5 Ways to Prevent Gaining Weight in the Winter
It’s easy for those extra pounds to sneak up on us over winter when we’re hibernating indoors. When summer comes around and it’s time to hop into our beach wear, our self-esteem is not as high as it normally is.
The cooler air and shorter days can trigger some changes in behaviours which encourage fat storage. But never fear! In this post I’m going to walk you through the main reasons why people gain weight in winter and 5 practical ways to avoid it. With some dedication and consistency, you’ll be stripping off those layers and confidently jumping into your bikini when the warmer weather comes around.
AVOID THE “WINTER BLUES”
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “winter blues”, is a type of depression that typically affects people over the winter. The days are much shorter in winter, meaning there is less sunlight (and heat) to enjoy. This lack of sunlight can also affect our hormones and some people may develop seasonal affective disorder. Our pineal gland responds to the lack of sunshine by producing melatonin, the sleep hormone that helps us feel ready to sleep. This can result in people feeling tired, unmotivated, and also to seek comfort food and eat more when it’s cold and dark. This is because food actually impacts the same circuitry of the brain as drugs do, so people use rich, heavier food to make themselves feel better.
Avoid feeling down by making sure you expose yourself to an appropriate amount of sunshine each day and reap all the incredible health benefits. Stay social and connected - schedule a date with your bestie and enjoy a delicious, dairy-free chia latte, and instead of venturing out into the cold and hitting the town at night, turn on the heater and invite your friends over for a dinner party.
MAINTAIN AN EXERCISE ROUTINE
If you’re someone who would rather curl up under a blanket than head outside or hit the gym when the temperature drops, try changing your regular exercise routine to suit the colder weather. Try yoga at home in your pyjamas, pilates in front of the heater, a swim in an indoor heated pool, or a treadmill run in a temperature-controlled gym. There are so many options, and it’s important to keep your body moving and the blood flowing to ensure everything is functioning optimally.
We are all very busy these days and planning your meals ahead is a great habit to have when trying to be consistent with eating healthy and avoidingtake out. Make a whole lot of soup and freeze it so you have some to grab over the coming weeks. Other winter warming dishes that freeze well are stews, stir fries, curries etc.
SEEK HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES
Instead of trying to avoid your heavier, rich comfort foods, simply seek healthy alternatives. Prepare a pasta dish using brown rice pasta accompanied with a plant-based sauce like this. If you’re craving sugar, dates are the perfect option as they arepacked with natural sugar and fibre to fill you up and give you energy. Stock up on raw vegan chocolate (yes, it’s healthy chocolate!) to have when you desire something sweet after dinner. It’s full of antioxidants and doesn't have the clogging effects of dairy.
EAT ONE FRUIT MEAL A DAY
Raw fruit has unique astringent qualities that support the ability of the body to cleanse and release toxins. Fruit especially activates healing through initiating deep cleansing and enhancing the function of the organs of elimination. The astringent compounds in fruit stimulate a stagnant lymphatic system and draw out toxins, while simultaneously enhancing kidney function to assist in the elimination of these toxins. So by eating one fruit meal a day (preferably for breakfast) ensures you’re eating cleansing foods every day which support your body in the release of toxins stored in fat cells and prevent weight gain.
If you are prone to winter weight gain, consciously changing your behaviour during this time of the year can help ward off those extra kilograms. Consistency is key. Be realistic with what you are doing and make sure it's manageable and enjoyable.