How to Avoid Weight Gain This Winter

Nutrition // Lisa Donaldson

If you are anything like me, you’re probably shivering and cursing the cold. This winter you will probably acquire a new set of gloves, a coat and beanie… but did you know that 53% of males and 30% of females will also acquire 2-5 kilos of weight gain? Yikes, huh!?

A study released by the NSW Food Authority and NSW Health found that men are most likely to put on weight over winter, with 53 per cent of males gaining 2-5 kilos, compared to 38 per cent of females. The research revealed that:

  • Nearly half of Australians expect to gain up to two kilos this winter.
  • 90 per cent say they eat more fast and snack foods and takeaway because they make them feel warmer and happier.
  • 36 per cent of Australians are concerned about putting on weight this winter
  • 59 per cent say weight gain will be caused by exercising less and eating more convenience foods and takeaway.

So, to minimize the likelihood of acquiring those extra kilos, I’ve got some tips for you!

1. Keep moving!

This doesn’t necessarily mean joining a fancy gym or competing in your first marathon, this simply means not going into winter hibernation because it’s cold!  Become an active participant in life and incorporate extra activity into your daily tasks. Think about parking further away when going to the shops, taking the stairs and not the lift, or going for a walk in the middle of the day. Perhaps invest in a pedometer and try to walk 10 000 steps every day.

Also read: The Skinny on Low-Carb Diets

2. Become a savvy shopper

Time to think about eating foods close nature, or at least purchasing products that read like they are ‘homemade’. Investigate ingredient lists and choose products that read as though Grandma made them.

3. Eat three meals a day – and stop grazing!

It’s not uncommon for ‘grazers’ to always feel hungry, or to be constantly thinking about their next meal. It’s best to consume three well-balanced and nutritious meals each day, so that your body feels satisfied, and can register hunger for the next meal. A little hunger is a good thing when trying to lose weight, as hunger tells us that our metabolism is working hard – whilst making use of some stored energy or fat!

Snacks should be eaten only when you have true ‘belly hunger’: not because you saw someone eating a warm cinnamon donut and think you need one, too! When people graze on small snacks all day long, they rarely feel satisfied. If you plated up an entire day’s worth of ‘grazing’ snacks, you’d probably be surprised by how much you’ve actually consumed! Go for three well-balanced meals and feel the difference.

4. Ditch the sugary drinks

If you swap all your juices, soft drinks, cordials, energy drinks and vanilla flavoured lattes for water or herbal tea you are going to make a massive change to your waistline – and your skin will look amazing! Liquid kilojoules certainly add up across the day, and water won’t lead to a spike in blood glucose levels, like those sugary beverages do.

Also read: How to Beat Your Sugar Addiction for Good

5. Fill up on non-starchy plant foods

Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, non-starchy vegies are superb nutrition! Go for half a plate of non-starchy vegetables with every meal. This includes vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage, tomato, Asian greens, baby spinach, zucchini, squash and carrots. Plus, enjoy two serves of whole fruit each day – mandarins are amazing during winter and one of my favourite snacks this time of year!

6. Sleep well

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for feeling alert and re-energised each day. If you constantly wake feeling tired and lethargic, you might need to reset your sleeping patterns. Think about turning off all electrical appliances (smart phones, computers, TV, etc) at least half an hour before going to bed, washing your face and having a small cup of warmed skim milk before going to bed.

Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day for a few weeks and feel the difference in your energy levels. This is especially important in winter when it’s still cold and dark when you wake!

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