Fruits pair well with nut butters and vanilla yogurt.
Get Your Mental Health in Check
Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD, can cause weight gain. If you’re recovering from this condition or simply find that you become an emotional eater during the winter, take steps to repair your mental health before you make dietary changes. Failing to do so may make it difficult for you to adhere to your nutritional goals.
Sometimes people find it difficult to recover from SAD, depression, anxiety, or similar conditions, even when they’re taking prescription drugs. Changing your diet may help alleviate the symptoms of these conditions, especially if you consume a significant amount of sugar or processed foods.
You don’t have to achieve your weight loss goals alone. Talk to friends or family members about your plan to drop the weight you gained during the winter, and tell them you’d love their support during your journey toward healthy living. Some of your loved ones may want to embark on your journey with you, which means you might have walking buddies or people to enjoy nutritious meals with on a regular basis.
If local loved ones don’t support your goals, find people who do. You can do this by joining support groups, enrolling in fitness classes, or using smartphone or tablet apps.
It’s challenging to lose weight, but you can do it quickly if you work hard. Talk to your doctor before you begin a weight loss plan in case you require special restrictions or guidelines to protect your body. If he gives you the green light to pursue your goals, try the tips above to shed excess weight in a timely manner. Helen Carter
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