How to lose weight (instead of gain it) this winter
The winter months are notorious for weight gain with long hours spent indoors eating and watching TV generally to blame for a few unwanted kilos. So if you would prefer to take control now and use the quieter months of the year to focus on weight loss, here are some simple strategies to help you lose up to 6 kilos this winter without too much extra work.
1. Adopt a fasting regime
You may prefer to follow a low calorie plan of 500-600 calories twice each week or eat all of your calories within an 8 hour period (12-8pm), but research that examines the metabolic benefits of regular intermittent fasting has generally shown a 1-2kg weight loss each month without extreme dieting or calorie restriction. It appears that limiting the number of hours in which we eat, or occasionally eating very few calories acts to help reset a number of our hormones which in turn supports slow but sustainable weight loss.
2. Focus on low calorie foods
You may like soups or salads or roasted vegetables but whatever your preference simply focusing one meal each day around low calorie vegetables not only gives you a daily nutrient hit but also lowers your overall calorie intake whilst still allowing you to consume a good volume of food. Studies have repeatedly shown that when a meal includes a soup or salad dieters consume up to 100 fewer calories per meal.
3. Add in 30 minutes of walking
Sedentary lifestyles are generally to blame for slow insidious weight gain, and it is common in the winter months to move even less than usual thanks to the cooler temperatures and shorter days. A simple way to compensate for this reduction in physical activity is to add in a daily 30 minute walk or run. You can do it at any time, but focusing on a routine that includes 30 minutes of continuous movement each day will burn at least 200 extra calories each day for minimal effort. After dinner, as part of your daily commute or during your lunchbreak tend to be the times that work best for the average person.
4. Change your coffee
When it is cold outside there is nothing better than a warming drink to break up the day but hot chocolates and milky coffees contain plenty of extra sugars and calories few of us need. If you simply swap your coffee to a piccolo or ¾ or swap a coffee or two for a low calorie tea you will save plenty of calories over the next 3 months. Most importantly changing our usual food routine, such as having a milk coffee at the same time every day is one of the best things you can do to give your metabolism a boost.
5. Give yourself a cheat
Diets are rarely sustainable long term as few of us can maintain a pattern of constant restriction. For this reason when you commit to several lifestyle changes, an equally important component is to allow yourself a meal or two off each week in which you can enjoy a meal or event without worrying what you are eating and drinking. A cheat does not mean a binge but it allows for a few drinks, larger meal or slice of cake when you really feel like it so you can remain focused the rest of the time.