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Marsh column: Shedding winter weight

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you will make time to enjoy your friends and family.
Now to today’s question:
Q. You have lost so much weight. How are you doing it?
A. I am using this question since I had three people ask me this in one week!
First of all, I didn’t lose that much weight ó I just shed my winter weight!
Most people have a winter and a summer weight. It is normal to fluctuate in weight between your winter and summer months.
I fluctuate between 5 pounds with my winter weight being heavier and my summer weight lighter. It really makes sense. In the winter it’s cold ó you crave soups, stews, meats and potatoes (all high-calorie foods) and you are possibly not as active.
In the spring and summer months it’s hot, and we have all the wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits available. They taste so good and are low in calories. On top of that, our activity level has increased with all kinds of activities outside like yard work, swimming, biking, walking, running, tennis etc. etc. etc.
Too many people freak out when their weight goes up in the wintertime.
But you should be concerned about any weight gain that exceeds a lot more than 5 pounds.
To keep your weight under control, you need to keep an eye on your calories, and of course, you need to exercise. But some reasonable weight gain in the winter is normal. If you haven’t yet shed your winter weight, here are some tips:
n Start walking outside with a friend or your dog.
n Start a garden. My husband Kevin and I have a wonderful garden and keeping up with it is wonderful exercise.
n Yard work is great exercise but a riding lawnmower doesn’t count!
n Start participating in swimming or water walking exercise.
Food tips:
n Grill your foods ó it tastes great and does not add a lot of calories.
n Choose fresh fruits and vegetables whenever you can. If you don’t have your own garden, the farmers market on Main Street has awesome produce and of course our local grocery stores’ fresh produce section works, too!n Watch your ice cream and milk shakes. Even a small milkshake is loaded with calories. With the weather being hot, we crave cold stuff. Try putting grapes in the freezer ó they are great frozen. They are a great nutritious snack and best of all, my kids love them. (Thank you, Prudy!)
n Watch your alcohol intake. Summer months are wonderful times to gather with friends and family at the pool, lake and cookouts in the back yard. If you consume alcoholic drinks watch how much you drink ó they have lots of calories.
Well, there you go. But you know what? You can get started after Memorial Day!
Enjoy your friends and family, have fun and don’t drink and drive!
nnn
Ester Marsh is associate executive director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA. Contact her with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or ehoeben@rowanymca.com.

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