This article is part of our partnership with experts from STYLE Canada. Today’s post is by Dana McGlynn. Dana teaches fitness, and we are grateful to her for sharing her top tips on how to avoid the all too common winter weight gain.
The shorter days and cooler (or even downright cold) temperatures don’t exactly make one want to get out of bed to go to the gym or leave the warm comfort of the house for an outdoor game of basketball or a bike ride. Our winter body is also influenced by some of the social events of the holiday season, in particular because they are often accompanied by some of the biggest and most stuffing and filling meals of the year. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or just enjoying time off, there is always a certain merriment to the season that involves extra chocolates, cookies, and other treats from friends, coworkers and neighbors. This time of year certainly comes with some challenges for the fitness and body concerned individual, in fact the internet is full of stats about the average weight gain during the holidays. The best thing to do is to get a plan started now, so that those extra pounds don’t pop up over the winter months. Try some of the tips below!
Tip #1 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Snack on healthy foods
If you must, stay warm and cozy inside but be careful and mindful of what you snack on. You might spend a little more time indoors in front of the television than you did over summer after all. If you do end up sitting around and snacking on food, make sure it is nutritious and healthy so it does not sabotage all your health and fitness goals. Make sure you have healthy snacks stocked up around the house at all times. Try carrots and celery with hummus dip, apples with almond butter, or plain low fat yogurt with nuts and fresh fruit.
Tip #2 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Become soup savvy
Soup is a great winter food. It is nourishing, warming, filling and usually full of vitamins and protein. Still, one needs to be aware of what type of soup one is eating. Opt for one that is broth based rather than cream based. Better yet, if you are at all ambitious and good in the kitchen, then you can make your own. Soup is actually easy to make. All you need to do is start by lightly sautéing a few vegetables such as celery, mushrooms, sliced onions, and carrots, then add to this a chicken, beef or vegetable broth. You can then add some protein such as cooked chicken breast or beans, or something a little filling like noodles or rice. Make sure your soup is high in vegetable content but also low in salt, sodium and sugar.
Tip #3 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Sip on tea
Many teas are actually quite slimming as long as you do not overload them with sugar, cream, milk or sweetner. At the top of the list for the most slimming teas is green tea. This drink is high in antioxidants with helps to fight free radicals and is lower in caffeine then black tea or coffee. Plus, it has been reported that drinking as little as four cups of brewed green tea a day can help one to lose weight. Other good teas to try include white tea and oolong tea which both are also reported to have slimming properties as well they are also lower in caffeine and equally high in antioxidants.
Tip #4 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Revitalize yourself with the power of scent
If you feel down and out or a little less energized, try picking yourself up with the power of scent. Whether you start your day with hazelnut flavoured coffee or an invigorating cup of mint tea or hop in the shower with an energizing shower gel with the scent of lemon, lime or grapefruit, it might be just what you need to get energized and get your body moving. Citrus scents are particularly energizing and refreshing, so look for products that contain these, or make your own with a few drops of essential oil. Try this invigorating body scrub recipe: add equal amounts of raw organic sugar and coconut oil (roughly one cup each) to a jar. Mix these together until you have the consistency of smooth peanut butter (adding a little more of one or the other for proper consistency). Then add 8 to 12 drops of citrus essential oils such as lemon, lime, bergamot or grapefruit. This makes an energizing and refreshing morning shower scrub.
Tip #5 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Go shopping for lingerie
When we are swathed in layers of clothes (whether it be turtlenecks, long johns, or sweaters), it is hard to feel connected to one’s body. Going lingerie shopping will remind you of the slimmer, more feminine side of yourself under all the layers of clothes you’re wearing to stay warm. Plus, simply keeping something lacey and delicate close to the skin will remind you that you are not just a winter warrior.
Tip #6 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Take a trip to the spa
Another way to get in touch with your body is by getting a massage (or any other body treatment), which will not only relax your body, but also help you feel more connected to it. Massages also have a healing benefit of releasing tight muscles as well as helping the skin to detox and remove unwanted toxins. There are a lot of great spa treatments that your body can benefit from, especially in winter such as reflexology, a hot stone massage, or even a simple pedicure.
Tip #7 to avoid the winter weight gain:
If you don’t like the idea of getting outdoors for exercise, why not take up some sort of craft or art over the winter months? It may not be as effective for getting your body in shape as actual exercise, but if you are painting, drawing, knitting or crocheting, you will be less likely to sit in front of the television chowing down on your favourite comfort food or evening snack.
Tip #8 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Connect with friends
Try a virtual pot luck dinner where only healthy foods are allowed. Play a game that is a little active like charades, or ping pong. These activities will at least keep you moving.
Tip #9 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Invest in fitness equipment
Purchase some free weights or a balance ball, or maybe a yoga mat and some yoga CDs. CBD can help make your exercise session more efficient, too!
Tip #10 to avoid the winter weight gain:
Go on a snowshoe adventure or try out down hill or cross-country skiing. If you get a little active in one or a few of these outdoor winter activities, chances are you won’t be dreading winter so much and you might actually look forward to enjoying some snow and ice.
Follow these tips over the winter months, and I guarantee you that things will be shaping up for you by spring time.
Dana teaches fitness part-time and specializes in Yoga, Pilates and Body Sculpting. She has been writing for close to ten years. She also works part-time as a fashion and fitness model.