Excess Winter Weight
Throughout the winter months, we often allow ourselves to gain some extra weight. From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s Eve to Super Bowl Sunday, temptation to eat poorly is high and swimsuit season still feels far off in the distance. Winter also tends to be a time of inactivity. The weather keeps us indoors, and somehow being cooped up in a gym is less appealing to us than an outdoor walk or run. For this reason, an early spring diet is exactly what we need to get back on track before the summertime.
My Success Story
I, as much as the next person, am guilty of gaining some extra winter weight. While I am still within my healthy weight range in the 120s, I much prefer how my body looks and feels in the 110-115 range. I therefore make a one month transition from vegetarianism to veganism in the early spring. This transition forces me to be very conscious of my food intake, while also keeping me away from fatty dairy products and bad carbohydrates. During this month, I do not calorie count or obsess over portion control. Instead, I make a conscious effort to eat primarily vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and bread can be eaten very occasionally. Aim to eat these items no more than once or twice a day. This diet can be adapted for meat-eaters by adding lean meat and low-fat dairy to the list. For the best results, this eating plan should be combined with an exercise routine. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of cardio at least 4 days a week, and 15 minutes of strength training at least 3 days a week.
Sustaining the Diet
During this diet, it is important to incorporate a modest cheat day and a plan of action to curb sudden cravings. For example, if you have a strong craving for chocolate it is perfectly okay to eat 3 small pieces of dark chocolate. This small splurge will suppress your craving, and keep you from binge eating unhealthy foods.
Snacking is also very important. Bring a small Ziploc bag filled with carrots (or your favorite raw vegetable) with you at all times. This will deter you from the vending machine, and keep your metabolism active throughout the day.
Transitioning to a Long Term, Healthy Eating Plan
While this eating plan is very effective for weight loss, it may not be the most feasible diet as a long-term plan. After a month, I suggest you keep with the diet as much as possible but do not be afraid to add more healthy grains and an occasional unhealthy splurge. As the summer arrives, you will most likely be eating less due to the the warmer weather and an overall increase in activity. You will be surrounded by an array of local fruits and vegetables that are particularly delicious and satisfying in the summer season. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the occasional ice cream cone on the beach–treating yourself every so often will keep you from binge eating later. Plus, you deserve it after all your hard work in the spring!