We can’t believe it is winter already! With the weather becoming colder and daylight hours dwindling, are you finding yourself increasingly demotivated? Scared of letting go of the summer body you worked so hard for?
As it turns out, there’s a scientific reason for why we gain weight in winter, according to research by the University of Exeter. Evolutionarily speaking, excess weight has never threatened our survival, whereas being underweight has. For our early ancestors, the winter months were risky as food was scarce. This is why even today we struggle to turn down dessert and feel the need to eat more fat and sugar in the cooler months.
Don’t Freak Out. Don’t Start a Fad Diet!
Whatever you do, don’t sign yourself up for a fad diet. Starting a fad diet will do more harm than good in the long run. Fad diets can create a range of issues, from constipation, inadequate vitamin and mineral intake and headaches. They can also actually slow your metabolism down as your body can go into “starvation mode.” You’re also likely to gain the weight back. Ultimately, fad diets are not a long-term or healthy solution.
Avoid Comfort Foods
When hungry in winter, we tend to reach for the warm, comfort foods. Instead, you could be opting for some equally yummy and fulfilling foods that are also better for you. Try making this Cauliflower Green Pizza instead of the traditional version. If you’re craving warm Indian, try No-Butter Butter Chicken is a delicious option. For dessert, the Black Bean Brownies are a yummy alternative.
Meal Prep with Your Own Home-Cooking
Winter mornings can be pretty uninspiring because it’s dark and cold. You may be tempted to buy your lunch when you’re out without putting much thought into what you’re consuming. Plan your meals ahead to keep track of your nutrition and consumption.
Don’t Drop Your Exercise Routine
Cold and dark mornings make it harder to get out of bed in winter time, but if you push through, exercising first thing is the perfect way to kick-start your day. It also makes you feel more alert for the rest of the day.
The cooler weather makes for much more pleasant workout conditions. Alternatively, you can also choose to work out in the evening. And, if you’re struggling for motivation, find a gym buddy or join a fitness class. With multiple local gyms around Perth, Surge Fitness is great for group fitness workouts available in the mornings and evenings.
Go for a Brief Lunchtime Walk
A quick walk at lunchtime provides not only physical benefits, but mental benefits too! It also provides you with a much-needed Vitamin D boost. A bit of sun-exposure is essential to tackle those “winter blues.” According to Psychology Today; “researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions of the brain – the same regions that are linked with depression.” Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs when less sunshine equates to a drop in vitamin D levels in the body, which is in turn affects serotonin levels in the brain.
Keep an Eye on Your Sleep Cycle
In winter, we tend to sleep more. More sleep and less activity and throw out your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock which controls sleep cycles), which can result in weight gain.
To keep track of your sleeping routine, try a sleeping app. If you’re an Apple devotee, give Pillow a go. The Pillow app keeps track of your movements and sounds during sleep and figures out the best time to wake you up. It can also give you detailed information about your heart rate during the night. If you’re on team Android, try the Runstastic Sleep Better app. This app is quite extensive and monitors your sleep duration and quality, caffeine and alcohol consumption, moon phases and even allows you to keep a dream diary!
Keeping fit in winter is never an easy task, but do not stress! With these 6 steps you can keep that bikini body you worked so hard for last summer. With a little preparation, a sensible diet, and some exercise you will be well on your way to feeling and looking fantastic year round. Don’t forget to get some quality sleep in and a little sunshine, too. If you’re looking for a gym in Perth or would like to join a fitness class, Surge Fitness has multiple locations open 24/7 to cater for busy schedules.