7 Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain
Winter weight gain is not just something everyone talks about, it is a grim reality for most people in the world. For most Melbournians, we will gain between 2 – 5 kilos of weight over the winter months. GASP! How does that happen? Well, it’s pretty straight forward. The cold has a domino effect that if not treated carefully will lead to certain weight gain. This domino effect starts as the cold/wet/windy weather diminishes our drive to exercise.
Suddenly the thought of leaving the house in gym gear is too daunting so we stay indoors. The lack of exercise has an even more profound effect on the body as it leads to more stress, the feeling of guilt (for not exercising) and often poor mood swings. These mood swings have us reaching for comfort/ “happy foods” such as sweets or carbohydrate dense foods. All of these elements lead to an increase in calorie intake matched with diminished calorie expenditure. The outcome. Weight Gain.
These winter weight gains lead to the spring and summer time being in frantic obsessions at the gym trying to do damage control before we hit the beach. In reality, it can all be avoided if you follow these simple steps to avoiding winter weight gain in the beginning.
Step 1: Reassess and break down your goals
No matter what your fitness goals are, I can bet many of them have something to do with how we want to look and feel when the sun is shining. The trouble is in the cold wet winter months it is often hard to visualise the sun beaming down on our bare backs as we head for the water. This is why it is all too easy to set our goal aside in winter. The overall goal isn’t enough to motivate you to get your bum into gear when it really matters. Which is why it is important to readdress your goals in winter and set some new smaller achievable targets to hit before spring. Ones that will put you in a far better off position to achieving your overall goal before summer is upon us.
Step 2: Make a plan.
Have you ever heard the term ‘Having No Plan is like Planning to Fail’ This couldn’t be more correct when it comes to fitness? Once you have set your overall goals it is important to plan on how you are going to achieve them. Sit down and map out exactly when the best times are for you to exercise. These should be times when life is less likely to get in your way. So if you know there is the possibility that the boss may ask you to work a few late nights this month don’t plan to exercise at night, as this will be the first thing on the chopping board. Once you have set your plan you should stick to it.
Step 3: Take measurements
Too many people rely only on the scales as their success indicator. This should not be the case. If your weight has stayed the same however your body has toned and tightened up, you have lost centimeters around your body and you are fitting into smaller clothes, is this not a success. Of course, it is. However, how are you going to know that you have succeeded if you haven’t first taken measurements? At the very least take the following girth measurements:
Women: waist, hips, bum, thighs
Men: chest, belly button line, hips, bum, thighs
Step 4: Find a training buddy or group
For some unbeknown reason, we seem to be just fine with letting ourselves down. It has happened so many times in the past so what’s one more time. Whats another gym session missed or cut short. However, when it comes to what other people think of us and letting other people down that is a different story altogether. If you commit to training with a buddy and you skip a session your absence is definitely noticed. Also once you start your buddy will make sure you push and work toward the result you are looking to achieve.
Step 5. COOK!!!! Avoid eating out or ordering in
When it is cold the motivation to cook is often just as hard to find as the motivation to exercise. This has the two-fold effect on our waistline. Try and avoid eating out or ordering takeaway. No matter how healthy it looks or reads on paper YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT IS PREPARED. Also If you are eating out and spending more money on your food you tend to want to get your money’s worth. That’s why when the chef brings you a 3 kilo portion size you do your absolute best to clear the plate. Besides you wouldn’t want to offend the chef, would you? Eating out and having takeaway is the sure fire way to gain weight over the winter months. This also goes for eating packet foods. Just because you bought the box at the supermarket and put it in the oven this doesn’t count as cooking
Step 6: Become calorie aware
Now many will preach the need for calorie counting and how it maximizes your success. We aren’t going to tell you to do this because it can become very obsessive and can often lead to stress. However, if you can manage to do it then by all means stick to it. On the lesser note we urge you to become more calorie aware. A calorie is most definitely NOT a calorie. Be sensible with your food choices.
Step 7: Reward your achievements
It is important to set yourself a reward for your goals, it is even more important to follow through with them. Try and avoid setting food orientated rewards or rewards that will counteract you hitting an overall goal, like, if I lose 5 kilos I will go to Yum Cha or some other restaurant I love. Rather something like, I really want to buy a new shirt so when I lose 5 kilos I can go ahead and buy it. Make sure you follow through with this reward. If you don’t celebrate your wins then who will?