Goodbye winter fat: spring cleaning for your body

Thatiana Diaz

Wintertime is notorious for comfort foods, decreased energy levels, less physical activity, and more time bundled up on the couch. On average, people gain around 3 to 7 pounds each year around the cold season. Most people never lose that weight, allowing it to add up over the years. However, after a long cold winter, spring is finally here. You probably slacked off on your workouts, or found yourself in hibernation mode or you may have comforted yourself with rich foods you wouldn’t normally eat. Holidays and cold weather blues provided plenty of excuses to forget all healthy habits but now it’s time to get back on track with these tips to spring clean your body.

– A few simple food swaps can help you do a little cleaning to your winter diet. Swap those breads for clean carbs and grains and switch out your syrup-loaded coffee for one with low-fat milk.

– Eating five or six small meals a day can easily lend itself to endless eating. You never feel like you’ve eaten anything because you have only had a handful of this and a few bites of that but in reality, you’ve consumed hundreds of calories. Instead of nibbling, plan for nutritious protein and carb combination snacks such as a piece of fruit and almonds, a Greek yogurt and a cup of berries, or raw veggies and hummus.

– Relax, recover, and rest in the sunshine. As some may know, the body can produce Vitamin D by getting sunshine. Tons of research continues to be conducted on the benefits of Vitamin D as it appears to play a role in immune health. You’ve been locked up inside for the winter, so now when you lounge, make sure to do it outside to reap the benefits of mother nature.

– Going meatless for at least one meal a week and substituting it with a vegetarian meal packs a double whammy of cutting down on calories and making you eat your veggies too. But don’t just eat vegetables for supper. Explore meatless meals that include beans and legumes in addition to veggies. You’ll get even more nutrients without adding tons of calories.

– Counting your calories can help get you back on track and back in touch with your eating habits. Don’t know how to count calories? There are countless websites and applications set to help you keep track of your daily intake, simple and easy.

– Another way to spring clean your diet is to explore seasonal vegetables in your area. Visit your local farmer’s market to explore all your options. To make the trip more enticing, bring a date or just a friend and enjoy buying fresh food while out in the sun.

– Do a spring cleaning of your food pantry. Not only toss out anything that’s old but take stock of any processed foods that are in there. Cookies? Toss them out. As you spring clean your pantry, make sure you leave some room for some detoxifying spices and herbs. Dandelion, turmeric, milk thistle, and nettle all support the liver by circulating nutrients.

– If your New Year’s resolution ended in… January, springtime is the best time to get active again. Not only will working out give you more energy, but your body and mind can destress as well. Exercising is a great way to rid toxins from your body. There are plenty of outdoor exercise classes around NYC or just go out for a run by the Hudson River.

For many, this time of year signifies a time to open the windows and clean around the house to remove the darkness and dampness of winter. The same can be done for your body so ditch the heavy winter meals, kick start your energy, and shed those winter blues.