Are you worried about piling on the pounds between now and New Years? As the icy winter rolls in and the Christmas period begins, it might feel inevitable that you’ll experience some form of unwanted weight gain. After all, those scrumptious bonfire night treats and mugs of hot cider are almost unavoidable, and who wants to eat a healthy salad on a freezing cold late November afternoon?
Contrary to popular belief, there are ways you can stay fit and eat well while enjoying the delicious comforts of winter.
High Energy, Warming Breakfasts
Breakfast has gained a solid reputation as the most important meal of the day. This is especially true in the winter months. Eating regular high energy breakfasts is medically proven to reduce your risk of developing certain heart conditions, hypertension and even obesity. When the weather cools, you may feel sluggish from not being able to venture out on a nice long walk, and could feel a tad lower than usual (sometimes known as Seasonal Affective Disorder). Warming breakfasts that contain slow releasing energy will keep you fuller for longer and stimulate your serotonin levels. Eating a bowl of classic porridge is always delicious, but you can substitute the oats for a lower calorie grain, such as buckwheat or wheat berries in order to keep it in line with your diet. What’s great about low calorie porridge is its so versatile. Pair it with fresh berries, locally sourced honey or a sprinkle of cinnamon for that wholesome, warming experience.
Alternatively, you can make yourself some gorgeous Hairy Dieter fluffy pancakes to pair with bananas and blueberries.
Top Tip: If you want, you can switch the caster sugar in the pancake recipe for coconut palm sugar, a lower calorie alternative with a healthier glucose index, which regulates your blood sugar levels.
Cold Weather Exercise
It’s up to you whether you want to venture outside for your normal workout or not. But before you completely dismiss the idea of running across the moors in the bitter morning frost, you should know that research has shown you’ll burn more calories in outdoor winter activities than you do in warmer temperatures.
If you do decide to brave the weather, make sure you plan a safe route in well lit areas that aren’t going to be piled high with snow and wear bright reflective winter clothing.
If freezing cold workouts aren’t for you, it doesn’t mean you have to sit around all day waiting for the sun to reappear. There are also plenty of indoor activities you can swap to until the spring arrives. Exercise classes such as Zumba or Barrecore (fat-burning format of interval training with static stretches after each major muscle is worked) are great cardio sessions with the added benefits of having a good laugh and meeting new people. Martial arts such as Thai chi or Kung fu are also full body workouts with an added focus on balance, coordination and strength. And the list goes on – indoor climbing, badminton, spin classes, adult gymnastics and trampolining are all available to take part in during a cool November. Getting yourself a good pair of dumbbells can also help you build muscle from your own front room.
Healthy Meals For All Occasions
Have you ever wondered why you crave high calorie foods in the winter? The answer is actually quite simple. Cold weather brings with it a natural, instructive urge to insulate ourselves. Furthermore, flu and other bugs become more prominent during this time which can influence the types of foods we choose to make ourselves feel better. There’s also a cultural factor. October, November and December are host to many special occasions. Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Years are feel-good family holidays with a long history of rich celebratory foods and gallons of mulled wine.
But it’s not obligatory that you put on weight during this season. You can select delicious wholesome foods to eat with your friends and family on bonfire night without them even knowing they’re low calorie.
Cumin, spiced lentil and carrot soup is packed with delicious root vegetables and makes a perfect starter or lunch. You can also prepare a Hairy Dieters’ hearty nut and spinach roast to keep yourself full and satisfied as the cold evenings roll in.
Top Tip: Protein rich foods will give you that ‘fuller for longer’ feeling, so stock up on yummy root vegetables, nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, red meat and plenty of greens.
For a helping hand on tracking your weight loss over the festive period, try out our weight loss calculator, and don’t forget to keep popping back here for delicious recipes and tips.
Have your cake and eat it!
Want healthy baking ideas? Learn how to bake homemade cakes that won’t send your calorie count off track. Plus, discover a healthy substitute for sugar and chocolate! With our healthy baking guide, you can make your cakes and enjoy eating them too, all while losing weight!