(WellnessNova.com) - Winter is almost in full swing and that could be bad or good for your waistline. Researchers found that the holidays can make you fatter by about a pound. It may be because all the festivities are grouped so close together at the end of the year – Halloween, Thanksgiving, and all the Christmas office parties and family get-togethers happen within weeks of each other. You’re most likely stuffing your face at each of these celebrations, and given their close proximity, your body can’t burn more than you’re eating.
But on the other hand, did you know your metabolism is higher in the colder seasons? It’s true! Besides gaining a pound near the holidays, researchers also found that your metabolism is 12 percent faster during the cold seasons to keep your body warm. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep the heat a little low so that you can save on energy bills and make your body burns more fat too.
So it depends – if you spend more time outside in the winter and if you don’t eat a lot during holiday parties, then you probably won’t gain weight in the winter. But if you crank the heat up and stay cozy indoors and chow down when you come together with family on Thanksgiving and Christmas, then you’ll probably put on some pounds.
Even if you fall in the latter category, don’t worry – here are some ways to help your body burn these extra holiday calories:
1. Cut Dessert Carbs by Going for Delicious Sugarless Desserts
You might not be able to control what you eat for the main and side dishes at holiday parties, and it’s certainly a little insulting if you don’t eat even a small serving. But you can at least control the carbs you take in for dessert!
There are sugarless candies that you can snack on after your carb-heavy meal. These desserts use xylitol instead of sugar. Xylitol is significantly lower in carbs than sugar and also actively fights cavity-causing bacteria. It’s a win-win: just stick a xylitol lollipop in your mouth and that’s your excuse to not try your mom’s sugar-loaded dessert. By doing so, you’re also protecting your teeth from bacteria that can’t wait to digest the carb-heavy remnants of dinner stuck to your teeth.
2. Have Some Peppers
Have something spicy at the holiday dinner table! Researchers found that consuming capsaicin lowers your blood sugar levels and helps stop your body from gaining weight by lowering your body’s fat storing. It also suppresses your appetite and makes your body burn more brown fat, which is why you feel hot after eating something spicy. Unlike your stagnant fat, brown fat burns to regulate your temperature – so it’ll burn even if you’re not exercising and capsaicin makes you burn more of it!
According to CalorieFit, all peppers (except for bell peppers) have capsaicin, so you have a huge variety to pick from. Don’t limit yourself to just Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, you can enjoy their metabolism-boosting effects all day everyday if you spice up your breakfast, lunch, and dinners everyday! Researchers found that doing so also helps protect your heart and helps prevent diabetes.
3. Do a Mini-HIIT Before Eating
Researchers found that short bursts of vigorous exercise, like hard jumping jacks, running for a minute, or rapid air punches, could be equivalent to 45 minutes of moderate exercise. They found that participants who exercised vigorously for only 36 minutes total over 12 weeks experienced the same physical improvements as participants who exercised moderately for six hours total in those same 12 weeks.
They also found that doing these short bursts of vigorous exercise (called High Interval Intensity Training or HIIT) can boost your resting metabolic rate for up to two hours. So before Christmas dinner, step outside and run for a minute, or do 60 seconds of jumping jacks. Your metabolism will be boosted while you eat dinner, which means you’ll burn more of the carbs you’re taking in instead of packing them away as fat.
Don’t let the holidays make you fat! Try these three tips to protect your waistline this winter.