6 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain
By Kamyra La Fauci, Accredited Practising Dietitian
Ever notice your clothes feel that little bit tighter during Winter? Well you’re not alone!
Research tells us that the average Australian usually gains weight during Winter and struggles to lose it in the warmer seasons that follow. There are many reasons why we tend to gain those extra kgs during Winter, whether it be spending more time indoors and moving less or turning to warming comfort food. But luckily there are many things you can do to combat winter weight gain and stay on track this season:
- Try exercising after work, not before – when its dark outside and temperatures are dropping below 10°, you are more likely to click snooze on the alarm then get out bed in the morning to exercise. Instead, try exercising after work – this way you are already awake and are more likely to commit.
- Dust off the slow cooker – it can be easy to turn to ordering takeaway in winter when you’ve finished a long day of work and its pitch black outside. Instead, why not come home to your dinner already cooked for you? Slow cookers are a great option to leave on during the day and are an easy way to boost your vegetable intake. Be sure to opt for lean proteins in your favourite soups, stews and casseroles and serve with a small portion of low GI carbohydrates to complete your meal.
- Don’t forget about water – It’s easy to forget about water as our thirst usually decreases from sweating less and moving less, but staying hydrated is important for regulating our metabolism, appetite, energy levels and cognitive function. Keep your water bottle with you at all times and aim for 1.5-2L per day.
- Revamp your traditional “comfort foods” – when we think of traditional warming winter meals, dishes like pastas, curries, apple pie and ice-cream generally come to mind. But all warming winter meals don’t have to be unhealthy! Try renovating your favourite winter recipes with smart swaps to lower the calories, like swapping out rice for cauli rice, or pasta for zoodles or opting for tomato-based stews and soups over creamy varieties. This well help to moderate the calories of your meals, whilst still enjoying your favourite dishes – win win!
- Cook in bulk and freeze – sick of cooking every night? Why not try cooking in bulk and freezing what’s left? Winter foods like casseroles, stews, slow cooker dishes and soups are the easiest to freeze (compared to a salad) and will more likely provide a healthier, portion controlled alternative than your local Indian takeout will.
- Go easy on the liquid calories – it’s not uncommon for people to start drinking hot chocolate at night or even snuggling up to a glass or two of red wine each night to keep warm in those cooler months. Try opting for tea varieties (our favourite are peppermint and fruit teas) instead and keeping alcohol to social occasions.