Top 10 tips to avoid winter weight gain

Do we gain weight in winter or is that just a mindset?

One history-based theory suggests it could be in our genes; cooler, shorter days and less sunlight impacts our hormones, making us feel lethargic and creating the urge to eat more, to store as energy for the cool months ahead when traditionally, food was scarce.

In winter, we are less inclined to be outside and this reduction in exposure to sunlight impacts our body’s melatonin levels. Being the sleep hormone, we therefore feel more tired and less inclined to get up and about and be energetic. We crave those warm, carb-heavy hearty comfort meals.

Sam from Coffs Coast Health Club winter fitness
Photo by Jen McCulloch

10 winter exercise tips

In order to combat the need for warmth and carbs, try these winter exercise tips:

  1. Don’t stop your regular exercise routine.  If conditions are poor outside, do some movement at home. Spend 30 minutes getting the heart rate up, include the kids or use them as weights to make sure you stay on track.
  2. Make exercise fun. Get an exercise buddy.
  3. Consider investing in a personal trainer for the colder months – someone to kick your butt and get you motivated. Group PT is another great idea.
  4. Enjoy lots of fresh vegetables for dinner; don’t fall for comfort food too often. Healthy, homemade soups are a terrific choice.
  5. Hydrate! If you find your water intake is lacking (me too, its cold!) up your intake of herbal teas or drink warm water (adding lemon for flavour). When we’re dehydrated we can feel the need to eat more, especially in winter. Avoid that mindset by staying hydrated.

    “Research has shown that having a fitness buddy can motivate people to work out up to 50% harder in exercise sessions.”

  6. Be mindful. Think about why you’re eating. Are you thirsty? Stay present to prevent overeating and if you catch yourself emotionally eating, think of ways to change this habit. Fill that space with something else you enjoy.
  7. Avoid stepping out the door when you’re hungry. Have something to eat before leaving home so you don’t opt for fast food when you get peckish. Handbag snacks are also crucial – they save me every time!
  8. Step outside. Exposure to sunlight, yes, even in winter, is crucial for Vitamin D synthesis and for melatonin regulation. You’ll feel energised. Plus, nature is gorgeous through the winter (and super romantic). Get rugged up, grab your partner or bestie and get outside, even if just for a walk.
  9. Reduce stress and be sure to get enough sleep. Cortisol and other stress hormones have an impact on how much we eat and how energy is stored too. Establish a routine that allows for enough sleep. Research has shown that adequate sleep levels help prevent weight gain.
  10. Look after your gut bacteria. Evidence reflects a distinct difference in the gut bacteria of heathy people verse those who are overweight. Keep up those veggies and probiotic foods.

At home fitness program:

winter fitness program

Coffs Coast Health Club is located at Moonee Market with another gym also located in Toormina – www.coffscoasthc.com.au

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