Winter Weight Gain: How You Can Lose Weight in a Healthy Way

By Hanna Park, Health Promotion Team

Something that I am guilty of is snacking… ESPECIALLY when I am stressed and I know that this is an issue that many of you have as well. It is so easy to treat yourself to your favorite junk foods when you are too busy studying. This results in the dreaded “freshman 15”. Unintentional weight gain can lead to added stress and low self-esteem. However, we can easily combat this by making small changes to our daily routine!

First of all lets begin by talking about the importance of picking the right foods. The foods we eat provide us fuel, which means that we should pick foods that give us energy. Making poor food choices can result in fatigue, bloating, and indigestion; while healthy food choices can result in increased energy, improved moods, and reduce your likelihood of developing certain diseases.

So what are some healthy vs. unhealthy food choices? We need to think about what makes some foods healthy and others unhealthy.

  • Healthy foods are nutrient dense. These are foods that provide you the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Some foods that fit into this category include: fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, and fish.
  • Unhealthy foods have empty calories. These are foods that are often highly processed and contain a lot of added fat and sugar. Some foods that fit into this category include: cakes, donuts, and fried foods.

So how can you add more healthy foods to your diet? You don’t have to make dramatic changes. Even small changes can benefit your overall health and result in weight loss.

  1. Cut down the number of times you order in food per week, replace sugary drinks with water, and choose healthy snacks.
  2. Make healthy choices when you do eat out. Instead of getting burgers and fries. Try a chicken wrap or a salad.
  3. Meal prep. This way you have your meals prepared and ready to take with you on the go. This will ensure that you spend less time cooking during the week. Also, this is a helpful way to save money because you’re less likely to spend money on food.
  4. Always eat at a table. You’re more likely to overeat when you’re lying in bed.
  5. Drink more water. Drinking water 30 minutes before your meal can help you eat less because the water will keep you full.

Here are some healthy snack or meal ideas that you can bring with you to class or have at home:

  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Fruits
  • Salad (kale, spinach, avocado, cucumbers, and any other veggies you like!)
  • Sandwich and wraps
  • Nuts
  • Roasted chickpeas

Diet is important but so is exercise! Besides aiding in your weight loss, there are many more benefits to working out. Being physically active reduces your likelihood of developing various diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Exercising is also known to improve your mood so it is a great way to de-stress after a hard day at school or work. It can also boost your energy, which is always a bonus. Here is how you can motivate yourself to workout:

  • Get yourself a workout buddy! You’re more likely to hit the gym if you have someone to motivate you!
  • Make an exercise/gym schedule. By creating a schedule, you’re setting aside time to workout.

You can’t expect results right away. Losing weight takes time. However, here are some ways you can keep yourself motivated to stick to your weight loss goals and obtain better results:

  • Have a support system. Tell your family and friends why you want to lose weight. Get your family and friends to support you by eating healthier meals with you.
  • Create a social media page about your fitness journey. This makes you more accountable to your weight loss journey.
  • Make a lifestyle change rather than following a diet that is unsustainable
  • Weigh yourself once a week rather than everyday. When you’re weighing yourself constantly and seeing no results, it can make you want to give up on your weight loss journey.
  • Have a food diary! Writing down all the foods you eat makes you more aware of what you’re putting in your mouth and reduces your likelihood of overeating.

AND remember! Be realistic with your goals. Don’t overdo it! Aim to lose a maximum of 1-2lbs per week.

Happy dieting!

References

http://www.healthline.com/health/5-benefits-healthy-habits#CombatsDiseases4

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/emptycalorie-foods-vs-nutrientdense-foods-1350.html

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