This post may be a couple of months late for those of you in the southern hemisphere, but hey, better late than never ;-)!
Does your weight generally go up in the cooler months? Do you struggle to get motivated to train and eat well when you’d prefer to stay warm under your covers and drink hot chocolate all day long? You’re not alone!
Let me ask you this. How does it make you feel each winter if your weight has crept up again? Like crap right?! Sure you can work really hard for a couple of months to try and lose it by summer, but wouldn’t it make you feel so much better about yourself if you didn’t get a bit pudgy in these cooler months in the first place? And yes, I know it definitely comes with its challenges!
Why We Put On Weight In Winter
1. Heat-Production theory…When your body temperature drops it stimulates appetite as the process of eating/digesting causes internal heat which subsequently increases body temperature
2. Our ancestors associated winter with famine as these were the months with the least amount of food supply. This has, perhaps, genetically programmed us to increase our fat reserves in the cooler months
3. Studies suggest that low vitamin D levels results in a higher fat accumulation as the lack of this vitamin reduces fat breakdown and increases fat storage
4. Increased melatonin production in autumn and winter which also acts on appetite
5. Desire to eat fattier and more sugary foods in these months to ‘cheer’ us up
6. More sedentary lifestyle during winter
What To Do To Combat The Winter Bulge!
- Dress appropriately to stay warm and keep your body temperature up!
- Eat lots of protein, good fats and fiber to help keep you satiated and your blood levels stable
- Don’t ever skip meals and ensure your first meal of the day includes protein
- Ensure your are still getting at least 15 minutes of sun exposure a day and see your doctor to check if you are deficient in vitamin D and take a supplement if necessary
- Increase your fish oil intake
- Don’t be lazy! It is even more important to stay active during winter as obviously when it’s cold and wet outside, this permits us from doing the sorts of outdoor activities we’d get up to in sping & summer. Join a gym, do yoga or pilates and move your body daily
- Eat seasonally. This means in the cooler months, eating hearty foods which are both satisfying and warming. Eat stews, protein based soups, roasts, cook up some quinoa instead of oats, mash cauliflower or sweet potato instead of white potato and cook with warming, invigorating herbs & spices such as ginger, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and chilli
It is also important that you keep your immune system up as we all know colds and flu’s run rampant in winter. And if you do get sick, this sets you back as you have to let your body rest and recover which means less exercise and movement. And lets face it, who wants to get sick anyway?!
What’s My Secret To Not Getting Sick..
I haven’t been sick in 18 months, and before that time I hadn’t been sick in 2.5 years! This is what I do…
- I see a naturopath rather than a doctor unless I want specific tests done that only a doctor can do
- I eat a very clean diet, eating predominantly paleo
- I exercise regularly and also know when my body needs rest
- I up my dosage of antioxidants, particularly vitamins C & E straight after a hard training session
- I eat an abundance of greens, especially kale, spinach and broccoli
- I eat a handful of berries most days…another antioxidant dense food
- If I do feel a cold coming on, I find Ethical Nutrients ‘Immune Defence’ supplement knocks it on its head!
- I prepare my own bone broth…learn its benefits and how to prepare it here
I hope you have found this info helpful and useful! And remember…only YOU have control over your choices and your body. Choose wisely and reap the rewards (and a better bod!)