Saturday, 11 April 2015

Avoid winter weight gain

It's all too easy to pile on the kilos along with the winter woollies. But there are ways to prevent it.

Even though we are aware of the risks, each and every year too many of us fall victim to winter weight gain. That extra three to five kilos seemingly springs out of nowhere and needs to be shifted again before the warmer months arrive. Winter weight gain is common, but it need not happen, particularly in Australia where our winters are relatively mild.

The key lies in prevention. One of the main reasons we gain weight during winter is that we move less. That, coupled with an intake of heavier food compared to the salads and fruit-based meals we enjoy in summer, explains the trend towards weight gain. Maintaining your regular training schedule is crucial. If you cannot drag yourself out of bed for early-morning workouts, move your morning sessions to the afternoon or evening, or link in with a regular personal trainer or friend to train to give you some accountability.
Getting some sunlight is vital to optimise your mood on shorter days, so a brief lunchtime walk can work wonders for both energy levels and weight. Your body might be more covered up in winter but this does not mean you have an excuse to overeat. Limit fatty treats such as puddings, quiches, pies and chocolate to just once or twice a week.

Bulk your meals up with lots of filling vegetables and remember your low-kilojoule, warming treats such as low-fat hot chocolate drinks, soups, baked apples, mountain bread pizzas and diet desserts. Another trick you can try is to add a vegetable-based soup to your evening meal. Studies have shown that individuals eat up to 20 per cent less in a meal when they have had a soup first. Add bulk with barley and lentils to help keep you fuller for longer.

Most importantly, do not give yourself psychological permission to gain weight during the cooler months. Many of us use winter as an excuse to bunker down, skip the gym and eat heavy foods: things we never do when our bodies are on display each day. Take your measurements now, and repeat them each week to make sure that the weight is not creeping on. And remember, weight is much harder to take off than it is to put on.


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