For many of us, winter is our enemy; curling up on the couch and tucking into some warm, fried comfort food seems that little bit more inviting; as even the most active of us tend to suffer from a lack of motivation during the colder months.
Before you know it, you’re looking down at a scale reading a few digits higher than you had hoped. Whilst it’s exceedingly easy to pack on a few extra kilos during the winter season, it is definitely preventable – beat the flab and look great all year round!
In making change, we must first understand the culprit – so what exactly is the cause of winter weight gain?
The cold is a core contributor to winter weight gain, whilst the majority of us shackle ourselves to the warm solitary of our own homes; our metabolisms begin to slow as we pack on the pounds
The theory surges deeper, however, as the majority of us forgo our low calorie snacks for easier to prepare, high fat, pre-packaged foods – known best as – ‘comfort food’
The lack of vitamin E, ie sunlight elicits a natural ‘depressive’ mood, hence influencing our bodies increased intake of carbohydrates, fats and sugars which create artificial psychological affects similar to the endorphins released when exercising – put simply; they help bring us out of our depressive slump!
Doctors even believe during winter we’re naturally inclined to gain weight when winter hits; as described by Lawrence Cheskin, MD, in an interview with Prevention magazine.
Your body may be working against you to hang on to it so you stay warm
And so, what can we do to prevent winter weight gain and beat the flab? The key lies in prevention and moderation; particularly in managing what we eat and insuring we stick to our training schedules. Follow the below points to ensure this coming winter doesn’t result in letting your body image and hard work during summer dwindle away.
Stay Active – Maintaining your fitness/exercise regime is vital in combat against winter weight gain; the addition of strength training will help get your metabolism moving again. Hit the gym, devise a plan that will target your main muscle groups (legs, back and chest) with compound movements as they burn more calories than isolation movements. Allowing 15 minutes of cardiovascular training into your regime definitely won’t hinder your weight loss goals. For those lacking motivation to wake up in the morning and get active, shift your workout to the evening; or read our post on motivation.
Sunlight – Getting some sunlight can do the world of good in both optimising your mood and boosting energy levels. Go outside, perhaps for a jog around the block – the sunlight will help clear your mind; and help avoid the urge to indulge in high fat delights.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, but it can also affect weight loss. US researchers say that when your vitamin-D levels drop so does your ability to keep your weight in check, even when you restrict kilojoules.
Eat Well – Whilst this might seem like an obvious alignment; it is the most important as many fail to understand that diet accounts for 80% of your total weight loss progress; with exercise making up the other 20%. Maintaining a good year round diet is a psychologically draining activity; but having your mind in the right place is definitely vital to succeeding in this step. Finding low-calorie alternatives to your high-calorie winter counterparts isn’t a difficult task; but it does require a little time and getting used to. Winter is choc-full of holidays and with that comes an increased exposure to sweets which are seemingly impossible to avoid – in saying that, don’t avoid them; but treat them as a reward; moderation is key. Keeping your mind in check allowing yourself to have a chocolate bar or two can do more good than harm – particularly if it prevents you from binging. When faced with big holiday dinners, opt for lean protein (turkey and chicken) and non-starchy/non-fried vegetables (green beans, broccoli, sprouts and cauliflower); keeping condiments to a minimum.
Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol slows the metabolism and contains plenty of empty calories (from excessive levels of sugar and carbs) if you must, limit yourself to a couple of drinks a week – a great way to avoid contact with alcohol is by following the guideline that each drink reverses the affect of your last workout. Whilst it may be difficult to completely avoid it in a social setting, following your first drink switch to a calorie free soda, and remember to sip slowly.
Track Your Progress – Following up with the effort you’re putting in is important; to insure your weight loss plan is working take regular measurements of your weight and selective body parts. If you’re gaining weight or inches around your waist, you’re doing something wrong – alter your regime and insure you’re not skipping days; do not give yourself psychological permission to skip days – you’re only cheating yourself!
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