Staying on the Dieting Track this Winter and Fall
The colder months are absolutely full of temptation. The minute pumpkin spice lattes are back on the menu and available to indulgently sip at the local Starbucks, you know that slippery slope of seemingly endless comfort food eating is on its way, culminating in the annual splurge of gluttony on Christmas Day. Seasonal cookbooks and online recipe pages are big business come the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and beyond. The human body has a biological need to stoke up when the mercury falls. Nonetheless, eating to nourish and stay warm does not have to mean the overdosing on junk food that it often becomes. You can be full and still fit and fabulous, having dined on wholesome yet tasty food cooked with care from one of those many cookbooks that line your own kitchen’s shelves having adapted recipes to suit your dieting needs. You’ve worked hard all year; why throw all that effort away for a few months, only to have to start all over again come the New Year?
How to Shop – Strength of Willpower at the Store
Though you may have the best of intentions, food store shopping is a minefield of temptation to tip the scales in favor of unhealthy snacking. Clever marketing, particularly as the festive season nears, aims to persuade you that it’s alright to eat those cookies (the family size box), drink that soda (again, no small size should ever be good enough), or heat up that pizza large enough to feed a couple of parents and their two children as well. To this end, never, ever grocery shop when you’re hungry. A different brain engages when the stomach is rumbling, a brain separate from the sensible dieting psyche, and it will happily accept the brightly colored packaging employed by most unhealthy products as perfectly acceptable items to add to your cart. Step away, close your eyes, and then look again at your shopping list.
The Science behind the Good and the Bad
Those little treats you might try and persuade yourself are okay in moderation are anything but. Indeed, they’re typically chock full of chemicals and nutritionally poor, as well. Pause for a moment and consider the rise of consumption of processed foods and the quantity of supplements people take these days: might there not be a correlation between the two?
You may feel full after allowing yourself a bit of fast food, but do you know precisely what you have put into your body? Unlikely. Without resorting to a school science lesson, it’s worth remembering that the body needs the majority of its diet to consist of carbohydrates (primarily from cereals and vegetables, then fruits), protein (from meat, poultry, and dairy; less from fish, seafood, pulses, and eggs), and a small amount of fats and oils. That is to say, real foods. Indeed, contrary to thinking in the latter part of the 20th Century, fat is an essential part of any diet – it just depends what sort of fat you’re consuming.
Your Grandmother didn’t spend so much time in the kitchen for no good reason: she was trying to feed the family right. By setting aside time either each night or at weekends and meal prepping for the week ahead, you can be sure you are eating wholesomely and heartily.
Satisfying the Cravings – Safe Snacking
There was a time when people took up smoking in order to lose weight as it was believed to suppress the appetite. Thankfully, better understanding of the effects of nicotine and tar and a myriad of other toxins in cigarettes on lung health and other organs in the body has seen most smokers either quit cold turkey or take to vaping (click for more information). The problem left is that “hand to mouth” action which can be so easily fulfilled by bad food choices instead., which is why some resort to hypnotism and other mental measures to remove that psychological association of satisfaction being derived from always inhaling or eating something when stressed.
If the mindset of consumption cannot be overcome in times of stress, make sure instead that what is available to be ingested is of the healthy variety: fruit (whether fresh or dry), small portions of raw unsalted nuts and seeds, and other “real” food options are great to have on or in your desk, in the car, and at home of course.
A Healthy Glow and the Benefits of Movement
What exacerbates the inclination to indulge in all the wrong things at this time of year is the simultaneous change in lifestyle: people naturally lean towards a more “hibernating” routine, staying indoors instead of keeping active outside. In short, and again, don’t give in to temptation. Throw off that luxurious throw you acquired to stay extra toasty by the fireside, and get moving. You don’t have to be a jogger, just go for a brisk walk instead. Or, if your summer was an endless whirl of yoga and dance classes to stay slim for revealing slightly more flesh in the sun, why is it you suddenly decided not to attend once the first leaf fell from the trees? No-one “works on” a winter body, but they should. How else are you going to burn off the extra portions your mother piles your plate with at Thanksgiving, even though you told her ten times before you arrived that you were trying to stick to your diet?
Acceptance, Not Resignation
If all else fails, however, and you do give in to the overwhelming lure of seasonal snacks and other food stuffs, don’t despair. Accept that you will have to get back to your diet and fitness routine quickly afterwards and with added focus. The worst thing you can do is to deem yourself completely defeated, and stay under the blankets on the sofa, and keep munching your way back up the scales after winter has come and gone. Life is just too short for that.