We get it: it’s cold, dark, and potentially wet outside, not the best recipe to stay off the couch. We’re counting down the days until spring, too!
While it’s tempting to throw in the towel and go into full on hibernation mode until sandal season, you might want to reconsider: winter weight gain is a real thing, and staying curled up on the couch only invites excess snacking.
The human brain is hardwired to seek entertainment and purpose through socialization and recreation.
And no, streaming another episode of your favorite TV show doesn’t exactly count as either, even if your significant other is camped out next to you.
In the absence of that stimuli, you’re prone to seek out entertainment and immediate gratification for the brain’s pleasure centers through other means: namely, food.
If you’re trying to beat the winter snack monster, we’ve got five productive ways to stay off the couch and out of the pantry this winter.
- We all have that nagging mental list of to-do’s that never seem to actually get done. Create a task list of every single thing you’ve been meaning to accomplish (purging the closet, organizing old photos) and turn to your task list each time you feel tempted to hit the couch and enter snack mode.
- Remember that four legged friend you swore you’d walk? We get it, it’s cold, but Spot needs exercise, too. If you have a dog, make his day. Research your dog’s activity needs and commit to accompanying your furry family member on a few weekly walks to make it happen. You’ll watch out for his health and yours at the same time.
- Volunteer! The winter season is a great time to volunteer your time, energy, and skills to a meaningful organization. Find one that fits your needs and fill your would-be TV time with meaningful community engagement. If you want to add a little fitness to the mix, consider volunteering for a sports partnership that encourages exercise in young people.
- Take that netflix queue to go. If you can’t skip your favorite show, take your phone, ipad, or other media device to the gym to stream on the treadmill. You’ll burn Calories and catch up on the latest episode.
- We know, it’s tempting to watch yet another episode of that new hit show that just slid into your Netflix queue, but go to bed, already! Getting enough sleep means you’ll be well rested and ready to make healthy food choices. Studies have consistently shown that being under rested often leads to unhealthy and impulsive food choices.
Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).