The colder months can be your enemy. Here are a few reasons why – and what you can do about them.
When temperatures drop, many people automatically go into indoor hiding. It’s easy to be lazy and tempted by creature comforts when it’s warm and cosy inside. But naughty habits can wreak havoc on your body. Below are some cold weather culprits – and their nemeses.
Baby, it’s cold outside
This is the most basic reason for weight gain during the cold months. It’s a form of human hibernation to want to stay indoors where the food is. Plus, your metabolism drops a bit with each dip of the mercury.
There is a lot of comfort food about during the winter: hot cocoa, biscuits, eggs and cheese-laden dishes. The lack of available sunlight also signals us to consume “feel good foods.”
You’re down for the count with a cold
If you’re ill, or even just feeling ill, there goes your will to work out. Being laid up with a cold or flu actually can help pack on unwanted pounds – almost to the point of triplicate, some experts say.
Carbs have become your BFF
Cold weather, dark skies and a shortened day drives some of us to compensate with carb-heavy foods. Seasonal affective disorder is a real malady, and research has proven that those affected sometimes can put away an extra 800 calories daily just by consuming carbohydrate rich foods.
Stress can make you a mess
Lots of factors can cause emotional and mental strain during winter. Stress factors include rising utility bills, food costs, and fuel costs. Not only can they have an impact on your pocketbook, but eventually on your nerves as well. Cortisol – commonly known as the stress hormone, can contribute to winter weight gain, as well as cause trouble for your immunity, blood pressure and cardiovascular system.
There are some ways to head winter interference off at the pass, such as:
Getting and keeping active
If you already work out, fantastic. Keep it up, and don’t let a change in temperatures break your stride. For those of you who haven’t jumped on the exercise bandwagon yet, why not consider doing so as insurance against winter weight gain? Keep your metabolism revved and try to do some form of exercise at least 3 times per week. Cardio is your friend during the winter. Trust us.
Have some fun in the sun
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the sun won’t come out. It will, and you should try to enjoy at least 30 minutes daily of natural light. Mother Nature boosts your Vitamin D levels with sunlight, too. Even if it’s chilly, why not bundle up and take a walk around the neighbourhood? Walking the pooch or going to errands on foot will give you at least a head start on keeping fit, and even possibly, put you in a better mood.
Eating well is the best revenge
To eat ‘well’ means this: Lots of fresh fruit, veg, low fat dairy, beans and legumes. Winter veggies are some of the best, healthiest and most satisfying, not to mention, low in fat. Eating well also means consuming plenty of water. Hot green tea is one of the best beverages you can drink, with its catechins and cancer-fighting properties.
Not a huge fan of fruit or veg? You can reap their benefits by adding in just a little to your other favourite foods. Add sliced green peppers and artichokes to pizza, or slice fresh bananas into your oatmeal or porridge for brekky.
Be a teetotaler
Winter months bring creative alcoholic drinks, such as butter rum toddies and warming tipples made with milk and other fattening ingredients. Alcohol on its own contains loads of calories. If you feel the need to drink, try to limit yourself to one per day.
How We Can Help
At Warwick Women’s Workout, our pro staff are glad to assist when it comes down to staying healthy whatever the season. We are currently running a fun weight loss challenge in Perth, which will extend during the winter months. Participants need to register and weigh in weekly. There are prizes, weight loss and fitness tips, fitness challenges and trainers to help and encourage you. For more info, call (08) 9342 9028.