Monday, January 6, 2014

AIM: Winter Maintenance

This month, your AIM team is talking about maintenance during the winter months...you know, those cold, dreary months between January and February (haha, that might just be me living here in Texas) when all you want to do is hibernate.  Also, stay tuned at the end of this post - at the suggestion of one of our readers, we've got a "Ask Us (almost) Anything" form, where we're taking questions and will answer them in a future post.

So, is it harder to maintain your weight during the winter months?  I'm not talking about during the time period from Thanksgiving through Christmas (and New Year's Day, if I'm being perfectly honest) - it's a given that there are tons of food treats and temptations then.  But January comes around, and for most of us, the weather is cold - ridiculously so, this week - and my first instinct is to burrow down under the covers, turn off my alarm and not go outside to exercise.  Which is not conducive to maintenance for me.  Now, I've always said that you can outeat your exercise very easily, and I am under no delusions that the few miles I run makes a huge difference in my weight, but I do know that working out puts me in the positive mindset of "I am a healthy person" which leads to "I want to make good choices with my food" which generally keeps me on a good path toward keeping my weight/size steady.

Still, sometimes the weather is just too nasty to deal with, and I have to remember that one day, or even a few, of missed exercise won't suddenly make me balloon up to my former size.  I try to not get down on myself when I don't manage to get outside to exercise.  And while I should be doing this year-round, I tend to do planks more during the winter months.  Inside exercise, even a little, is better than nothing.  

The place where I put more of my effort toward winter maintenance is in my eating.  Coming off the treat fest of the holidays makes me want to eat healthier, and after all of the heavier food, I tend to crave fresh fruit, of all things.  So I indulge at the grocery store; I figure there are a lot worse things I could be buying (and eating) than berries, cantaloupe, grapes, clementines or apples - and yes, that was my most recent haul.  I'm sure this all is subconsciously combined with the whole "new year resolutions" thing that is ingrained in my head, and that's fine...after letting things get a little free and easy over the holidays, I'm ready to tighten things up a bit, as I do want to remain a weight maintainer.  While traditional cold weather foods can be hearty and heavy calorie busters, I work at incorporating some lighter things, like chicken broth-based soups, into our dinner plans, and as always, I work on portion control...I think that will be an always-and-forever deal with me.

The other trick that I use during the colder months is to wear regular clothes most of the time.  I don't work outside the house and would love to spend my at-home time staying warm by wearing sweatpants and an oversized long-sleeved t-shirt, but I need the reminder of a waistband on a pair of jeans to not get too comfortable with what I'm eating, so I save the sweats for the evening.  Winter maintenance is possible - it comes with its own set of issues, but nothing that can't be managed, if you are truly determined.

Here's the link to our Ask Us (almost) Anything form - click here and ask away!

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you'd like us to address!

13 comments:

  1. this feels like my first year of winter maintaining as in TEXAS there was summer and SUMMER!! as the two seasons :-)

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    1. LOL, you know what I'm talking about with our very short winter out here!

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  2. Because I always look forward to eating normal and healthy after the holidays, I don't have a huge problem eating healthy during winter. It's never really that cold here in Holland so there's never an excuse not to go outside during winter. To me it's not a huge problem.

    I think you are handling your winter maintenance great.

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    1. I can handle the cold, but the BITTER COLD is what gets me. Plus, I'm just used to more heat, having lived in the inferno that is Texas for so long.

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  3. I was with you right up until the part where you put on regular pants. I live in fleece during the winter months. :)

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    1. LOLOL. Yep, my winter uniform. My new sweats do have a very tight waistband...

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    2. Maybe I just need to buy a smaller size in my sweatpants? ;)

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  4. I know opinions on food vs. exercise vary but I'm firmly in the food is 80% of it. I think I have the right to say that as a person who has 'outeaten' their exercise a few times! I also agree on the dress normally thing. All the comfy stretchy pants and loose pajama bottoms make you forget you have a waist that might be expanding.

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  5. I totally agree with the workouts reminding me that I WANT to be a healthy person. I really think this helps me to make better food choices.

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  6. Totally relate to your feelings of wanting to eat healthier around this time of year. That's how January & February usually go for me. And in general, staying healthy comes a lot easier to me during this time of year. Hibernating because of the cold (by the way, it's -16 here today! With a "feels like" temp of -36) also means that I'm not constantly going out to eat with friends, throwing BBQs, meeting up for drinks, etc. All of that is what makes it really hard for me to stay on track, but it's not as much of an issue during the winter. This is when I can get back into good habits - now if I could just figure out how to not totally abandon some of them as it starts warming up here again...

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    1. Hey, at least you are aware of when your tougher times are...now to figure out how not to let all the fun parties throw you off, eh?

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  7. I don't think the exercise is near as important as the food. And it is hard to do outdoor exercise when the weather is so darn cold. Or snowy. Even though I work at home, I do wear jeans most times. I love to get comfy after my workday and put on my flannel jammies! Yesterday I was doing laundry and I took my jammies out of the dryer. It was about 4 in the afternoon. I told John I was thinking of getting into them and he said "At least wait until after dinner" :D

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  8. I wear the sweats/leggings WAY too much in the winter. About a week ago, the temps were actually in the 50s and so I dug out my denim capris and much to my dismay they were a bit tight (and I'd just worn them a month ago!). You're right...eating is more important than exercise, but in my world I've been doing less exercise and more eating...not cool.

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