Martha Mckittrick Nutrition for Busy People

Getting a Snow Belly? Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

Overweight slob watches TV with belly showing

Another snow storm is predicted this week! When will it end? This weather is making me cranky and unmotivated. Bad weather tends to mean more staying at home, indulging in comfort food, watching more tv and spending  less time Overweight slob watching TVwalking outside and going to the gym. Not a good combo if you are trying to watch your weight, control blood sugar or just be healthy! Read on for tips on how to survive the winter without growing a “snow belly”.

Slug like behavior
I brought my gym clothes to work the other day and planned on working out when I got out.  It was snowing so hard at 7 pm that after walking a few blocks, I went home instead. That’s not like me! I also find myself taking more cabs when usually I would walk. Craving more sandwiches and soups for lunch instead of salads. With another month or so left to winter, these behaviors can be a problem if you’re trying to watch your weight.

How the cold weather can affect you
Less movement
– cold.  The 20 degree temperatures aren’t so conducive for walking to work or exercising outside
-fear of falling. The ice on the streets makes walking dangerous. Many of my clients have fallen in the past few weeks due to slippery streets. One dietetic intern whom  I work with even broke her arm.

More time in front of the tv. First it was football, now it’s the Olympics. And cold weather gives us an added excuse to park our butts on the sofa. And aside from burning minimal calorie on the couch, more time in front of the tv usually means more snacking.  Um …  just because you are watching the Olympics, doesn’t mean you are burning calories!!

Burn fewer calories due to heated homes.  If you spend most of the winter in an apartment with the heat blasting, your body will burn fewer calories. When you are in colder environment, your body needs to increase energy depressed womanexpenditure to stay warm. Read my previous post on this.

Depressed mood due to winter months. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder where they get depressed during the winter months. Experts aren’t sure what causes SAD, but they think it may be due to a lack of sunlight. Lack of light may upset your sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms.   But even if you don’t have this disorder, it is common to feel more “blah” in the cold winter months. (pic credit)

Tips to prevent winter weight gain

1. Get all the tempting unhealthy snacks out of the house. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. And you don’t need to buy cookies/cheese/ice cream/chips  to have on hand for “guests” (I hear this excuse all the time!)

2. Stock up on healthy snack foods like fruit, yogurt, hummus and nuts (individual containers if you have portion control issues), vegetables, and light popcorn.

3. If you find yourself unmotivated to walk the few extra blocks to the grocery store, order from Fresh Direct ahead of time. No excuses to order greasy Chinese food!

4. Find healthy comfort foods. Comfort foods don’t have to be unhealthy. How about a vegetable soup, turkey chili or roasted vegetables? Very easy to make! Stay tuned for a blog post on this.

5. If you usually run or walk outside for exercise, consider a month (or two!) membership at a local gym until the weather warms up.vegetatable soup

6. If motivation is an issue, consider signing up for a month or two of zumba, bootcamp or some other class that requires a commitment. Knowing you pain ahead of time can be a strong motivator.

7. Spend free time at the movies  and away from your  kitchen. The trick here is to bring healthy snacks and avoid the movie theater calorie bombs. Try  Skinny Pop or make your own 100 calorie bag of microwave popcorn at home.

8. Bundle up and walk more – as long as it’s not icy or absolutely freezing. The walking will burn some calories, lower blood sugar and triglycerides and make you feel better.

9. Keep a food record of what you eat. It can make you think twice before snacking more.

10. Make an appointment with me to help keep you on track! Call me at 212 879-5167. Visit my website,

Is anyone else feeling unmotivated and sluggish in this never ending winter?


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I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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