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Avoiding The Winter Weight Gain

It is all too common for people to put on weight over the winter. We often become less active due to less daylight and cold weather, we eat more and stress less about physical appearance that is hidden under all those layers of clothing. It can be an endless cycle of winter weight gain and then working to get summer ready, although some will not even attempt to get summer ready and just put more weight on each year. So here is the Fernwood Learning 5 ways to avoid putting on weight this winter.

Stay active - It may seem quite obvious, but you need to continue activity over the winter months, you may just need to choose how you exercise differently. You may like to join a gym, start working out at home, start an indoor sport team, or hire cardio equipment for around the home (hiring so you can change equipment each year and avoid cluttering your house in the summer months). Also ensure you maintain your incidental exercise- things like taking the stairs rather than lift, walking to talk to someone in the office rather than calling or emailing, etc. You may even like to purchase a smart watch so that you can check that you are maintaining around 10,000 steps a day.

Eat well - you can eat hearty, warm foods, without having to over indulge or eat unhealthily. Portion size can often be the biggest issue in terms of weight gain over the winter. You can use the Australian Dietary Guidelines or Eat for Health Program to ensure you maintain appropriate serving and portion sizes, but some quick tips are:

  • About half your plate should be made up of vegetables.
  • Portions of meat should be no bigger than the size of your palm.
  • Aim for variety and colour in your foods.
  • Limit discretionary foods to 0-3 serves a day. This includes junk foods, coffee, soft drinks, butter, etc.
  • Protein and fiber fill you up, so look for foods high in protein and fiber.

Preparing your food ahead of time can be a great option to ensure you make healthy choices. Often the unhealthy choices are made when you are looking for a quick fix or have a craving.

  • Work on mindfulness and mental wellbeing- if you are like me the cold weather can get you down at times and for those susceptible to mental health issues the symptoms of depression can be exacerbated. It is important to maintain your mental health as much as your physical health. Consider mediation, relaxation, mindfulness and seeking enjoyment in life. When we have a great winters day, make use of it and get outside. You may even like to plan a winter getaway and escape to the sun for a week or two.
  • Undertake a challenge- Why wait till spring to start getting the summer body ready? You can spend your winter undertaking a health and fitness challenge such as the Fernwood Fitness 12 week challenge or Summer Sculpt. Challenges are a great way to motivate you, but also provide guidance to help you along the way to reach your goals.
  • Maintain your motivation- generally the biggest reason for weight gain during the winter is lack of motivation. You are less motivated to exercise and eat healthy as weight gain is easier to hide and winter can lead to apathy. It is important to remember why health and fitness are important. Putting on weight is unhealthy and can greatly increase the risk of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, etc. It can also stop you doing activities you love and reduce independence as you age. Set some goals at the start of winter for your health and fitness, then remember to track them. You may even like to plan a reward for achieving your goals to help motivate you. Ensure goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action Based, Realistic and Timebound). For rewards you might like to plan a holiday or treat yourself to a new summer wardrobe.

By following the above advice you can ensure that the winter months are positive and even lead to improvement in your health and fitness. So start planning and ensure this winter is a success.

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