As we approach the cold months of November, December and January, the temperature has started dropping. The woollens will be out soon, and simultaneously, people will begin to add weight. Unfortunately, pounds pile on during these cold months.

As days tend to get shorter due to cooler weather, finding time for exercise could become difficult. You may also be deterred from continuing with your active routine. Your cravings for comfort food skyrocket as the temperature plummets, while you consume more warming, heavier foods.

Preventing weight gain during the winter season

You need to take pre-emptive measures to avoid gaining weight during this year’s winter season. You don’t have to follow strict diets or ‘detoxes’, and you don’t need to give up your favourite winter meals. There are many easy ways of avoiding unwanted weight gain without making impulsive food choices or skipping meals.

Here are some measures that you can take to avoid adding weight during the winter season.

Relieve yourself from stress

There is a strong connection between weight gain and stress. Recent studies have proved that when humans become stressed, more glucocorticoids are released into the body. Glucocorticoids are hormones that convert normal cells into fat cells. More cells become fat cells under prolonged stress periods to cause weight gain.

Cortisol, which is a stress hormone, also has a strong connection with weight gain. As stress levels increase, more cortisol is released into the body, which in turn leads to weight gain.

When trying to lose weight, stress relief is important. You could indulge in activities that can help you relax, such as exercising. This helps to reduce stress as you burn excess calories. Other methods such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, journaling, crafting, pet therapy, and time with friends are also effective.

Use meal replacement bars

Meal replacement bars are an efficient and effective way of reducing calories in diets. While they can help you lose weight, meal replacement bars are designed to function as meals, not just snacks for filling the cracks. However, they are not recommended as a long-term solution for weight loss. They’re only used in the short term to enhance weight loss without compromising long-term, healthier weight loss goals.

Although complete meals are always the best option, meal replacement bars are a great choice for a nourishing, quick fuel source. They provide lightweight trail food, high-calorie performance fuel, or a quick and easy meal if you happen to be tight on time.

Get more sunshine and natural light

Your natural body clock needs support from exposure to natural light and sunlight throughout the day. This can boost energy, improve sleep, and help you lose weight. Regular exposure to the sun has been proven as among the best ways of reducing winter fat. You just need a picnic lunch or to get out for a walk when the sun is most intense between 10am and 3pm.

Your natural body clock needs support from exposure to natural light

Get sufficient sleep (seven to eight hours every day)

You are less likely to pack on the pounds when you sleep more. Sleep deprivation changes energy levels and appetite, which sparks a desire for tasty foods between meals such as unhealthy snacks. This happens in response to the change in the part of the brain that drives eating behaviours.

The hormone leptin reduces when you deprive yourself of sleep. This causes appetite suppression and increases ghrelin levels, which in turn increases your appetite to trigger feelings of hunger. When this happens, you’re left helpless to prevent yourself from eating more than usual.

It’s very important to improve your sleep. Create a consistent sleeping schedule by sleeping and waking up at the same time every day.  Keep your room dark and cool, and remove technology devices from your bedroom, including televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets. To help you relax better, it’s also important to have a before-sleep ritual.

Take more water

During the winter months, it becomes harder to drink the recommended amount of water. This is because the natural thirst response tends to be thrown off by cold temperatures. However, you could take warm water to achieve your goal of losing weight. Aim for at least eight glasses of water each day, and consume more water-rich foods such as berries, grapes, tomatoes, melons, celery, greens, cucumbers, stews and other soups.

The following are some of the ways that water can help you lose weight:

  • It prevents snacking – Before you reach out for a snack when you feel hungry, try to drink a full glass of water. It will act as a natural appetite suppressant.
  • You will eat less at meals – If you take a full glass of water before a meal, you will feel full and you’ll eat less.
  • It helps to boost metabolism – Water increases body energy expenditure, which increases the number of calories that your body burns. Burning more calories means losing more weight.
  • Water helps to burn fat – To burn more fat in your body, you need to take more water. Increased water intake increases lipolysis – the process of breaking down fats by the body. Taking more water also helps to decrease your appetite, which helps you to lose more weight.
  • It improves digestion – When you take water soon after meals, it helps to flush waste from your body, which reduces the risk of bloating and improves digestion.

During the winter months, we move less, spend longer indoors, and eat more. While there are other health conditions that cause uncontrolled weight gain, it’s only natural that over the winter months, we might put on a little extra insulation. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating habits during winter is important for your general health as well as for your weight management.

If unnecessary weight gain is a concern for you, then the above tips can help. As with meal replacement bar diets, they rely on quick-fix mentalities. The resulting weight loss from these bars is only sustainable in the short term (during the winter season). Since weight loss bars cannot always serve as genuine and regular stand-ins for real meals, your body may end up losing essential, healthy nutrients. To effectively lose weight, you need a personalised, long-term weight loss programme.

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