Tips on Preventing Winter Weight Gain
Winter weight gain is very common – even in Australia where the winters are quite mild! It generally tends to be one of those blink-and-you-will-miss-it moments too; one day you jump on the scales and those few kilos have seemingly appeared out of nowhere! Maybe it was the extra layers of clothing that have been good at disguising the gradual gain? Either way, as the days start to lengthen & the mercury starts to rise, the frantic panic begins to shift the unwanted kilos before we all jump back into the summer months.
Most people are quite familiar with the negative effects increases in abdominal body fat have on your health. Therefore, the key lies in prevention and ensuring consistency with those positive behaviours which maximize health and weight management regardless of the temperature.
One of the main reasons why people gain weight during winter is due to the fact they move less. Maintaining your regular exercise schedule is crucial if you wish to either maintain or lose weight over the cooler months. If your early morning walks are out of the question, why not switch your schedule around and try and walk in the afternoon? Keep your alarm set for the same time and grab your Theraband out for an early morning resistance training as an alternative. If it is the dark or cold that is putting you off, throw on a jumper and adopt an exercise buddy to keep you company. Alternately, why not make use of your lunch break & step outside the office for a stroll to keep those Fitbit steps happening?
Shake up the plan
It’s very common to crave comfort and hearty foods to keep you warm from the inside out. But that doesn’t mean we needed to swap the healthy choices for the high fat & high carbohydrate ones! Instead of having fresh cut salads with your evening meals, why not make the switch to home-made soups or stews that are laden with vegetables (non-starchy of course!) Looking for something to pepper you up in between meals? Why not trial a herbal tea? These can also help null those sweet cravings we can sometimes experience after having a saltier meal. The goal is not to get too pedantic! If you do feel like something sweet or having a small treat, limit this to once a week so that you are not feeling too restricted or deprived.
Even when the mercury drops it is still important to keep up with your water intake. The cooler climate does not tend to give us the same prompts to drink, so it is important to keep your water bottle in sight; like on the desk next to the computer or in your bag if you are out and about travelling in the day. Tea and coffee can add to your total intake across the day if you stick to the 4 x cups per day maximum. However, it is important to remember that adding sugar and milk to these for sweetness also adds those extra calories!
Contrary to the myth, alcohol may make your skin feel warm, but this apparent heat wave is deceptive! A nip or two actually causes your blood vessels to dilate, moving warm blood closer to the surface of your skin, making you feel warmer temporarily. At the same time, however, those same veins pumping blood closer to the skin’s surface is causing you to lose core body heat. Alcohol is also an easy way to clock up those unwanted calories that can be tricky to burn off! So, when you are putting your feet up at the end of a long day, swap the glass of red for a mug of herbal tea and leave the alcohol for those special occasions only!