5 ways to avoid winter weight gain
Author: ANCP Date Posted:28 April 2015
Winter weight gain can be hard to avoid. Our bodies have evolved to eat more during autumn and early winter in order to get through the cold weather and survive the period when there was less food readily available.
Add to this an increased lack of motivation for exercise in the colder months, and you might find yourself piling on a few kilos unknowingly.
It’s far from inevitable though - here's our list of five top tips for heading off winter weight gain:
- Get enough sunlight - Natural sunlight is one of those things that you never notice until you don't have it. Get outside and get some sun whenever you can. This can help improve your mood, which prevents stress-eating and snacking. And it also provides you with much needed vitamin D.
- Eating ‘good’ fats - Fatty foods can be good for energy, and winter temperatures mean that you burn more energy than you do in the summer just from your daily routine. However, avoid the typical unhealthy fats, like those from fried foods and sweet desserts. Instead, pick foods that are loaded with natural fat and protein, like beef. You can also incorporate other sources of good fats like olives, nuts, unrefined coconut oil, avocados and organic butter- just avoid hydrogenated and trans fats. Eating good fats with every meal should help you to stop you craving the more unhealthy kind.
- Getting a good night’s sleep - Sleeping well is a crucial aspect of good health. Try going to bed earlier during the winter (and if you are well rested, waking up earlier). This means you will have more time in daylight hours (see #1). Being well rested means you will have more energy. If you don't sleep enough, you will probably find yourself being hungry at odd hours, which can lead to snacking and weight gain.
- Soups, stews and veggies - Warm soups and stews serve two purposes. First, they are great for keeping you warm. That goes a long way to making you predisposed to pick a certain food in the winter. And soups can be healthy when done right. Avoid the packaged soups and cans, and make one yourself with leafy vegetables, dense tubers like potatoes and squash, and a good meat for protein. It makes a delicious meal packed with energy and nutrients. In addition to being healthy and keeping you warm, eating foods like soups, stews, fruits, veggies and hot cereal that have a high water content can help you to feel fuller for longer.
- Starting a winter exercise plan - Diet is only part of weight control. It's also a good idea to maintain your muscle tone and get in shape with an exercise routine. If you can’t drag yourself outside, use bodyweight exercises that are simple to do indoors without equipment to increase your strength, and try a treadmill or exercise bike for cardio. If you prefer exercising out in the open - living in Australia actually makes it easier to jog in winter (it’s too hot in summer!). If you’re normally an ocean swimmer in summer, you might be surprised how nice it feels to jump in your local heated pool when it’s a little cooler outside.