How To Get Through the Colder Months Without Gaining Weight
Cooler air. Shorter days. Welcome to the winter months in Australia. Between reaching for comfort foods, moving less, and spending more time indoors, the colder months can be tough on waistlines.
Here are realistic tips for avoiding weight gain during the winter months (without giving up your favourite foods).
13 Tips For Avoiding Winter Weight Gain
1. Make Fibre A Focus
Fibre is important for helping you feel full and satisfied and for maintaining optimal digestion. Aim for at least 25 to 30 grams of fibre a day from whole foods that are rich in fibre such as:
- Whole grains
2. Do Your Cooking
Focus on cooking at home to ensure you are in control of the ingredients that go into your meals as well as portion sizes.
For instance, if you love spicy meals in winter, consider making your spice blends. Commercial spice blends or restaurant spices often use added sugar and preservatives that can be avoided when you mix up your favourite blends of herbs and spices.
3. Prioritise Protein
It is easy to reach for comfort foods (hello carbs!) during the cooler months. However, too many carbs and limited exercise is a combo that will almost certainly have you watching the scale go up.
To keep your carb intake in check and maintain balance, focus on getting a mix of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs at each meal. Eating a wide variety of nutrients and getting enough protein and healthy fats will help you naturally fight off cravings.
Great sources of protein include:
- Whole eggs
- Salmon or other fatty, wild-caught fish
- Seeds (especially chia seeds)
- Unflavoured Greek yogurt
For healthy fats, consider foods such as:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Tahini paste
- Dark chocolate
- Sardines, salmon, and other fatty fish
For a healthy, comforting dose of carbs, reach for foods such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Plain Grek Yogurt
4. Eat for the Season
Take advantage of the cooler months as a chance to experience seasonal healthy foods. As a bonus, eating produce that is in season is often far cheaper than choosing out-of-season options.
5. Always Include a Vegetable
Including at least one or two vegetables, whether incorporated into the main dish or as a side, with each meal is a great rule to follow year-round. Try experimenting with new recipes and new combinations as a way to stay motivated to cook healthy.
6. Stay Moving
Do you dread going out in the cold to exercise? No worries! There are almost endless ways to stay active during the winter months while staying cosy inside.
Take advantage of the many online fitness classes available, find an indoor heated pool to swim laps in, put on your favourite songs and dance for 30 minutes, go to the gym, or do intervals on a treadmill. Or, check out our 4 Week Workout Program for Beginners.
7. Practise Mindful Eating
Eating slowly, chewing thoroughly, and focusing on your food as you eat can help you enjoy your food more and leave you feeling more satisfied after a meal. It also helps keep you in tune with your body’s hunger signals.
To eat mindfully, be sure to:
- Turn off the tv
- Put down your phone
- Chew each bite slowly and thoroughly
- Focus on the flavours and textures of your food
- Allow 20 minutes or so to pass before reaching for a second helping
8. Stay Consistent
It is unrealistic to avoid all treats or exercise every day of the week. If you miss a day of exercise or overindulge one day, keep moving forward with healthy habits. As long as the majority of your actions and choices positive, you will likely find yourself reaching your goals.
This mindset also makes a healthy lifestyle more enjoyable, realistic, and possible to maintain in the long run.
9. Get Creative With Comfort Foods
You don’t have to give up your favourite flavours or foods to avoid gaining weight during winter. Instead, get creative with ingredient swaps and healthy substitutes in your favourite dishes.
For example, try using maple syrup or honey in place of white sugar, use ground-up oats or almond flour in place of wheat flour, and use healthy oils such as olive oil, avocado, or coconut oil instead of highly processed, hydrogenated oils.
Almost any ingredient can be substituted or swapped out in one way or another. Always check for proper measurements when substituting, though, as most ingredient amounts need to be adjusted.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Do you get tired as the days shorten? Do you fall asleep after an early sunset only to wake up and have a hard time falling asleep once it is time for bed? This is a common problem in the winter months.
Do your best to maintain a similar schedule and routine to the summer months by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and night. If you do need an afternoon nap, try to schedule it at the same time every day, limit the length of your nap, and avoid scheduling it too close to bedtime.
11. Snack Smart
It is natural to find yourself reaching for more snacks during the cooler months, especially if you are spending more time indoors around food. The key is choosing easy, nutritious snacks that will satisfy you, nourish you, and fuel your body.
Also, stay prepared by keeping healthy ingredients around. Without ingredients on hand or meals prepped, it can be too tempting to opt for takeaway or junk food instead. Keep fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, plain greek yogurt, and other healthy staples on hand so you can always whip up an easy, healthy snack.
12. Drink Enough Water
Staying hydrated is important year-round, including the winter months. Although cooler weather may have you craving more coffee or tea, make sure to include an adequate intake of fresh, plain water daily. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water for each cup of coffee you have.
13. Stay Warm
When you feel cold, do you find yourself reaching for comfort food? For many people, this is a common occurrence. It may seem simple, but try bundling up with extra layers when needed or tackle a nice sweaty workout if you find yourself getting cold.
It is possible to enjoy your favourite foods during the winter months while still staying healthy.
What are your plans for staying active and healthy this winter? Do you follow any of the tips above or have any tips we missed? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
As always, if you have any questions on finding healthy snacks, getting fit, or achieving your weight loss goals, our team of fitness and nutrition experts would be happy to help you come up with a personalised plan.