The cooler weather is rapidly closing in on Gauteng and if you’re a 05:00 warrior then you already have the winter layers on.
The temptation to hibernate for the winter months is strong! Johannesburg can be rough during this time. The cold weather triggers bad habits and behaviors such as comfort eating and staying away from the gym.
Eating and digestion raises body temperature, which is why you crave all the goodies when feeling cold. Hiding from the cold also means we are inclined to skip our regular training sessions. So more calories in from comfort food and less calories out from not moving as much as we are used to equals winter weight gain!
Here are a few strategies to implement to get through the next few months without undoing your post-lockdown gains.
SAY NO TO TAKEAWAYS
Cook your own food or use a meal-preparation service that caters to your dietary requirements. Being in control of your food is a simple way to reign in your nutrition. Takeaways are heavy on the calories and often make use of questionable ingredients that impact on your health and wellness.
FOCUS ON FIBER
Fiber is often overlooked and most of us don’t get enough of it. Fiber increases satiety and contributes to a healthy digestive system. Increase your intake by adding fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and if you tolerate them, grains and legumes to your meals. Adults should aim for approximately 30 grams a day.
PROTEIN AND CARBS
Protein also contributes to helping you feel fuller for longer and its digestion process raises body temperature! So consider increasing your protein at each meal by adding good-quality whole-food sources such as eggs, chicken, lean beef and pork, fish and if tolerated, full-fat unsweetened preferably organic yoghurt.
Winter comfort food tends to be heavy on the refined carbs, which if we aren’t careful will contribute to weight gain – especially if you aren’t training at the same intensity or volume. Keep the creamy mac and cheese to an occasional treat and not a regular dinner option J
EAT YOUR VEGGIES
Aim to get half your plate full of vegetables at lunch and dinner. Experiment with herbs and spices and in how you prepare them. You aren’t limited to steamed broccoli! The internet is full of interesting cooking methods and spice combinations and you can try something new every week. Vegetables are full of micronutrients, which will help you stay healthy and feel fuller for longer.
FIND HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO YOUR FAVORITE TREATS
Swop your malva pudding and custard for baked fruit and full-fat yoghurt. Chocoholics – find a sugar-free dark chocolate slab instead of the Cadbury’s whole nut and stick to just a few blocks! Crumb your own meat using an almond or coconut crumb instead of store bought schnitzels. Swap cream for yoghurt in your curries. Find ways of making your favorite treats more nutritious instead of cutting them out and feeling deprived.
If you aren’t able to get to the gym, do something else instead. Pajama Pilates, yoga in front of your heater or 10 burpees on the hour every hour if you’re hibernating at home over the weekend. While purposeful exercise is great for your health and wellness, your daily activity outside of the gym has more impact on keeping your weight in check.
Summer bodies are made in winter – let’s remember that and commit to training even though it may be cold and not succumbing to all the winter comfort eating – your summer self will thank you for it!
By: Coach Lisa