In winter, it seems like life slows down in a variety of ways. Maybe that’s because we need a break after the busy holiday season or because we have a natural urge to “hibernate” when the days are short and the weather outside is cold. With our bodies hidden beneath a few layers of clothes, we may also feel like easing back on our healthy lifestyles and setting aside our weight loss goals for a few months.
Just as spring always follows winter, however, we will soon be shedding the heavy clothes and thinking about dropping extra pounds in time for the return of warm, sunny days. The best time to prepare for swimsuit season is right now, so stay on track with your weight loss plan all year round.
The good news: you can still enjoy the comfort foods that make you feel cozy when the weather outside is frightful AND continue losing weight. We’ve gathered all of our best hints and belly-warming recipes and compiled them into one winter weight loss guide, so you’ll find it easy to live and eat well all season and keep moving toward your goal.
Did you know stress can prevent weight loss? Research shows that the chronically high levels of the stress hormone cortisol is associated with abdominal obesity. (Learn more about the connection between stress and weight loss here! >)
De-stress and show yourself a little love this winter with some self-care. Whether you love reading a good book or doing a challenging puzzle, now is the perfect time to cozy up at home and enjoy the activities and hobbies that you love. Not only will they bring you joy, but they may also help reduce your stress levels.
The journey to your healthy weight is also impacted by the simple steps you take every day. We’re talking about drinking plenty of fluids, even when you’re not perspiring in the heat. You should also be getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Find out why these actions are so important this time of year and learn about seven other easy ways to keep shedding pounds this season right here. >
Winter conditions can put extra stress on our bodies, so we need a steady supply of the essential nutrients to stay healthy and strong.
Vitamin D plays a key role in metabolism, but we need exposure to sunlight for our bodies to produce it. Vitamin C gives our immune systems a potent boost, which is especially important during the cold and flu season.
Learn more about the five key nutrients your body needs more of this winter at the link below. It tells you all you need to know about how to replenish these and three other critical nutrients:
Exercising outdoors in winter can be invigorating and even fun. First, be sure you stay comfortable with the right kind of clothing. You can get ideas for what to wear from our list of 11 cold weather workout essentials. >
Brisk walking will warm you up quickly. Shoveling snow not only heats you up, but it also works your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs), tones your muscles and burns more than 200 calories in a half hour (average for a 155-pound person).
You get about the same calorie-burning benefits—and have a lot more fun—when you ice skate or ski. Whatever you choose to do, keep in mind our winter workout tips for cold weather exercise below:
If exercising outside in cold weather gives you the shivers, you can still get in your recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity indoors. Calisthenics, stair-climbing and jumping rope are just a few easy home workouts for the living room. Dancing is one activity the whole family will enjoy, plus it burns off 200 calories or more in a half hour of shaking and shimmying.
You might not think of winter as swimming season, but pool exercise is good for you at any time of year. You don’t even have to be a good swimmer. Water aerobics classes or just walking in the pool are low-impact workouts that burn calories and tone muscles. Still not convinced? Check out the article below which will give you inspiration and ideas for jumping in:
When you’re ready for a lunch or dinner that will warm you from the inside out, the Nutrisystem menu is loaded with tempting choices like these:
Café-Style Creamy Tomato Soup is a new addition that’s made with tangy, slow-roasted tomatoes, rich chicken broth, parmesan cheese, and real heavy cream.
Chili-Style Beans is a chili-seasoned mix of red beans and savory beef stock. Raise your internal temperature by adding as much hot sauce (a Free food) as you’d like.
Dig into a bowl of our warm Chicken Noodle Soup and you’ll feel your whole body start to glow as you spoon up the tender chicken, noodles, carrots, celery and the flavorful broth.
Eating Hearty Beef Stew is like sitting by a crackling fire. It just makes you feel warm all over. Fragrant and full of tender beef chunks and potatoes, this homestyle classic tastes like it’s been slow cooking for hours.
When it’s your turn to cook, you can make delicious soups, casseroles and other winter comfort dishes even if you don’t have advanced cooking skills or hours to spend in the kitchen. Try some of these simple but satisfying choices:
4-Step Chicken Parm Soup starts with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and a few other basic ingredients, including real mozzarella cheese, and it’s ready to eat in about 30 minutes.
One-Pot Shrimp and Sausage Stew will fill your home with the aromas of warm spices and light up your taste buds with the flavors of New Orleans.
Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Cabbage and Sweet Potato Fries hits the spot when you’re craving a hearty meal after a busy day. It all cooks together in one pan, so the cooking and clean-up are hassle-free.
A steaming cup of hot chocolate makes any winter day a bit more comfortable. Avoid the calorie-laden (and pricey!) drinks at coffee shops and make your own healthy version.
We love our recipes for Healthy Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate and Peppermint White Hot Chocolate. They’ll warm you up without weighing you down, so they’re perfect for sipping as you curl up with a good book or a new binge-worthy show this season.
If you’re craving something a little more substantial, our recipe for a Cinnamon Protein Mug Cake comes together in minutes and is easy to enjoy on the couch, too!