We had a big cold snap here in the Thumb of Michigan. 6-8 inches of snow was dumped on us overnight. Our low temps for the day will dip into the negatives (Fahrenheit) this week. Brrrrr! Winter for many people in the U.S. is frustrating when it comes to staying fit and keeping pesky pounds off. There are those of you who have sunny, gorgeous weather who make us northerners are jealous! No need to fret, though. You can breeze through winter with a few helpful tips.
Make healthy food swaps when preparing your favorite comfort foods. Here are some that are easy and taste great:
- Use almond milk or rice milk with the lower calorie count instead of regular milk. There are 30-60 calorie unsweetened versions that taste great.
- Use plain yogurt instead of sour cream. One thing I do when I crave cheesecake is to put vanilla yogurt on a toaster waffle with fresh or thawed frozen berries on top. You can save a tobbogan load of calories!
- Use vegetable broth in your chili, chicken tortilla or stuffed pepper soups to cut calories and keep flavor. I use it to make my potato soup, leaving out 100-200 calories which tastes fabulous.
- Love oatmeal? Go for it, but leave the sugary packets of flavored stuff at the store. Sweeten with stevia. You might also like Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine hot cereal. They also have one with quinoa that gives a great protein boost and lessens the carb calories.
- Cut the amount of cheese you use to 1/2 in all of your dishes. Cream low fat cottage cheese 1-2 tablespoons of low cal milk or milk alternative to add for your scalloped foods to keep creaminess.
- Hot chocolate lover? Make your own! Use the 30-40 calorie milk alternative. Heat milk on stove, add chocolate powder and honey. Tasty, healthy, AND low cal. Awesome!
- Pasta is a wintertime favorite. Make it smart by using a wholegrain pasta like Ronzoni Smart Taste or one with quinoa to pack a protein punch. Add ground turkey and lightly saute'd veggies to cut down on the pasta portion. Going paleo? Try spaghetti squash or shredded zucchini.
Skin and Hair
Hair and skin take a beating in the winter! Drying and damage can leave you frizzled! Here are a few ideas to help you glow:
- Drink water! Hydration keeps those cells healthy.
- Get enough omega-3 fatty acids. Those who diet are prone to dry, flaky skin and frizzy hair. Our cells are made up of lipid (fat) bi-layers. You need 20-30% of your total calorie intake from healthy fats.
- Use argan oil after you wash your hair. Just one or two drops on your hand, rub hands together then run them through your hair. This lightweight oil keeps moisture locked into your hair.
- Skip the toner and use witch hazel instead. Witch hazel helps kill bacteria that causes breakouts, but isn't as drying as regular toner that is full of alcohol. Use a dab of tea tree oil for zits. Moisturize!
- Eat lean meats, low fat dairy, and plenty of green veggies. What you eat feeds your skin and hair.
- Use a good lotion with shea butter, cocoa butter, or a super hydrating brand. Avoid the ones with alcohol near the top of the list. I like 365 brand Maximum Moisture from Whole Foods myself, but Nivea or Every Body are also great.
- Use a good lip balm like Burt's Bees. The combination of oils and wax seal in natural moisture.Another great brand is Kiss My Face.
- Use sunscreen and wear sunglasses.You can still get sunburn or damage your eyes on a sunny day with the snow reflecting rays back at you.
Cold weather exercise demands a different treatment. Frostbite and hypothermia can easily take over. Here is how to stay toasty and not have to look like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow jogging down the street:
- Layer your clothing so you can peel off extra if you overheat. Under Armor and some other great brands of under garments and lightweight outerwear draw moisture away from the body while holding the body heat in.
- Ski pants can help keep your legs warm if you need more.They are designed to move.
- Find a coat that moves with you. The fluffy kind is too bulky. Look for one that is designed for skiing and physical activity.Columbia and Zero Exposur are two brands I've worn. I found them for less moolah at stores like Burlington Coat Factory. The materials and layering affect holds the heat in whole allowing you to pull your coat apart. I have one that can be three different jackets in one. One can be zipped out so you wear either layer after the initial warm-up and beginning cardio phase. The hood keeps cold out and allows some heat to escape from the head to avoid overheating, yet freezing from sweat.
- Wear thin gloves under mittens to keep fingers from frostbite.Find warm socks made for winter. TSC, yes, a farm and tractor supply store, is a great place to find warm thermal socks. Walmart has their own version, but I like the ones from TSC better. They are made for working outside for long periods of time.
- Wear a lightweight hat. We lose the majority of our heat through our heads.
- If your nose hurts during exercise, use a knit winter headband across nose area of face.You can also cold weather masks at a sporting goods store while still breathing and keeping your nose from frostbite. It can also help reduce your chances of cold-induced chest pain, which I learned about with my first husband's experience.
- Find leather or waterproof athletic shoes! It may take a bit of searching, but they do exist. Ryka has some. They will help keep snow and water away from feet. You can clean them with a leather cleaner and conditioner which locks out water.
Cold weather can be a great time to get and stay fit. You can run, bike, skate and ski amidst the flakes then sit down to a wonderful cup of soup to warm you up. Enjoy!
Many blessings to you!