Spring is officially here, but you wouldn’t know it by the chilly temperatures I encountered yesterday while running at Onondaga Lake Park!
With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of a very common fear for many people.
The re-emergence of T-shirts, shorts, sleeveless shirts, sundresses and the all-time most dreaded item of clothing known to mankind—bathing suits.
This is especially challenging because so many people pack on extra pounds over the winter, so the first time in those more “unforgiving” clothes isn’t necessarily a welcome sight!
If I’ve even remotely described you, then it’s time to take the bull by the horns and put an end to winter weight gain.
Eight Ways to Blast Winter Blubber
1- Location, location, location
When you’re eating somewhere other than a dining table and your mind is distracted with other things, it’s VERY easy to eat way too much and not realize it until you see the empty Doritos bag or you’ve polished off enough pasta for four people.
Avoid eating in places where your mind is occupied, such as in front of the TV, when you’re driving, when you’re working, when you’re studying, etc.
Make the time to eat meals at the table with your loved ones.
2- Slow down
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get tipped off that you’ve had enough food.
So if you resemble a Hoover vacuum cleaner when you sit down to eat, chances are excellent that you are eating far more food than you actually need.
Slow down and chew each bite thoroughly, and put your fork down after every couple of bites.
3- Get your protein
Protein helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than starchy carbohydrates, thereby helping to reduce your likelihood of overeating.
If you don’t believe me, try this little experiment:
One morning have two or three eggs fried in butter for breakfast, and the next day have a bowl of cereal. Compare your level of hunger mid-morning between the two days—I think you’ll see a difference.
4- Don’t use cold weather as an excuse not to exercise
I swear some people would rather eat used cat litter than to work up a sweat, so cold temperatures are commonly used as an exercise cop-out.
Sorry, that doesn’t fly. There are plenty of reasonably-priced gyms (some as low as $10 a month or less!) as well as exercise DVDs you can use in the privacy of your own living room.
5- Face the music
It’s easy for extra pounds to come creeping on when you’re avoiding the scale like the plague.
Face the music once a week and step on the scale to see where you stand.
6- Choose smart comfort foods
Comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf and gravy or fettuccini alfredo are OK once in a while, but when you’re craving comfort food, make up a soothing batch of soup instead.
Here’s a super easy, delicious tomato soup recipe from Great Taste No Pain that’s always a huge hit when I serve it:
Tomato Soup with Basil
3 very large ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper; cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until all ingredients are soft. Add tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the broth, tomato paste, salt, pepper and sugar. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in basil and allow to cool slightly.
Process soup in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Return the mixture to the pan and reheat over low heat. Top with fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese if desired.
7- Keep your gut healthy
Probiotics like Super Shield help support a healthy intestinal environment which in turn encourages more regular bowel movements and better nutrient absorption, both of which are essential to successful weight loss.
In addition, studies have shown that slender people have a higher concentration of friendly bacteria in their intestinal tracts as compared to overweight people, and probiotics can help enhance your population of these helpful intestinal microbes.
8- Make lower calorie substitutions
Instead of a mug of hot cocoa in front of the fire, every night, substitute herbal tea now and then.
At parties and get-togethers, substitute a club soda with lemon or lime for that extra glass of wine or beer.
Gravitate toward crudité platters and go easy on the dip, or choose shrimp with cocktail sauce over the taco dip with tortilla chips.
A little effort on your part can go a long way in keeping those pounds off!