I recently read a study that showed that as the seasons change and fall sets in, the average person will consume 200 additional calories a day mostly from carbohydrates. Some say this is linked to the biological pull our ancestors felt in advance of the winter when food was scarce and famine was a real possibility. It could also be attributed to fall and winter meals being larger. Or maybe it’s that the pressure of bathing suit season is off.
While 200 calories may not seem like much, this time of year is also when people’s activity level tends to dip. The combination of increased calories and less physical activity can result in 4-5 extra pounds by the time spring rolls around. Here are some ways to not fall into the seasonal change rut.
- Enjoy fall flavors by loading up on nutritious and high fiber fruits and vegetables like apples, squash, beets, carrots, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Use them generously in soups and stews or roasted in the oven.
- Get outside and enjoy the fall weather. The fall is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities that are tougher in the summer heat. Try brisk walks, jogging or running, hiking, biking and even canoeing.
- Commit to staying active. Resist the urge to go into hibernation mode. Make a commitment to staying active by joining a gym, choosing a group fitness activity or signing up for a fitness challenge or race.
- Think before you drink. Don’t fall into the pumpkin spice latte trap. Sure, they’re delicious and give you that cozy feeling, but they’re also loaded with sugar and hundreds of calories. Make them healthier by skipping the syrup and whipped cream and opting for low fat milk or unsweetened almond milk instead.
- Don’t wait for January to make a resolution. The change of seasons is a great time to make positive changes in your life. Set some goals to strive for before the end of the year and make a plan for how to achieve them.