Working out is only part of the equation. Add a few other slimming habits to your to-do list for success you can see and feel.
—Weigh yourself weekly. "Although weight fluctuates due to water retention and menstrual cycles, seeing numbers consistently creep up over a couple of weeks may be motivation to make some changes," says Kleiner. If you're noticing bigger digits, step up your activity level or trim portions.
—Consider a supplement. Levels of vitamin D, which your body makes when exposed to sunlight or gets from food, plummet in the winter. And people with excess weight have lower levels of the nutrient. "Taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day can benefit you during the winter, unless your doctor says you're low in it and may need to take more," explains Scott Kahan, M.D., associate director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. Studies show taking D also decreases depression in women during winter and may help you fend off colds and flu.
—Sneak in movement. Instead of e-mailing your colleague, walk to her office; if you're waiting at the pediatrician's, choose to stand versus sitting; and swap resting on your couch as you chat on the phone with walking around your house. Surprisingly, these little actions can add up to large rewards. "Studies show that you burn most of your calories doing everyday activities versus formal exercise," says Lavinia Rodriguez, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Tampa Bay, Florida. So add a little movement to ordinary sedentary tasks for a big payoff.
—Start your day right. "Regular breakfast eaters have a leaner waistline and less fatigue through the day," says Kleiner, adding that studies have found that breakfast skippers eat mindlessly and often binge at dinner. For meals that won't make you covet the kids' pancakes, try oatmeal mixed with apples, nuts, cinnamon and honey; whole-grain waffles with blueberries and walnuts; or an egg sandwich with spinach, cheese and turkey sausage on a piece of whole-grain bread.
—Brave the elements. Building snow forts and going ice skating isn't just child's play. Turns out, getting outside in the chilly air could do you some good. "Your body has to work hard to warm you up, which means your metabolism will get a significant boost," says fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin, Ph.D., author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy (Simon & Schuster).
Originally published in the February 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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