How to Avoid Winter Weight Gain
Soooo… its almost WINTER again. An excuse to tackle every dish on the table during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years…and maybe all the days in between-WRONG. I use the winter time to workout, eat right, and improve my body to look good for summer bikinis and thats what you should do too. But too many of us sit around, use the holidays as an excuse to be lazy,and pig out. Here’s some tips that were helpful to me so that you can beat that winter weight gain.
Why winter damages weight loss
The reasons why people get fat in winter are quite simple. They date back to the good old days where people had to store some extra fat over the cold months because we needed warmth and energy when there wasn’t much food around.
However, now-a-days the reasons are much more practical and easy to deal with. We put on weight in winter because:
- It is cold and thus fruit seems less inviting so we eat cooked, dense meals.
- It is cold so we don’t get outside to exercise as often as we should.
- Pastas, cereals, breads and other high carb foods seem more appealing in the winter.
- The days are shorter (daylight) and thus we feel there is less time to devote to exercise.
- We wear jackets and sweaters everyday and so dont notice weight gain as much.
So how exactly do we avoid the weight gain? Here are a few tips.
- Add heat in the form of spices to your food. There are many spices that aid in digestion such as garlic, ginger, cloves, cumin, coriander, and star anise which are delicious, warming. These are valuable for keeping the metabolism revved up and thus, burning more energy.
- Stay away from fat-filled lattes at Starbucks!!
- Cut back on carbs.
- Stews are nourishing, filling and warming and can be healthy choices if the right ingredients are selected. Always choose lean meat and cut excess fat off. If a thickener is wanted instead of flour, use the much healthier alternatives of rice or grated sweet potato instead.
- Eat plenty of hot soup. Not only is soup highly nutritious and warming, it is wonderfully filling. Due to the water content in it, soup has proven to take longer to digest than a regular meat, potato and vegetable meal and thus keeps people full for longer.
- Always choose whole grain breads and cereals. Whole grains are high in fiber and are low glycemic index (GI) foods, which mean they take longer to digest than their high GI counterparts. Instead of being immediately converted into blood glucose by the liver, it slowly releases the glucose into the blood system giving people a sustained level of energy. (It is easy to tell if most foods are low GI because they are whole foods, which means they are not broken down or processed in any way.)
- Eat plenty of protein. Protein should be about 15 to 20% of a daily diet. Eating high quality protein at every meal keeps the body fuller and warmer for longer because it takes a long time to digest.
- Keep hydrated. Even slight dehydration inhibits the liver’s ability to metabolize fat efficiently, because it is also doing some of the work of the kidneys. Choose herbal teas, hot lemon, honey and ginger drinks to stay warm and hydrated. Ginger is particularly healthful in the winter as it is soothing and cleansing for the digestive system; it also increases the metabolism.
- Exercise. Try to get as much exercise as possible during the winter, as it tends to be a time when people slack on their regular work-out routine. Treadmills are great options for winter; that way exercise can be done indoors, and the cold winter air can be avoided. Yoga and Pilates DVDs are great options as well.
- Get enough rest. Insufficient sleep adversely affects both metabolism and hormone function. The body tries to compensate for fatigue by sending false hunger signals, and the end result is an increase in food intake. So rest up!