Why is it so hard to maintain or lose weight in the winter?

Posted: Nov 17 in Recipes, Weight Management Strategies by

So what is it with this cold weather? Do you find yourself craving thick , hot stews and homemade bread with lots of butter? Falling temperatures and gray skies make our thoughts stray to comfort foods of yore. What were the family customs when you were a child? Chocolate chip cookies? Chile con queso and chips? Bowls of M&Ms in the house? What in the world happens to our good salad-eating habits?

There are numerous reasons for the “heartier food” cravings: Cold weather does raise our metabolism a bit as we use more calories to warm ourselves. This only works when we’re outside in it, however (darn!). The extra effort of holidays leads us to treat ourselves. How did Halloween go for you? We’re also more tired from all the preparations! The days are shorter and darker – making those yummy carbohydrates even more compelling. Sunshine raises our serotonin levels – missing that, our brains can make it when our blood sugar is high. Bummer!

On top of this, our activity level tends to drop. Gardening, biking, hiking and swimming have been packed away. awaiting the sweet call of Spring. We may watch more TV, catch up on that book, and wish that just thinking about the treadmill will raise our metabolism.

So what’s a calorie conscious consumer to do? Move to a warmer climate? Take a long tropical vacation? It’s time to get out the winter tools (not just the shovels and scrapers). Think crock-pot recipes, roasted vegetables and hot, spicy drinks! Clear broth soups and stews thickened with vegetables are so satisfying and hearty, with little fat or starch. Think beans instead of rice (more protein and fiber) and lean proteins like chicken breast. Spicy hot tea is a lovely little lift at the end of a cold day. Good Earth tea has great flavors.

Here’s a super simple crock-pot meal for a cold day:

Mediterranean chicken- serves 6 241 calories, 7.8 gm fat, 21 gm carb, 20 gm protein

3 small boneless chicken breasts, cubed

2 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can artichoke hearts

1/2 c. red wine

3 tsp low sodium Better than Bouillon, chicken flavor (In the soup aisle on the top shelf)

1/2 c, water to mix with the bouillon paste

1 Tb dried oregano, crushed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Mix all ingredients in the crock-pot

Cook on low 8 hours

You may throw in a can of black beans as well, if you’d like.

Stay warm, eat well. Put on some music and dance!

Happy Autumn!

Tracy Boykin, RD




3 Responses to “Why is it so hard to maintain or lose weight in the winter?”
  • Aimee says:

    I’m excited to try out the crock pot recipe, thanks for sharing!

  • Stephanie Muckey says:

    Yum, Tracey!…Another easy crock pot idea:
    Put a few skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the crockpot. Add a small jar of your favorite salsa, and cook until chicken shreds apart easily (around 6 hours) Add some jalapenos or green chiles, lime juice (or whatever you like!) at the end of cooking time. This is awesome to put on a bed of lettuce with a little lowfat cheese, plain yogurt (instead of sour cream) and black beans for a taco salad! Or put it in a corn tortilla with some cilantro/cabbage slaw!

  • Tracy Boykin says:

    Thanks, Steph! Yours looks easier and more flexible than mine. I’m trying it next!

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