Winter is filled with all things cozy. From snuggling up to binge-watch your favorite flicks and reading a book by the fireplace, to baking cookies and sipping hot cocoa, it’s extremely relatable to want to kick back and relax after work and on weekends. But when you’re less physically active and indulging in seasonal treats, that’s a surefire recipe to pack on extra weight. Don’t start stressing, because if you’re looking to drop a size and get back into shape, an expert shares exactly what you should do.
We chatted with Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, nutrition writer and owner of Melissa Mitri Nutrition, who reveals how to drop a size if you’ve put on some excess fat this winter. Keep reading to learn her five best-recommended tips so you can take action ASAP. And next, don’t miss 5 Best Foods To Eat Every Day To Burn Belly Fat, Dietitian Says.
Cut back on your alcohol consumption.
There are pros and cons when it comes to drinking alcohol. On the one hand, according to Nourish by WebMD, drinking moderately can boost your heart health, help you avoid kidney stones, and may even lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, over-drinking can put you at risk of suffering from car crashes and falls. In the long term, you could even endure health complications such as liver damage or heart disease, according to WebMD.
Mitri explains that alcohol is also packed with sugar and calories, which you may not consider when pouring your favorite glass of pinot grigio. She dubs it “one of the biggest culprits for holiday weight gain” and suggests limiting drinking all types of alcohol as much as you can, such as one to two drinks a week. “[This] will help you de-bloat and lose those unnecessary calories,” she says.
Kick up your cardio.
Bring your workouts to the next level by incorporating higher-intensity cardio. Mitri explains, “This can help you burn fat and unwanted water weight in a short amount of time. Think run/walk intervals, speed walking, or jump roping to really get your heart rate going.”
And science backs this up! According to research, performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a productive form of cardio, is linked to reduced belly fat and total body fat in half the amount of time when compared to steady-state exercise.
Limit processed foods.
Processed foods are not your friends when you’re looking to stay healthy and in shape. “The majority of processed, packaged foods are laden with saturated fat, sugar, and salt,” Mitri tells us. “All of these can cause you to hold onto that extra weight a bit longer. Instead, base your grocery list off the perimeter of the store—including lean proteins, fresh and frozen produce, and whole grains.”
Ditch the salt.
If you notice the scale moving up in one week’s time, or as little as a few days, the salty foods you’ve been eating could be to blame, according to WebMD.
“Too much salt is another trigger for weight gain,” Mitri says. “Especially if you’ve gained weight quickly, much of this is likely from extra water weight caused by salt intake. To bring your salt intake down, take a break from the salt shaker, and focus on whole foods, herbs, and spices instead.”
Use smaller plates for meals.
Last but not least, consider utilizing smaller plates for homemade meals. Enjoying cozy winter recipes with friends and family typically involves larger plates and serving platters. This can make it easy to overeat.
“Now that the holidays are over, break out the smaller salad or appetizer-sized plates and use these for your meals instead,” Mitri suggests. “Just this one simple swap can cut hundreds of calories from your day without any feeling of deprivation.”