Written by BounceBack Nutrition Expert Marissa Lippert
Get ready to kiss February goodbye. We're that much closer to the last push through a long, cold, frost-bitten winter. By this point, most of us are trying to figure out how exactly to get through it all until Spring hits, and how to make the resolutions you made back in January actually stick. It's not always easy when all you really want to do is lay bundled on the couch beneath a heap of blankets with a big bowl of mac n' cheese and a massive glass of red wine. Motivating to hunker down and blast through the next few weeks until warmer weather officially hits without gaining excess "winter-comfort food weight" may sound painful, but it's definitely doable when you're focused on small, scalable steps.
Start simple and build on these 4 ways to stay smart until spring:
- Write your top 3 to 5 goals down on paper. Concrete accountability works every time. Keep your goals around where you can actually see them (on your fridge, computer, a post-it on your mirror, whatever works)! Whether your charge is to drink more water, make dinner at home more frequently, rehabilitate your bank account, up your exercise or eat more fruits and vegetables, consider making each goal measurable and set an achievable deadline for yourself.
- Work comfort foods and heavier meals into your week. Plan ahead to allot for a few (we're talking 3 or less) more-indulgent meals throughout the week. This allows you to be strategically sneaky - you know when those heavier meals out (or at home) are coming, and when it's time to lighten up and hit up a some roasted chicken and Brussels sprouts or a homemade beef stew or white bean soup (still comfort-foody, but on the healthier side of things). When working in heavier, indulgent meals try to be that much more conscious of portion sizes...it's easy to blow them out of the water when restaurants serve entrees fit for two or three people. Slow down and enjoy the ride (or rather, the food and the flavor) and you'll end up eating less overall and feeling more satisfied more quickly.
- Get creative and cook comfort at home. Use wintry fruits and vegetables and heartier, homemade dishes to your advantage. Cooking at home when you can puts you in the drivers seat as far as ingredients and serving sizes. Bulking your plate up with vegetables (or fruit) keeps calories in check and makes cold-weather dishes like pastas, chili, stews, casseroles, roasted leg of lamb much more feasible...as there's only so much room on the plate for them! A few seasonal fruits and vegetables to consider experimenting with: citrus fruits (grapefruit, clementines, oranges/blood oranges), kiwi, Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard, dark leafy greens, root vegetables (sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, celeriac, beets). And some quick cold-weather meal ideas that are on the lighter side, but pack in comfort and serious flavor: anything roasted! (chicken, leg of lamb, lean brisket); veggie or turkey chili; beef stew with carrots, onions and potatoes; braised lamb shank or chicken in red wine sauce; whole wheat pasta (or regular - either way, aim to keep portions to under 1.5 to 2 cups) with chicken sausage and broccoli rabe/broccoli; pasta with meatballs, mushrooms and green peppers (whatever vegetables you can throw in); hearty bean-based soups and stews like minestrone, lentil, black bean and more.
Watch the vino. Trust us, we're never ones to dismiss a glass of gorgeous wine - red, white, or rose (we don't discriminate when it comes to the grape), but if wine or other alcoholic beverages are coming into the picture more frequently than you realize - and adding excess calories over the course of a given week, you might want to reconsider the following:
- How many glasses am I actually having over a week and has it crept it up higher than my norm? (read: why are my jeans fitting a bit tighter than usual?)
- If you're prone to pouring a nice-sized glass at home after a long day at work, think about pouring a smaller glass. You'll get your quick fix without busting resolutions and potentially staving off a few extra lbs before warm-weather and bikini season hits. We could mention to drop the wine completely at least a few days a week, or to sip a glass of club soda in between, but if it's not feasible, work with an achievable goal that actually is! Scaling back 20-25% over a week isn't an insurmountable task.
- A typical 5 oz pour of wine averages 110-120 calories and typical restaurant pours average around 6-8 oz. 100 extra calories consumed everyday for a year equals out to 10 pounds potentially gained. Damn it!