With short days, colder weather, and fewer tasty, nutritious produce available, it’s pretty common to let healthy habits slack in the winter months. But come spring, you may start to notice that you’ve put on a few pounds or you lack the energy for those fun, warm-weather activities. Spring is the best time to start getting back into healthy habits—the warmer weather can help bring new energy into your body and it’s perfect for increasing your activity levels. Plus, the longer hours of sunshine mean you can safely spend that extra active time outdoors. Not to mention that your grocery store or local farmer’s market will start serving some new produce with the season change. Many of those spring superfoods (like asparagus and strawberries!) can help freshen up your menu. Spring is the best time to start losing that winter weight!
To learn more about how to lose winter weight by summer, we spoke with Mary Sabat, a nutritionist, personal trainer, and founder of BodyDesigns by Mary. She said that it is possible to lose winter weight by summer with a combination of healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Find out more about her step-by-step plan below!
READ MORE: These Are The Foods You Need To Cut Out Now To Lose Weight By Spring
How To Lose Winter Weight
Everyone knows that eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet and getting regular exercise is the best way to shed pounds. Although this may sound intimidating, dieting just means eating healthy, lower-calorie meals while exercise means being more physically active. When you’re consistently active, your body uses energy (or calories) to move. This helps you burn the calories you take in with the food you eat.
“The best kinds of exercises to lose weight are those that combine cardiovascular activities with strength training. Examples include running, cycling, swimming, weight lifting, and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts.” Sabat says. Whatever activity you do, make sure that you enjoy it so that you can do it regularly. “The frequency of exercise depends on your fitness level and goals. However, most people can benefit from exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.” You can then gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you get fitter.
And, when it comes to dieting, Sabat says that it’s best to focus on a low-calorie diet that features plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. “Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-fat foods,” she continues. “Think about your plate in sections with 1/2 being non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 being lean organic protein and 1/4 being high fiber, low-glycemic starch with a sliver of healthy fat.” Sabat says if you eat this way, which is similar to the Mediterranean diet, you will not only lose weight but this diet can help decrease inflammation and improve your overall health.
For a more in-depth, step-by-step plan for losing weight, Sabat recommends:
1. Set a weight loss goal that is achievable and realistic.
2. Make a meal plan that includes healthy, low-calorie foods and snacks.
3. Keep track of what you eat by using a food journal or app.
4. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, aiming for at least
5. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
6. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
7. Get enough sleep, as sleep deprivation can affect weight loss efforts.
8. Consider working with a registered dietitian or personal trainer for personalized guidance and support.
Her other tips for losing winter weight include:
1. Focus on making small, sustainable changes to your diet and exercise habits.
2. Find a workout buddy or join a fitness class to stay motivated.
3. Practice mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues.
4. Avoid crash diets or extreme exercise programs that can be harmful to your health.
5. Celebrate your successes and don’t get discouraged by setbacks.
The Bottom Line
There’s no question it’s easier to make healthy choices in spring and summer. But, while there are some challenges to losing weight in the winter, you can still lose that winter weight this spring. Sabat suggests a combination of healthy dieting and regular excise. She encourages a balanced, low-calorie diet, drinking lots of water, and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. For exercise, Sabat recommends a combination of cardiovascular activities (like jumping rope!) and strength training. Most of all, she says to focus on making small, effective changes to your diet and exercise routine and to set achievable weight goals. And, be sure to celebrate your successes—no matter how small!