Worried that you’ll be hit with winter weight gain? Now is the perfect time to act and prevent it from happening in the first place! Let’s have a look at how you can maintain a healthy weight over the colder months.
Simple tips to prevent winter weight gain
You might not think of hydrating as much during winter as you would over summer. But you’re actually just as prone to dehydration, thanks to heating!
Hydration supports every system of the body, including energy production, detoxification and digestion. So make sure you’re getting at least 1.5L of water in per day. If you struggle to remember, set yourself an alarm on your phone that tells you to refill your water bottle or fetch a glass of water.
Switch to herbal tea
When it’s cold, it’s tempting to go for a big mug of hot, milky beverage such as hot chocolate or flavoured coffee. But this can add on unnecessary, empty calories – calories that don’t provide any real nutrition or benefit!
Instead, reach for herbal teas. These help not only to keep you hydrated when it’s too cold for plain water, but they also offer health benefits. Plus there are countless flavour combinations to choose from – if you’re not a fan of herbal tea, choose a berry herbal tea. If you love a sweet tea, look out for blends that include licorice.
Move your body daily
I know, you just want to hide under your covers all day, so movement is the last thing on your mind! But now is the perfect time to establish a daily exercise routine. After all, if you can work out during the bitter cold months, you’re onto a winner!
Movement keeps you warm, and it can also give your metabolism a boost. Plus it’s a good way to minimise symptoms of seasonal depression, which can often drive winter weight gain.
Start your day with protein
This isn’t specific to the colder months, but I had to include it anyway! Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients, and having it at breakfast sets you up for success. It helps to keep your blood glucose steady – a must for preventing or managing insulin resistance – and you feel fuller for longer.
Aim for 20-30g of protein with your breakfast. Ideally, you’ll also have some fruit and/or veg in there as well!
Be smart with comfort foods
When it’s freezing outside, you’re more likely to find yourself craving comfort foods. This is both physiologically and psychological, so we need to tackle both! From a physical perspective, your body craves carbohydrate-rich foods to boost your serotonin and your mood. And from a mental perspective, winter is a time you’re likely to feel bored and restless.
So what is the solution? Find a way to enjoy comfort foods that is healthier, but still satisfying!
For example, you can make yourself pasta using lentil pasta for a fibre and protein boost. If you’re craving a creamy dish, substitute your cream with goat’s cheese chevre. You can even make your own healthy desserts such as an apple crumble with apple, cinnamon, oats and chia seeds.
This can also help to alleviate the boredom, as you’ll be getting creative in the kitchen and finding new favourites.
What if it’s already happened?
Discovered these tips after the wintertime has already affected your weight? The good news is that you can start supporting your metabolism at any time of the year. Make sure you give this article a read for more actionable tips.
If you dread winter weight gain, you don’t need to battle it alone…
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Susie Garden | Clinical Nutritionist & Naturopath
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