Posted on May 29, 2014 by Rebecca in Life

The cold weather has set in and it is getting harder to get out of bed in the morning and get into your exercise regime! The kilos are beginning to pile on, but hey, underneath those big jumpers and tracksuits what does it matter? Many people find that they put on weight during the colder months. The extra weight that people accumulate can often simply be equated to the nature of the foods that are consumed during these months and the significant reduction in activity levels. In summer, we snack on fresh fruit and ice blocks on the way to the beach for a swim or surf. Whereas in winter, there is less incentive to engage in activity due to the colder weather, and nights in with a block of chocolate often take precedence to other forms of social activity. Is it any wonder that we put on weight? The key to avoiding winter weight gain is to not let it get out of control; here are Hypoxi’s tips for keeping a tab on this and avoiding the winter bulge.

Comfort Foods

Hot chocolates with melting marshmallows, biscuits and chocolate may taste fantastic and make you feel good momentarily, but they are also packed with the types of fats that are extremely difficult to burn off. Look for other options when you are feeling like some cold weather comfort food. Try and distract yourself from unhealthy choices: Instead, grab a massage, take a warm bath or savour a glass of red wine. These are all feel good options which will not negatively impact on your weight.

No excuses

Just because you do not have to show as much flesh in winter, does not mean it is an excuse to eat more. It is easier to “let yourself go” during the colder season and eat things you would normally avoid some time before they need to bare their legs, arms or stomachs again. Monitor your weight regularly so if it starts to creep up you can gain control of it again quickly. For accurate results, weigh yourself first thing in the morning, at most once a week.

Soup it up

Soup, particularly vegetable based soups are a great option nutritionally as they combine a high nutrient density with a low energy density – this means that we get lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories. A low calorie option that fills us up is gold standard when it comes to foods that need to be regularly included in the diet. Naturally homemade soups are the best option. This way you can control the type and amounts of vegetables that you use to make your soup as well as choosing to use salt reduced stocks and few other additives. Beware of pre-made soups which often contain high levels of sodium.

Maintain your exercise program

The cold weather inevitability means that people spend more time indoors. The extra time spent at home, with easy access to food means that people are more likely to snack. There is nothing wrong with snacking; it is the types of foods that people choose to snack on that is the issue. Chips, cakes, muesli bars and Tim Tams are the types of snack foods that are commonly chosen. These foods are high in fat and refined sugars and low in satiety. Foods which have a low satiety value are digested quickly and do not keep you full for long after eating them, which in turn makes you more likely to eat more in total. Stick to your regular meals and always choose filling snack food options such as low fat cheese and crackers, skim milk cappuccinos or hot chocolate, fruit and low fat yoghurt or nut based muesli bars.

Watch the heavy food

Cream and starch based soups eaten with bread, heavy desserts and extra glasses of wine or spirits each contribute a significantly greater number of calories to the diet compared to the salads, BBQ’s and ice creams of Summer. Look for lighter, vegetable based soups and skip the extra bread, stick to fruit for dessert and watch the number of glasses of alcohol you consume each day. Keep in mind that these types of food are also likely to be consumed at night which can make individuals prone to fat gain.