In my earlier article, Beat the Christmas Bulge, I explained why we found it more difficult to stay trim and toned in the winter months. Here are 12 tops tips to help you face the challenge of the dreaded winter bulge.
Here are my Quirky Top Tips to help you BEAT the winter bulge:
1. Ditch the ‘all or nothing’ MENTALITY – perfection doesn’t exist, believe me! Don’t let one ‘bad’ thing lead into a ‘oh-I’ve-done-it-now-what’s-the-point-of-carrying-on’ SPLURGE! Sack those sabotaging thoughts.
2. Have BREAKFAST! – Try a lovely warming bowl of porridge – oats can help lower your CHOLESTEROL and keep you fuller for longer, so that you don’t SNACK before lunch.
3. Embrace winter VEG – why not try something new like butternut squash or kale and don’t forget the winter favourites – cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, parsnips, turnips and swede.
4. Include VEG with every meal – this will prevent you overloading on CARBOHYDRATES. Half fill your plate with veg / salad, then, divide the other half between carbs (starchy foods) and protein (meat, fish, beans, lentils). This will help calorie control your meals as vegetables / salad are much lower in calories than carbs.
5. Watch your PLATE SIZE – Out with the large plates and bowls and in with the medium sized. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference a little change like this can make. Foregoing that extra spoonful can make such a difference over a week, and even a bigger difference over a month. An easy way to MEASURE the size of your plate is to use your HAND – if the area in which you eat from (inside the rim) is about the size of your open hand – your good to go. If it’s bigger, then you need to DOWNSIZE.
6. Stay ACTIVE! – Exercise is just as IMPORTANT, if not more so, during the winter but, we tend to not do as much. If the sub-zero temperatures outside freeze your motivation, then think of activities you can do at home. The whole family could get involved with a tournament on an activity games console, invest in an exercise bike, buy a fitness DVD, put on a CD and have a jig or even walk up and down the stairs a few times. Why not go all out and enter yourself into a race / half marathon for the following year to keep up your motivation.
7. Don’t COMFORT EAT – it’s ok to have a TREAT now and again, but, don’t make it a habit. If you’re desperate for a chocolate fix, I suggest having a low calorie HOT CHOCOLATE drink to curve that craving. Best of all, look for non-food based treats that won’t affect your waistline.
8. Lay off the BOOZE – it’s high in calories and does not provide any nutritional value – empty calories. Try to opt for a spirit with a diet mixer, as this tends to be the lowest calorie option. A large glass of wine is 180 Kcals and a pint of larger is 250 Kcals – a sprit with diet mixer is 56 Kcals. Remember not to drink on an empty stomach and try to have water / soft drink between alcoholic drinks.
9. Adapt RECIPES – bulk up winter favourites, such as stews with plenty of veg – this will reduce the calorie content, make your meal last longer and reduce cost compared to having more meat. It also means that you can cut down on the amount of carbs you serve with it, such as bread and potato.
10. Homemade SOUP – a great lunch option and an easy way of helping you on your way to your 5-a-day! Homemade soup tends to be lower in SALT, preservatives and you know exactly what goes in them. Some people say that having soup as a starter helps them EAT LESS at their main course, which can help you lose weight.
11. Shrink the STRESS – winter months can be really busy and stressful so take the stress out of cooking by using a meal planner. Sit yourself down on a Sunday afternoon and write a MEAL PLAN. It can help your budget, cut down on waste, and you can base your shopping list on it.
12. Beware the BUFFET – Studies suggest that we may take in 40% more calories when we eat out, compared to eating at home. When we eat out, especially when there’s a buffet, our eating isn’t always related to HUNGER – it’s the variety of foods available that TEMPT us into overeating. Try not to fall into the ‘all you can eat’ trap – decide before hand how much you’re going to have and cruse the buffet first to decide what you really want.
Have fun and be slim and trim for spring!