Well, it is that time of year again. The cold weather has set in and it is getting harder to get out of bed in the morning to go for your daily walk. The kilos are beginning to pile on, but hey, underneath those big jumpers and tracksuits what does it matter?
Many people find that they put on weight during the colder months. The extra weight that people accumulate can often simply be equated to the nature of the foods that are consumed during these months and the significant reduction in activity levels. In Summer, we snack on fresh fruit and ice blocks on the way to the beach for a swim or a surf. Whereas in Winter, there is less incentive to engage in activity due to the colder weather, and video nights with a block of chocolate often take precedence to other forms of social activity. It is no wonder we put on weight.
The key to avoiding Winter weight gain is to not let it get out of control. Always remember that it is a hundred times easier to put on weight than it is to take it off, so now is a perfect time to take action before it is too late.
Just because the clothes are thicker, and you do not have to show as much flesh does not mean it is an excuse to eat more. Often clients will “let themselves go” and eat things they would not usually during the colder months as they know that it will be some time before they need to bare their legs, arms or stomachs again. Monitor your weight regularly so if it starts to creep up you can gain control of it again quickly. For accurate results, weigh yourself first thing in the morning, at most once a week.
Watch the heavy food
Cream and starch based soups eaten with bread, heavy desserts and extra glasses of wine or spirits each contribute a significantly greater number of calories to the diet compared to the salads, BBQ’s and ice creams of Summer. Look for lighter, vegetable based soups and skip the extra bread, stick to fruit for dessert and watch the number of glasses of alcohol you consume each day. Keep in mind that these types of food are also likely to be consumed at night which can make individuals prone to fat gain.
Try not to use food for comfort. Hot chocolates with marshmallows, biscuits and chocolate may taste fantastic and make you feel good momentarily but they are also packed with the types of fats that are extremely difficult to burn off. Look for other options when you are feeling down. Instead, grab a massage, take a bath or savour a glass of wine. These are all feel good options which will not negatively impact on your weight.
Maintain your exercise program
The cold weather inevitability means that people spend more time indoors. The extra time spent at home, with easy access to food means that people are more likely to snack. There is nothing wrong with snacking; it is the types of foods that people choose to snack on that is the problem. Chips, cakes, muesli bars and biscuits are the types of snack foods that are commonly chosen. These foods are high in fat and refined sugars and low in satiety. Foods which have a low satiety value are digested quickly and do not keep you full for long after eating them, which in turn makes you more likely to eat more in total. Stick to your regular meals and mid meals and always choose filling snack food options such as low fat cheese and crackers, skim milk cappuccinos or hot chocolate, fruit and low fat yoghurt or nut based muesli bars.