As the weather cools down, it's hard to keep up the motivation to exercise, while at the same time it can be especially hard to ignore the nagging temptation of comfort food. As a result, the weight sneaks on. Help avoid the kilo creep this winter with these tips from dietitian Belinda Neville.
Comfort eating doesn’t have to weigh you down
During the cooler weather, your metabolism revs up to warm your body. This makes you feel hungrier and often leaves you craving creamy pastas, pastries and other heavy meals and snacks, which are often loaded with kilojoules. The good news is you don’t have to give up comfort foods. Just make sure you’re preparing them at home and loading them up with veggies and ingredients that are fibre and protein-rich, like nuts and lentils. The combination of fibre and protein helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and may stop you heading back for seconds (or thirds).
Switch up your exercise regimen
When it’s dark and cold outside, it’s way too easy to justify skipping your exercise regimen and staying in bed. To stay motivated, try switching up your routine and consider exercising indoors, whether its yoga, Pilates or indoor swimming. If you don’t want to give up the fresh air, you might find it easier to exercise during your lunch break when it’s a little warmer.
A common trap for putting on weight during winter is eating out of boredom. Beware of mindless snacking (like eating a packet of biscuits while watching a movie) and make sure you choose snacks with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Nuts are an excellent choice. As well as ticking the box for fibre, protein and good fats, they switch on your satiety hormones, which can help to turn off your desire to eat. Eat them on their own or create a nutty snack, like healthy bliss balls, or spread some nut butter on apple slices.
Watch your hot drinks
Many of us enjoy a large, hot drink at our favourite café when it’s rainy and grey outside. Drinks like coffees and hot chocolates are an easy way to consume excess kilojoules, especially if you’re having a few each day and adding syrups or whipped cream. Try opting for herbal teas instead or if you do order a coffee or hot chocolate, avoid the extra toppings and make sure it’s a small size.
Spice it up
Instead of focusing on stodgy and kJ-rich foods, focus on adding as much flavour to your food as possible to help keep you satisfied and nourished. Chilli is a great addition to meals and can also boost your metabolic rate. Nuts add crunch and also have immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals. Also try new ways to use spices like ginger, turmeric and cumin that pack a flavoursome punch.
Belinda Neville is a dietitian with Nuts for Life
© Prevention Australia
First published: 3 Jul 2021