Nicole Moore (Master Nutr. APD)

7 tips to stop the winter weight gain

4 mins read

Have you ever noticed that as soon as the cold weather is upon us, so too is the urge to eat more? The cooler weather seems to do something to our brains to make us crave more comfort (for most of us – that’s food)!

There's a good reason why it happens, and we have evolution to thank (or blame, depending on how you look at it). In primitive times food sources were scarce in winter, so our bodies stockpiled fat stores to prepare us for hibernation. Of course, as humans have evolved, food is no longer a scarcity for those in the western world, but our bodies didn't seem to get the memo to stop putting away the fat for winter.

With the average person gaining an average of two-ish kilograms over winter, if you’re worried about winter weight gain, we’ve got some tips to help you sidestep the scales.

1. Pack in the protein

The best way to prevent winter hunger is to add more protein to all of your meals. Protein helps keep you full for hours, and keeping your tummy satisfied will help keep the cravings away (double win!).

Rich protein sources include eggs, red meat, chicken, fish, nuts and cheese (but if you’re worried about weight gain, go easy on the nuts!). Try our Bacon and Egg Cups for an extra protein boost in the morning.

2. Layer up

Did you know that eating increases our metabolism and produces heat to keep us warm? So if you’ve got nothing but a t-shirt on, try adding an extra layer of clothing or blanket. If all else fails, turn up the heater or take a warm shower to keep yourself toasty and keep cravings at bay.

If you’ve recently lost weight (go you!), you’ll no longer have a ‘fat jacket’ acting as an insulator, so it’s common to feel the cold more. Pop a lightweight jumper in the bottom of your bag (or tie it around your waist or shoulders) to be ready when the chill strikes.

Go for natural fibres over synthetic for improved breathability as you layer.

3. Turn up the heat

Hot or warm drinks like herbal teas can be a suitable replacement when you crave something sweet. Some hot teas, such as oolong tea, may aid with weight loss by improving fat burning and speeding up metabolism. You could even try sweet-tasting teas such as vanilla.

Turning the dial up on spicy foods is also scientifically proven to have health-boosting benefits and can help enhance your weight loss goals.

Here’s an idea – why not sprinkle some freshly chopped chilli on to our Mish Mash Hash brekkie, or chuck it all in one pot (with an extra sprinkling of spice) with our Slow-Cooked “Chicken Tortilla” Soup.

4. Be prepared

Have you ever gone to the cinema and realised a few minutes in that it’s FREEEEEZING? Maybe the movie is a bit of a flop, and all you can think about is how cold and hungry you are, and your brain starts planning how to make a swift exit towards the choc tops.

Make sure you plan ahead and eat a decent meal pre-movie. Have something in your pocket, such as a pack of nuts or a protein bar, so when you feel the yearning to transport yourself to the candy bar, you’ll be able to sit tight.

And, the moral of the story is – always pack something warm, folks. The cinema is always bloomin’ cold.

5. Connect with your waist

In winter, we often wear baggy clothes such as jumpers and stretchy tracksuit pants, which can be the perfect hiding place for those unwanted winter kilos.

As tracksuits stretch with you, it can be hard to notice when the weight is creeping on. Keep connected with your waistline and wear your jeans regularly so you’ll have the perfect marker when they start to feel a bit tighter (or looser).

6. Stay active

The cold winter weather can be a deterrent from exercising. However, keeping your body in fat-burning mode can reap great results, and exercise is the best way to keep the stores burning.

If you can’t bear the thought of waking up at 6 am to head out for a morning walk, find something where you can stay warm like an indoor bike or simply rugging up and taking a brisk walk. No excuses. Just keep moving! Check out Dr Brukner’s recommendations in Lesson 11.

7. Swap it out

We tend to crave ‘stodgy’ food in winter, so have some low carb alternatives in mind (and in the pantry) that you can swap out when you crave the real deal. Some simple swaps include:

Pasta: Zucchini noodles or cauliflower cheese.Bread: Our famous Three Seed Bread or a low carb supermarket alternative.Rice: Cauliflower rice or broccoli rice.Heavy stews and casseroles: Avoid starchy veggies (legumes, potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin) and bulk your slow cooking up with chunks of zucchini, mushrooms, onion and a little carrot. Potatoes: Broccoli or cauliflower (see our Baked Cauliflower cooking demo for great ideas to jazz up this simple staple).Mashed potatoes: Pureed cauliflower with butter and salt.

Summary

Winter can be a great time to keep warm and cosy, but we can’t let our cravings for comfort stand in the way of our goals. We hope these tips will help you keep any unwanted kilos at bay and give you the motivation you need to stay on track.

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