Avoid Winter Weight Gain

Do your clothes usually feel a bit tighter when Spring rolls around?  If so, you are not alone.  Research has shown that winter weight gain is common, although on average it’s no more than a kilogram or two.

But if you’re concerned about gaining weight over the colder months, here are some tips that can help:

Plan your winter menu

Eating well can seem more of a challenge in the colder weather.  For many people, fresh fruit and salads are less enticing and richer, heavier foods become more appealing.  The good news is that there are plenty of winter meals you can enjoy that are both healthy and satisfying.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • A bowl of warm porridge is a great way to get started on a cold morning. Use traditional rolled or steel-cut oats and add stewed apple and cinnamon for sweetness.
  • Don’t like porridge? Try baked beans or eggs with spinach and mushrooms on wholegrain toast instead.
  • Soup makes the perfect winter lunch – make a big pot on the weekend and freeze in individual portions. Include plenty of vegetables along with legumes for protein, fibre and low GI carbs.  For ideas check out our recommendations on Pinterest.
  • Casseroles and curries make a great winter meal and one you can make ahead of time so dinner is ready to heat and serve when you arrive home. Use lean meats and chicken, lots of vegetables and legumes for fibre and canned tomato, stock and fresh or dried herbs and spices for flavor.  Check out some of our favourites here.
  • For dessert try baked apples, apple or pear crumble with natural muesli topping or poached pears served with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.
  • A mug of herbal tea is a great way to warm up on a cold day – try a variety of different flavours to find the ones you like best.

Keep moving

The shorter days and colder temperatures can make it more tempting to curl up in front of the television or with a good book rather than head outside to exercise.  But moving is the fastest way to get warm and there are plenty of cold weather options:

  • Move your workout indoors. Join a local gym or dance class, buy or hire a treadmill or exercise bike, borrow an exercise DVD from your local library or consider one of the many online exercise programs now available.
  • Move your morning or evening walk to lunchtime and enjoy the winter sunshine.
  • Head to your local indoor heated pool to swim a few laps or join an aqua class.

Can’t seem to get motivated to move?  Check out our top tips for increasing motivation to exercise here.

Eat mindfully

Whether it’s due to spending more time inside, with food nearby, or feeling the winter blues, emotional eating can be more of a problem for some people at this time of year.  Mindful eating is about being aware of your appetite and reasons for eating, and can help to reduce overeating and non-hungry eating. It’s an important part of managing your weight at any time of the year.

If you recognise that emotional eating is an issue for you, particularly at this time of year, our 8 Steps to End Emotional Eating might help.

Stay well

Apart from being unpleasant, getting sick over winter can throw our healthy eating and exercise plans off track.  The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick including eating well, staying active, getting enough sleep and practicing good hygiene. Check out our blog post Top Tips for Staying Well over Winter for tips on avoiding the dreaded winter colds and flu.

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