We tell ourselves we’ll avoid it every year, then we give up and wait until January to start all over again. Many of us use the ‘winter bloat’ as an excuse to eat and drink what we like over the colder months, but the older we get, the more difficult it can be to lose those extra pounds. Why not make this year the year you maintain some healthy habits to avoid bloating over the winter period, and set a different New Year’s resolution instead?
Avoid bloating this winter
You can beat bloating at winter and still enjoy yourself over the festive season – it’s all about making some smart eating choices and making sure you remember to exercise as well.
Manage your portions
The fact that it’s winter doesn’t automatically mean you should eat more. Exercise portion control in the same way you would during the summer – eating to excess will leave you feeling sluggish and bloated and will exasperate conditions such as heartburn and indigestion. Have a smaller amount of the things you fancy and fill up your plate with vegetables and healthier foods instead – you’ll enjoy the same sense of satisfaction without consuming too many calories.
It’s the season for sharing
The festive period is all about sharing – so why not do the same with your food? If you’re heading out for a meal with a friend, why not order a tasty main dish alongside a sumptuous salad and agree to do half and half? You’ll still get to enjoy your meal without worrying about over indulging every time you go out.
Drink more water with meals
It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, and with central heating, warmer layers, etc, you may feel more dehydrated than usual. Drinking water with your meals will not only help you feel hydrated, but will help you feel fuller too. Having a glass or two with your meal can stop you wanting that extra helping – which is especially useful around Christmas party buffets.
Start walking more
Walking is an easy and effective calorie burner. Walking your recommended 10,000 steps a day burns around 500 calories, which can help compensate for the extra calories you might consume over the Christmas period. 10,000 steps is roughly an hour and a half of walking, so by heading out for a walk lunchtime and a walk before dinner, you can soon earn your extra calories on foot.
Eat smarter comfort foods
We all like to indulge in a bit of comfort food over Christmas, but there are plenty of ways you can make it healthier. Making home-cooked soups and stews are likely to be better for you than store-bought ones as they’ll contain less salt and sugar, and will taste so much better. Swapping dairy products for low-fat varieties as well as using vegetables instead of pasta and rice (cauliflower, courgette, butternut squash, etc) can also help to make your dishes healthier without compromising on taste.
Snacking is too easily done during the winter. Between the tins of chocolate, wheels of cheese, salted nuts and biscuits, there’s usually temptation at home, in the office and at friends and families’ homes. If they’re there, then you’ll be more likely to pick at them so not buying them in the first place is a good way to avoid gorging on them. If you buy healthier treats and make sure there’s plenty of fruit around as well, you can encourage healthier snacking.
More information about eating healthier this winter
Breaking old habits and making your pledge to eat healthier will help you beat that dreaded winter bloating phase. You’ll also feel happier and more confident come New Year. Exercise and healthy eating are effective ways of maintaining your weight, and shouldn’t suffer just because it’s winter. For more great ideas about keeping the winter pounds at bay, visit the NHS Choices website which can help you adopt some healthier habits during the colder months.