How to prevent over eating at a time when motivation & calorie burning is at an annual winter low.
Putting on weight over the winter months is almost a given, and it’s easy to see how it happens. There is something nurturing about a warm cosy bed when the elements are pouring down around you outside. Your usual energetic spring out of bed which comes so easily nine other months of the year seems to be such an effort.
So the first thing to remember, is to not make the usual statements such as-
“I hibernate in the winter” or a favourite of mine- “Everybody puts on winter fleece.”
No, the new winter mantra for you is – “Summer bodies are made in winter.”
Be aware of your eating habits. If you find yourself falling into an eating or drinking habit, then often it will serve you well in the initial stages to simply form different, healthier habits, yes the habit is still there- for whatever mental emotional reason it is, however you are at least choosing a habit that isn’t going to send the scales into a twirling spiral over the winter months.
A great example is coffee- exchange coffee for tea, yes it does sound a little basic- if not boring, however this is one area that make can a massive difference to calorie intake. It is not just about the calories. It is the hormonal effects certain foods and beverages have on the body, and milk is a big one. Dairy milk induces an insulin – insulin is a fat storing hormone. Even black coffee itself produces a small insulin response, nowhere hear the response of milk, but an insulin response none the less.
Insulin stays in your blood for 3 days signalling to your body to store fat!
We need to think thermogenic, what is going to kick your metabolism along? A winner in the tea steaks (whilst we are still thinking about exchanging our coffee for something, is green tea. Green tea has a compound called epigallo-catechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG increases your metabolic rate over a 24-hour period. Drinking your tea strong will give you better effects. 3-4 cups across a day is recommended. This will also be adding to your daily water consumption.
You could start your day with a homemade Brothy! Just like a coffee- but a brothy! It’s hot, its soothing and oh so good for you. Perfect on cold winter morning. Bone broths are full of proteins, Glucosamine, chondroitin and sooo many more proteins we pay top dollar for in a supplemental formula. A bone broth will help to heal a leaky gut and is one of the most nutritive foods you can incorporate into your diet. Do it yourself, organic bones. It’s so easy.
Add thermogenic foods and spices to your meals- Capsaicin is the compound found in, Cayenne pepper, Jalapenos and red chilies. Black pepper & Ginger have similar effects.
Make sure there is always a fat with each of your meals. Adding the monounsaturated fats of avocado or a hearty healthy omega 3 fat component to your meal such as walnuts, salmon, mackerel, chia seed or hemp seeds is simply excellent for satiety. Don’t be afraid of fats in your diet-it is carbohydrates, the pasta bread and grain products in your diet that the body will turn into fat. Fat is generally burnt as a fuel and assists cardio vascular health- carbs are what is making us fat.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This can help quell the pangs of an empty stomach and promote a healthy digestive and lymphatic system. If it’s cold and you don’t want to drink cold water- don’t. Warm water with a little fresh squeezed lemon is a great option.
We are simply colder in the winter months, to heat ourselves up- we eat. Having a homemade soup in the hot pot or frozen and ready to go whenever you feel like a nibble is a healthy option. A clear vegetable soup high in thermogenic spices.
Incorporate foods rich in Magnesium. A 2013 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that higher magnesium intake was associated with lower levels of fasting glucose and insulin-markers that related to fat and weight gain. Having a teaspoon of Magnesium powder when you get that want to “sugar binge” is another trick up your sleeve. Magnesium is known to reduce the amount of insulin released by the pancreas, making it an effective energy enhancing and weight loss tool to have in your cupboard. One of my favourite ways to incorporate Magnesium into my diet – dark organic chocolate!
Perhaps your gym has a sauna you have never seen the inside of? You could give yourself a winter detox, Saunas are excellent for detoxification and are super invigorating once you are done. The warmth of the sauna can be your reward for getting to the gym perhaps?
Don’t forget about yoga! Yoga is a great winter habit. Find yourself a class and get into your yogi routine- Bikrams is an obvious one as Bikrams yoga is done in a heated room, however any sort of yoga is going to get heated.