It can be incredibly tough to fight off winter weight gain. Comforting, heavier foods in winter seem so nourishing and satisfying at the time, but most typical comfort foods are high in calories, unhealthy fats, and starchy carbs. This high fat, high carbohydrate combination can lead to weight gain quickly. Then, factor in less activity from being indoors more, and winter weight gain becomes hard to avoid. So, to get you started off on the right foot again, and back in your normal sized jeans, just follow some of these tips below. They’re not extremely hard, but are effective rather quickly. Remember, taking baby steps to fight winter weight gain makes a huge difference over a couple of months. Then, when spring arrives, you’ll be confident and back to your optimal size while everyone else is trying to get ready for bikini season!
1. Get Walking
Exercise is one obvious way to fight off winter weight gain, but don’t forget how effective simple, everyday walking can be. Sure, gym time will help reduce your waist size quickly, but walking has actually been proven to be the easiest, most effective way to lose weight fast of all. Walking, in comparison to running, is friendlier to your joints, does not raise cortisol in the body, and it helps strengthen your joints and muscles. Over time, this stress-lowering and muscle building effect gives you a slim tummy, better blood sugar levels, and more lean muscle than you could imagine. Get walking at least 45 minutes a day, and you’ll drop that winter weight quickly in combination with a healthy diet.
2. Focus on Veggies
When designing your meals, focus on healthy forms of vegetables at all your meals - not fried, sauteed, creamed, or in a casserole. Avoid adding sugar, too much salt and unhealthy fats to your veggies too. You want to include your veggies in the form of raw, baked, and steamed for the best results. Roasted veggies are also fantastic, but be sure you avoid using unhealthy vegetable oils and use coconut oil or olive oil instead. Also, instead of pastas and rice at your meals, eat root vegetables like sweet potatoes instead. Turnips, beets, carrots, squash, and onions are also excellent sources of low glycemic carbohydrates that can help you lose weight, and they squash your starchy cravings. Season these with black pepper, some herbs and a dash of Himalayan sea salt if you need it. Also, be sure to include plenty of leafy greens and green vegetables, which are the cornerstone of a lean and a healthy body.
3. Get Regular
You need to get regular in the winter, with your sleep that is! I know it can be easy to stay up late at night during winter, because most likely, you woke up later that morning due to less sunlight. Or, perhaps the lack of sun simply drains you and leaves you fatigued during the day, but wide awake at night. Whatever the case, irregular sleep patterns not only cause weight gain, but also depression. This also enhances your appetite for unhealthy foods. Our hormones reach optimal levels when we get regular sleep, and our hormones affect everything about our weight. Getting on a regular sleep schedule will ensure they work their best for you and your weight. Take a melatonin supplement or magnesium before bed if you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.
4. Avoid Coffee Overload
Coffee is often promoted as a health food, but we need to get something straight. The delicious java beverage is also the most acidic thing you can put in your body and it raises stress levels. Despite its antioxidant content, and its brain benefits, coffee is still a highly addictive beverage, and it leads to a drop in glycemic index a couple of hours later. Guess what that means? Low energy, carb cravings, or turning to caffeine for your next boost of energy. One cup a day is okay, but if you can, switch to herbal or green tea instead. These choices actually do the opposite of coffee, and will help tame your sweet tooth, bad mood, and hypoglycemia. All these issues are important for getting rid of weight gain, in winter and year round.
5. Ditch Animal Fats
Butter, sour cream, full fat milk, and cream are some of the most commonly used ingredients in winter dishes, especially where I’m from in the South. Talk about a weight and heart health nightmare! Ditch all animal fats if you want to lose that winter weight. Veggie fats are your friend, and guess what? They actually help you lose weight instead of gain it! Avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, olives, and most all raw plant fats are incredibly awesome for helping you lose weight. Do not fear them, and in fact, eat more of them. Replace all animal fats with plant fats, and in no time, you’ll lose weight.
6. Focus on Protein
Along with veggies, you also need to focus on protein. During the winter, it can be easy to just stock up on cheap sources of filling carbs like beans, rice, white potatoes, and “healthy” processed carbs like granola or cereal bars. These foods might be less evil than fried food, but they aren’t a way to fight winter weight gain. In fact, they’ll likely put weight on you, rather than take it off. Instead, focus on lean sources of clean protein, along with those veggies. Doing so will help keep your blood sugar stable, prevent overeating, and help to build lean muscle in your body. My favorites are hemp protein, spirulina, almonds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and on occasion, wild fish. If you choose animal sources, be sure you keep your choices to the best forms possible like grass-fed, organic, and pastured meats, eggs, and wild fish.
7. Be Active
Aside from walking, a fantastic way to increase your chances of losing winter weight, is to be active however you can. Work standing up if you work from home, either at a table or standing desk. Do chores like laundry, dishes, and cooking all those healthy foods you’re going to be eating. Even getting out to do errands counts. Whatever you do, just don’t sit on the couch all day, or at a desk without getting up to move every hour. Being active will do more for your winter weight than you can imagine, and the little things add up quickly.
I like to stay just as active in winter as I do the rest of the year, and by doing so, I don’t let myself get out of the healthy habit. I’m also happier for it and I am more inspired to take care of my diet when I’m active as well. Make your diet, sleep, and activity levels top priority when trying to avoid winter weight gain. It is hands down the best way to drop winter weight fast. Do you have any tips for losing winter weight?