• Dr Sally Norton

HOW TO AVOID WINTER WEIGHT GAIN



We all know that the pounds can creep on over the winter months, hidden under the layers of warm clothes. The bikini body days are long gone, if they ever existed at all, and the healthy salads have been replaced by heartier fare. How can we avoid the tightening waistbands and sluggishness that results from a long cold winter? Here are a few tips to try...



Soak up any light you can​​

The light levels are low in winter and artificial light does nothing to help our body clock work at its best. Result?....Poor sleep. And poor sleep means higher cortisol levels, increased appetite and a craving for high fat and high sugar foods. And that doesn't help weight loss. So, try to get outdoors whenever you can to re-set your body clock with natural light. And consider a vitamin D supplement too as we make this essential vitamin from sunlight and are therefore often lacking in winter. Around 400- 800 IU a day is suggested though some studies recommend even more. As with all vitamins, however, don't exceed maximum daily recommendations or they can have side-effects.

Tweak your comfort foods​​

We naturally reach for 'comfort foods' when the nights draw in. It's hard to resist. So, don't. Instead see how you can make some small tweaks to your favourite comfort foods to just make them a little healthier. Try a swirl of gut-bacteria friendly live yoghurt instead of cream in your soup. Or sweet potato topping on a cottage pie to add to your 5-a-day. A hot chocolate made with raw cacao powder instead of a sugar-loaded version. That way you still get the mental boost and added nutrients without the added calories.

Embrace the cold​​

Did you know that exercising in the cold is a great way to boost our brown fat...a type of fat that burns rather than stores energy? So, don’t let the cold weather be an excuse for snuggling up indoors. Instead, get on your trainers or walking boots and make the most of it. As well as getting some natural winter light to re-set your body clock you will get a mental boost, tone up and add to your brown fat stores - all of which will maximise your weight loss.

Don't worry too much about it.....

Actually, our weight naturally fluctuates with the seasons. Our tribal ancestors would lay down some reserves over the late summer to help them last the winter. Of course, we don't have the same food shortages that they would. But understand that our weight is bound to vary a little with seasons, with our monthly cycle and with other life events and don't beat yourself up too much. Being too harsh just adds to the yo-yo dieting mindset. Cut yourself a bit of slack and ditch the rigid dieting mentality - you may well find it helps.

But if you need more help getting back in control of your weight then sign up for my 12 weeks online Weight Loss for Life programme starting on 7th Jan. I can show you how to lose weight and keep it off for good.


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