Winter is the time many people start gaining weight. Not just because of the holidays and the comfort foods they welcome, but because it’s cold. If you already have to force yourself to get up at 5 to run, you have to be extra forceful in the winter time.
There’s this quote one of my friends retweeted about the cold seasons: “Fall is when everything is dropping: the temperature, the motivation, my GPA...”
It’s not exactly fall, but there is definitely some relationship between temperature and motivation. In fact, a study published under the Harvard Medical School stated that, “within an optimal thermal zone a higher body temperature will be associated with a higher performance in humans”. In other words, that’s why people aren’t as motivated in the wintertime.
And in the cold time, the last thing people are advocating you to do is go outside. Heck, there’s a whole winter song about a woman wanting to leave, but the man keeps telling her “baby, it’s cold outside.”
Not to mention, so many refer to winter as “bulking season” and then never stop eating excessively afterwards. It’s all a science.
But there’s gotta be a way to beat the couple of pounds we add on every winter, and there is. Sure, it might take a bit more willpower, but there are several things you can do to remain in shape this winter.
Treat it like any other season!
So what if it’s a bit colder? It doesn’t mean you to eat comfort foods all day long to keep warm. It also doesn’t mean you to stay inside all day long either. If the weather is awful, you could skip out on the morning jog, but if it’s not, don’t let cultural norms or the “gloomy weather” slow you down. If you want to stay in shape this winter, you’ve got to keep living healthy. If you normally work out every other day in the evening, continue to do so.
1. Have warm clothes.
Make sure you’re warm. Who really wants to do anything when they’re cold? If you’re going outside, ascertain that you have some type of cap to help keep your head warm, the part of your body that needs the most protection. And nothing is more annoying than cold hands, especially when you’re driving to the gym. Mittens are a must!
2. Just GO.
You know what else keeps you warm? Moving! I know, pretty ironic that the last thing you want to do when you’re cold is move, but moving keeps your body warm. If you’re a runner and want to go outside, then GO! Running will keep you warm. And it’s a great mental strength challenge to run in the cold.
3. Make casseroles sparingly.
Lots of people like to eat casseroles and other comfort foods when it’s cold so the food can warm them up. But not all casseroles have to be hearty.
4. Log in what you eat.
After you finished consuming, write down what you’ve eaten in your journal or on your phone. Studies have shown that keeping a food journal can help people reach their fitness goals.
5. Buy a jump rope.
Not a fan of outdoor exercise but want something else to do to burn calories? Jump roping is a great way to burn a few calories—about 10 calories per minute to be exact (according to Shape.com).
6. Get some weights.
To maintain your weight, you’re also going to want some dumbbells or kettlebells, especially if you’re snowed in for a while but want to keep your muscles challenged. It takes about 12 weeks of inactivity for your muscles to start deteriorating. There’s a notion that tells us to never go three days without exercise, and that’s because 3 days can easily turn into 3 weeks and so on if you’re not careful about it.
7. Skip out on the hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate is mainly sugar, sugar, and more sugar. And then adding it with a whole bunch of toppings like marshmallows and whipped cream does nothing for the body but spike glucose levels. That’s why it’s so important to try and keep warm in the winter time—so you don’t fall into drink traps like hot cocoa.
However, if you’ve just finished fighting a snow-pocalypse and can’t drink cold water or you’ll cry, reach for warm water.
I know, I know. That sounds putrid.
But look, there are sooo many health benefits of warm and hot water. Warm water has been used to promote blood circulation, stop aging, promote weight loss, and promote healthy bowel movements. And if you don’t like the taste of plain warm water, try squirting in a few drops of lemon or honey. Lemon with warm water has been used for weight loss, and honey with water has been used to clean out all the nooks and crannies inside your body.
Or, you can reap the benefits of tea instead: green, black, peppermint, even tea. Several teas like green tea and ginger tea help promote weight loss. Green tea also contains antioxidants that reduce aging. WebMD has an extensive list of teas and their benefits.
8. Have a fitness buddy.
We know it’s difficult to find motivation in the winter. This is why it’s important to find someone that also shares your same fitness and health goals. Have a buddy and check up on each other. Schedule workout dates with each other at your house or maybe even outside. This study from the Annals of Behavioral Medicine has shown how effective working out with a buddy is.
It’s never too early, too late, too hot, or too cold to take care of your body. Just because it’s celebration time doesn’t mean you have to be on party mode every day. Don’t let one holiday party defray you too far from your health journey. Work out, eat right, and continue listen to your body.