There is no denying that it’s more difficult to keep in shape during the winter months. With dark mornings and nights, freezing conditions, and snow and rain soaking our favorite running paths, it’s hard to get enthused about exercising or drinking cold green smoothies. So to help you out, we’ve compiled a few simple solutions for four of the most common winter weight mistakes we hear every day:
Mistake #1: “Big coats and baggy sweat pants mean I can gain a few pounds”
You may be able to disguise a few extra pounds under a coat and scarf, but your internal organs, energy levels, and self esteem won’t appreciate the extra padding. If you’ve allowed your BMI to seasonally tip into the overweight category, you’re putting yourself at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers. But if that’s not enough of a reason to help you abstain from a second serving of pie, the extra weight has been linked to an increase in depression, giving a whole new meaning to the winter blues.
Sensible solution: Continue wearing fitted pants and tops throughout the cooler months so you can monitor your weight fluctuations. If you can’t do up the top button of your skinny jeans, it might be time to cut back on comfort food!
Mistake #2: “It’s too cold to work out!”
If you feel too cold to work out – a work out is probably exactly what you need! Here’s a bit of science for you: the chemical energy used to make muscles contract only converts to around 20-25% mechanical energy – the rest is lost as heat. That’s right, HEAT. Meaning the more you move, the warmer you’ll be, but you already knew that.
Sensible solution: Turn the heating down and start moving more to stay warm and save on your electricity bills. If you’re having trouble getting yourself to the gym, book in for a few sessions with a PT to give you the accountability to show up.
Mistake #3: “I’ll just lose the winter weight before summer.”
Not so fast. According to research published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, just one month of overeating and being less active can have weight gain effects that last for years!
Sensible solution: Don't use winter as an excuse to eat cookies and drink hot chocolates every day. Be mindful of what you’re eating and how much you’re moving so you can keep winter weight gain in check.
Mistake #4: “It’s too cold to eat salad”
Healthy food doesn’t always come in a salad bowl. Warming vegetable soups, stews and slow-cooked meals can be just as nutrient dense and low in calories. Yes, it may feel too cold to go for greens, but winter is no excuse to load up on french fries, sausage rolls, and the other types of foods you’d never dream of touching in the warmer months.
Sensible solution: When you’re eating out, skip cream based , pastas, pies and pizzas and instead look for lighter options like broth based soups and stir-fries. When cooking at home, use lean cuts of meat, keep your portion in check, and center all of your meals around low-calorie vegetables.