winter weight gain

Each year we talk about the winter weight gain.  We joke about it, prepare for it, and have clothes in the back of the closet ready for it.  Thing is, we think it actually comes from the winter and we don’t do something about it until it’s far too late and we’re all making resolutions to go to the gym and be ready for photos by spring break.  Or so-n-so’s graduation, or wedding.

Here’s the deal, I’m gonna break it to you like this:  Lies.  All lies.  Even you.  You’re lying to yourself!  Do you really think “winter weight gain” occurs because of something that happens in the winter?  Is this honestly a seasonal disorder?  Is it anyone or anything’s fault but your own, really?  You won’t even be half honest with yourself until NYE when you’ll make the same declaration last year, but only half-ass your intention like “I’m going to eat better and work out more”, which leaves a lot of room for you to make the same excuses and self-sabotaging behavior and lifestyle pardons you always do.  And that doesn’t magically pop up the second we hear Christmas music playing at the mall.  Nope.  That happened the second you were allowed to put more layers of clothes on your body, the moment kids were back in school and you were governed by their activities, sports, projects and school affairs.  It happened the moment you were excused from taking pictures in a tank top and pair of shorts.  When pumpkin spiced everything exploded across recipe blogs, food magazines, coffee shops, bakeries, grocery stores, and restaurants.  Your winter weight gain, my friend, starts in the Fall.  Here’s my top 5 guilty culprits:

  1. Back to School/End of Summer

The misconception here is that everyone thinks they’ll actually have more time but it’s not true.  We have a problem believing that our kids have to be involved in everything in order to grow up and be successful and this is all fear mongering subconscious beliefs that I don’t have enough time to get into.  But what happens is we become enslaved to their schedule demands.  Everything revolves around activities, clubs, fundraisers, concerts, games etc and we end up living in our cars going from one place to another.  And because of this, we don’t have time to actually plan, shop and cook meals that are healthy and whole.  Even when we try to eat healthy on the run, the truth is we’re still filling ourselves up with processed hydrogenated oils.  And that kind of food will make you sluggish, tired and experience blood sugar crashes needing more caffeine or sugar to pick you back up.  We get into that cycle and don’t think we have a choice to get out.

  1. Fashion Colors & Layers

But who cares?  Bring on the sugar and endless cups of coffee because you can’t reeeeally tell those 3lbs. made themselves at home in your hips and belly when you get to wear large, loose, dark layers for Fall!  Most of the time we don’t even notice this about ourselves!  A few pounds ain’t enough to actually make your belt loop move a notch.  So it creeps up on you without you knowing it.  It’s the additional pound here and two pounds there on top of it  that we begin to notice!

  1. Pumpkin-Cinnamon-Apple everything

For the love of the land people!  Every year I will join everyone else in complaining that Christmas keeps coming earlier, it seems, and groan about decorations and music starting in September.  But while we’re all bitchin’ about Christmas coming too soon, we’re sipping on our pumpkin spiced vanilla cream chai lattes with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar sprinkles,  burning our pumpkin spice candles and air fresheners, and snacking on pumpkin bread with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  And the irony is that simultaneously we’re mocking all the fast food chains for their ridiculous pumpkin pie milkshakes.  Like really.  Who would even drink that?  And here’s an extra piece of information most of you don’t know:  scented candles can, will and do mess with your cravings.  What happens when you’re trying to eat clean and healthier but you have the perpetual burning essence of warm tollhouse cookies, or pumpkin spice and apple pie glowing in your home?

weight peanut butter cups

  1. Halloween Candy

So last week my partner and I were at Costco picking up a few things, and we noticed that so many people had their carts loaded up with those giant bags of halloween candy.  And I look at my wrist as a gesture to check the date and time (I don’t wear a watch). But y’all.  It was still September.  Here’s my suggestion:  if you know it’s tempting, then don’t keep it in the house.  It’s likely that those bags of candy won’t make it to Halloween, and trust me, their MANUFACTURING COMPANIES COUNT ON IT!  All those little miniature sized candy bars do add up.  A quick little bite sized candy bar on the way out the door in the morning, a couple every time you pass the candy dish on the admin’s desk, in the snack room, at the doctor’s office, on the desk at your CPA, one from the dish at your grocery store’s customer service counter, a couple after dinner.  When it’s all said and done, you’ve developed a habit of eating 2 to 3 candy bars a day.  If you think miniature bite sized x, y, and z are harmless, you’re lying to yourself.  Which brings me to….

  1. Your Lies

We make up a lot of stories to feel better about ourselves and our choices.  We do this so often and have been doing them for so long, we don’t even notice we’re doing it.  In fact, we do this to our kids and they grow up conditioned to believe them the same way we do and we’re all walking around lying.  So what am I talking about?  I’m referring to the little beliefs we reaffirm to ourselves with every changing of the season, every holiday, every event, every celebration.  We tell ourselves we’re good enough only if and when  we bake cookies for back to school night, take the kids out for pizza because they won their baseball game, treat ourselves to pumpkin spice lattes because we earned it (it’s friday), it’s Fall we can only get pumpkin flavored things once a year, bite sized candy bars only come around for Halloween it’s no big deal, we’ll just fast tomorrow or skip breakfast and workout an extra hour, we can’t celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving without pie and cider and hot toddies and only good moms treat their families to a dessert festival buffet from pinterest recipes we spend all year pinning, we don’t have time to make healthy meals (though ironically we have time to make vanilla pumpkin shortbread cookies in the shape of pumpkins), we’re gonna gain weight anyway, might as well push the “discipline” off until January 1.  

This is just a short list, but it’s my top five based on experience and client history.  These things sneak up on us and affect us before we know it at all, and we always blame candy canes and snickerdoodles as if – magically – our little Elf on the Shelf likes to deliver a pound of fat every night from the North Pole.  It’s okay, we can keep telling ourselves that.  “Ugh, winter!  It just happened!  It always happens, nothing I can do!”

But guess what.  You CAN do something about it.  For a little bonus post-script, I’m going to share with you my top five ways to AVOID the “Fall Into Winter Weight Gain” scenario:

  1. Make a plan before it starts

Your awareness is all you need.  If you know when and how it all starts, then be prepared for it.  And by prepared, I mean get ready to face some serious conditioned beliefs that manifest values which no longer serve you.  It’s true!  And it’s hard.  But I think we all know we’re good parents, wives, husbands, grandparents, friends, and co-workers without all the sugar and junk.  Right?  START PINNING HEALTHY, PALEO ALTERNATIVES on Pinterest instead.  Google and search for things like “SCD recipes”, “paleo, primal, gluten free, grain free” recipes etc.

  1. Get rid of the excuses!

Halloween is just the tip of the iceberg and commercial advertising companies depend on your excuses to make money on every turn.  They prey on your excuses.  Don’t fall for it this time.

  1. Don’t fall for the pumpkin flavored everything

You can eat pumpkin all year round, believe it or not.  PUMPKIN CAN BE VERY GOOD FOR YOU!  But the craze is simply that, a craze.  A marketing ploy and scheme to get your dollars.  

  1. Don’t buy halloween candy!

Every year we hand out bubbles, glow sticks, tattoos, stickers and fun stuff.  You can get those in bulk and super cheap from orientaltrading.com or even the dollar store.  Kids will get enough candy, give them something fun to do and look forward to other than hyperactivity, sugar crashes and mood swings!  Also, check out my IDEA ABOUT THE SWITCH WITCH!

  1. Change your outlook!

It’s easier said than done, but if you keep putting it off this will always continue to repeat itself and happen.  The lies, the excuses, the fall into victimhood while we accept to live in our loose layers and yoga pants for 6 months.  Seasons and holidays can be enjoyed without all the sugar, junk, desserts, and alcohol.  They can!  And if you’re looking for new ways to celebrate, there are so many other healthy alternatives!  CHECK THEM OUT!