As the days get shorter, the mornings get darker and the days get colder, the motivation to do any exercise at all is almost non-existent for most of us. Getting up early and leaving for the gym in the dark? No thanks. But, even when it’s cold and miserable, it’s important to still keep active and working towards your goals. The NHS estimate that over the course of the winter, the average person puts on around a pound – that might not sound like much, but over the course of five or ten years, that can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing. So, we thought, why not put together some advice on how to lose weight during winter without getting cold:
How to lose weight during winter: The Bamboo Guide
When you’re trying to work out how to lose weight during winter, it can be difficult to know where to start. Who wants to eat salad when it’s snowing?! Here are a few easy to follow tips to shed some weight this winter:
Cut down on (processed) sugar
Although it’s more tempting than ever to reach for the sugar during the winter months, it can lead to us putting on a lot of weight. A quick bit of science: sugary foods contain two sugary molecules – glucose and fructose. Now, glucose we like – glucose is used to give us energy and can be used by most parts of the body. But fructose? That’s the villain here. Only the liver can use fructose, and even then, it only needs small quantities. When we eat lots of processed sugar, the fructose gets metabolised by the liver. The liver then turns it into fat and secretes it into our bloodstream. This fat then travels around our body and builds up.
Instead, why not try healthier, natural sugars to itch that sweet craving? Honey, maple syrup and dates are all very sweet and can be used in baking to replicate the sweetness (but without all of the nastiness) that you’d get from processed sugar.
Make sure you get some exercise
The NHS recommend that you increase the amount of exercise that you do during the winter. But it’s freezing outside! What do you do? Here’s our top tip for how to lose weight during winter using only a few exercises, no gym equipment and without leaving the house:
• Focus on intensity, not endurance – doing intense exercise to raise your heart rate (known as HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training) not only helps you lose weight during the exercise, but also boosts your metabolism and produces an after-burn effect that allows you to continue to burn fat, even when you’re not working out. (If you’re new to HIIT, check out this guide by The Body Coach – he goes through all of the reasons that HIIT is so good for you, from the fact that it only takes 20 minutes and you don’t need to leave the house or buy fancy (or any) equipment to the fact that you get to treat yourself to a decent meal after the workout.)
A little bit like cutting back on the sugar – the trick to losing (or at least maintaining) weight over the winter is to eat smart.
One of the tricks on how to lose weight during winter is to eat more complex carbohydrates. (Yes – we’re actually telling you to eat bread!) These complex carbohydrates release a steady flow of energy and make you feel fuller for longer – stopping you from snacking and giving you the energy you need to get through the dreary, rainy, cold days!
Plus, make sure you have a hearty breakfast – not only does it set you up for the day, but a warm, hearty breakfast can boost your mood too. Result!
Don’t comfort eat (or if you do, make it good for you)
OK, we’ll admit – we comfort eat during the winter months. Who doesn’t? It’s really cold outside and you got caught in the rain on your way home – but you’ve just started a new series and there’s a bar of chocolate and some mince pies in the cupboard calling your name. You were going to save them for Christmas, but what’s the harm in having one now? (Or two, or three…)
But this comfort eating – especially when combined with a more sedentary lifestyle – can lead to weight gain, and quite quickly.
However, there is an answer – if you don’t fancy snacking on healthier snacks (nuts, for example) then there are alternatives that you can bake at home that are not just sugar-free, but tasty and healthy too. That means that you’re getting nutrients and comfort eating. Win, win!
If you’re new to the idea of cutting out refined-sugar, start with Deliciously Ella – she uses only natural ingredients to make everything from brownies to flapjacks, so you can snack without that weight creeping back!
Get a decent amount of sleep
This is the most important advice for winter in general – not just for weight loss. When the weather is colder and the days are longer, the human body reverts a stage where you need more sleep and your metabolism is slower. However, too little sleep can be a nightmare for your metabolism, meaning that you could begin to put on weight, even if you’re eating all of the right stuff.
Instead, get your head down nice and early (around 10pm) and make sure you clock in a decent night’s sleep – your body and your mood will thank you.
Have you got any tips, tricks or secret methods of staying trim (or losing a few pounds) over the winter? Let us know in the comments!