winter weight gain

This week’s Self-Care Sunday installment focuses on physical wholeness and will help you avoid winter weight gain.

How to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

I know, talking about winter weight gain on the day after fall is like stores selling Christmas decorations before Halloween. But trust me, planning self-care routines ahead of time pays off big.

The older I get, the more difficult it is for me to keep off the extra pounds when I stop my regular routine. What about you? I’ve also discovered that my turnaround time on habits takes longer as I get older.

Planning provides the key to avoiding weight gain during the holidays. When we plan, it allows us to see ourselves in the future. This, in turn, helps guide our actions in the present. When we say things like, “I’ll probably gain weight over the holidays,” our words turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we tell ourselves bad stories, they happen because our mind thinks they HAVE to happen.

If we tell ourselves good stories, “Anita will eat in moderation over the holidays and avoid putting on extra weight,” that, too, becomes a scenario that plays out in our lives. Our minds can act as powerful tools to help us make changes.

Notice the difference between the negative and positive stories. In the first scenario, I used the first-person personal pronoun ‘I’ to refer to myself. Psychologists have discovered that using the ‘I’ pronoun actually allows our inner voice to treat us more harshly. When we switch to talking to ourselves about ourselves in third-person singular—Anita, instead of I—we use gentler, more encouraging language.

So, the first key to avoiding winter weight gain is to start talking positively about yourself in the third person. I’ll share some of Anita’s goals:
• Anita will be fit and healthy for her daughter’s wedding in January.
• In order to avoid injury, Anita will do PiYo three times a week.
• Anita will run 3-4 times a week and train for a half-marathon in February.
• Because she wants to spend time with family and avoid stress eating, Anita will work hard to have blog posts written and scheduled for December by the end of December.

Form Good Habits

Want to avoid winter weight gain? Start planning now! Check out these strategies for goal-setting, healthy self-talk, and accountability. You CAN form new habits! #holiday #weight #healthAccording to James Clear, another great way to form new habits involves stacking the habits you want to attain with habits you already have. For example, I want to do yoga three times a week because I know the importance of flexibility and muscle mass. But yoga is slow and a little boring for me.

Instead of just saying that I ‘will do yoga’ three times a week, I need to name a time, place, and method as well as stack the habit with one I already have established.

“Anita will do Piyo (a faster method of yoga combined with Pilates) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings AFTER she finishes her devotions.”

See what I did there? I have a hard time seeing myself doing PiYo three mornings a week, because I can always come up with something more entertaining to do. Waste time on Facebook, for example. But I CAN see Anita walking into her office after her devotions, opening up her computer and logging on to Beach Body on Demand, and spending 25 minutes with Chalene Johnson.

When you attach a new habit you’d like to form to a good habit you already have, it makes it easier to remember. Bonus points if you think kindly about yourself in the third person when stacking your habits.

Don't miss these tips and hacks for avoiding winter weight gain! #healthy #winter #selfcare Click To Tweet

Find a Friend or a Competition

Do you usually gain weight over the holidays? Start planning now! Check out these strategies for goal-setting, healthy self-talk, and accountability. You CAN form new habits! #holiday #weight #health

Psychologist Dr. Gail Matthews “found that more than 70 percent of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend reported successful goal achievement (completely accomplished their goal or were more than half way there), compared to 35 percent of those who kept their goals to themselves, without writing them down.”

In addition, when we want to attain a physical goal such as losing weight, exercising more, or not gaining weight over the holidays, a little friendly competition goes a long way.

By using a combination of accountability with a friend and competition we can encourage ourselves in healthy ways to achieve our goals of keeping off the winter weight gain. Fall is the perfect time to plan out goals for mid-winter and find friends to report to.

Of course, we all have self-accountability as a tool, and this post explores some gadgets and gizmos that help keep us accountable.

Plan Ahead

Fall is also the time to shop for equipment you’ll need to accomplish your goals. If you hate exercising outside in the cold, buy a treadmill now so that you have no excuse to stop your routine. Maybe you love running through snowstorms, but you don’t have the proper equipment. Buy it now. The satisfaction of preparedness will carry you through the rough transitions.

Investigate at-home exercise programs if you hate driving to the gym (I love Beach Body on Demand). If you hate exercising alone, check out gym memberships now and firmly establish the habit before the holidays swamp you.

If you’re looking for a community of like-minded people, you may want to check out Faithful Finish Lines (affiliate link). Faithful Finish Lines will combine:

  • Prayer, the power of Christ, community, and the healthy living tips in our faithful finish lines.
  • 7 Weeks to Christian Weight Loss, Healthy Eating, & Fitness is an online healthy eating & fitness program for Christian women.
  • Feel stronger, healthier, and more fit starting the first week.
  • Change your “I know I need to do something” to “I’m so thankful I did something” in your health and wellness.
  • Provide a grace-filled place. You won’t see strict diets, lists of unrealistic rules, or guilt. Fumbles are understood as part of the process.

Whatever you do, do something! You don’t have to silently stand by while your body succumbs to winter weight gain.

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your favorite posts from last week!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer—just do it!

A bonus for you!

Subscribe to receive weekly reminders about the Inspire Me Monday Link up, and I'll send you Ten Quick Ways to Make Your Blog Better.

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  1. Thanks for these helpful tips, Anita. I agree about the importance of planning ahead. It’s so easy for me to give myself permission to overeat or not exercise when I haven’t formed a game plan ahead of time. And accountability is so important in every realm of life! Love my accountability partners! Pinned and tweeted this great and informative post, my friend!

  2. These are great tips! I’m going to have to start talking about myself in the third person! Planning ahead and having goals are so important- it’s too easy just to drift otherwise. I’ll definitely be trying some of these.

  3. Anita,
    All great ideas. I like – don’t just plan the days…plan the times. I write it in my calendar like an appointment. I’m actually looking forward to being more active this fall and winter. Here in the South, I become a slug in the hot, humid summers and the crisp chill of fall invigorates me. Having been sidelined with injuries, I’m looking forward to being more active this winter and shedding the weight I’ve put on. Much needed post.
    Bev xx

  4. Anita, I had a hard time starting your post because what about the summer gain. However, once I calmed down and realized I don’t need winter gain on top of summer gain I read on. Wow, what great points.

    It does sound better when we use our name instead of I.

    Thank you for your encouraging and helpful post.


  5. Now that I am running fewer miles, due to injury, I find that I must eat smaller portions or I will gain weight. It’s something I have to remind myself to be careful of!

  6. When we moved to the mountains of NC in 1988 and got settled in a church – Carol told me one winter season she gained 40 lbs eating apples with peanut butter. Needless to say……………..xo

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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