Today, we’re taking a look at winter weight gain. It’s a common problem – people tend to pack on a few pounds during the winter months.
The good, the bad… and the solution
Although winter weight gain varies from person to person, research shows the average gain to be five to seven pounds of fat. Some people gain this extra weight because of Seasonal Affective Disorder – a type of winter depression. But most of us can’t blame winter depression for our tendency to pick up extra weight during the winter months.
So, why does winter weight gain happen for most of us? It is quite simple – it happens because we eat more and move less during the winter months.
The good news is that we can do something about it. We don’t have to greet spring with softer middles and tighter clothes. So let’s celebrate leap year by tackling winter weight gain with our weapon of choice: discipline and commitment.
Five ways to fight winter weight gain
I’ve put together five ways to help you stay fit and healthy in winter. Here we go…
1. Keep moving. Now more than ever you have to get your body in motion. Not only it helps with putting on extra weight, it also keeps our lungs and heart in good condition. It also helps lifting the mood and beat winter blues. Take a short walk to the shops instead of taking the car. Take the stairs instead of using the lift. Play with your kids, or schedule a long walk at the weekend. There are endless ways to keep your body moving.
2. Schedule structured exercise, and stick with it. During winter months, when it’s cold and rainy outside, exercise tends to be the first activity that you drop from a busy schedule. Make an appointment with yourself, schedule a time for exercise and put it in your diary, just like you would for any other meetings or appointments. Try to fit in two to three sessions of 30 minute workout each week. To find out how we can help you plan your workout, drop us an email at info@WinnieFitness.com
3. Stock up on nutritional snacks. Keep healthy snacks in your car, in your bag, and in your kitchen cupboard so you don’t feel hungry. Look for protein-rich snacks like unsalted almonds. If you have sugar cravings, have a portion of fruits – apples, berries, are my personal favourites. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, and relatively low in sugar content. Watch out for snacks that are ‘low-fat’, as they are often loaded with sugar to make up for the taste.
4. Don’t forget to eat healthy fats. Avoiding butter, cream and deep fried food can cut down your calories intake and cholesterol. But not all fats are bad. We need good fats in our diet to help absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Also, fats help us feel full. It is important to include healthy mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats in your meals every day for a balanced diet. Good sources are avocadoes, extra virgin olive oil, and raw almond butter.
5. Plan your occasional splurge, and do not deviate from the plan. Unending deprivation is never a good idea, but you have to be intentional about the time, place and food that you let yourself splurge on. Want to enjoy your favourite food, for example, a piece of cake? Then let’s make a deal. Eat clean and eat well for six days. No cheating. And then at the end of those six days, go have the cake. One small portion. Guilt free. Just enjoy it. Then set the next goal. But you are not allowed to deviate from your plan in the meantime. If you do, you don’t get the cake. Choose wisely.
Remember: spring is coming. Let’s be ready for it, and leave winter weight gain behind.