Winter Weight Wonders
Enter winter! We’re now quite solidly into our wonderful winter season…. Everything is crisping up and slowing down – the days feel short, the nights seem endless, and everything in us calls for warm meals and cosy beds.
Ever notice that when winter hits, our inner Bear somehow magically appears? That bear-ness that’s been asleep all summer awakens and suddenly fills our minds with bear-like thoughts? (Even the most disciplined athlete has one). And we begin to think to ourselves, “Ah yes, the way to surviving these chilly conditions is… insulation!” and we go on a quest to eat ourselves warm.
Ok, sure, so a touch of winter weight is not uncommon or unsightly, but if we’re honest, we do tend to let things get out of control and then blame everything but our own lack of discipline…. “It’s too cold, I’m too warm, no one will see a difference under all the layers anyways,”… Yip, winter wreaks havoc with our mindset and approach to health and fitness. The inner bear often wins, and a healthy weight does not.
Basically (as we’ve mentioned countless times before): weight loss/gain = calories in vs calories out. If you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll drop; if you consume more calories, you will gain weight. That’s not because of winter; it’s simple math. As much as we’d like to believe we are bears that need to hibernate in a cave with layers of visceral and subcutaneous fat keeping us alive, we are not. I reiterate WE ARE NOT BEARS. But this feeling can be hard to shake sometimes – so what’s the solution?
Being aware of our habitual winter changes is, thus, fundamentally important. Since we tend to stay indoors more, we tend to be more sedentary. This means we naturally burn fewer calories and so inevitably need less. Sure, a shiver here and there contributes to burning fuel for body temperature regulation, but not nearly as much as we comfort ourselves with. We end up leaning toward eating more “hearty winter meals” like thick chunks of buttery bread with our soups, big roasts, and lots of sauces (which are mostly high in sodium). Match that with dry air and heating in our houses – trouble! Oh, then there’s that good ol’ hot chocolates with marshmallows, swoon.
Now before you #cancel me, I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t have these at all…. I’m merely suggesting that all these should be served with a generous amount of … MODERATION.
There’s no way I think we should cut these foods out completely (I mean I’m not crazy 🙂 but we need to moderate. The temptation to indulge and overdo things is just too great. You’ve worked hard at your goals during the summer months, only to abandon all reason when the temperature drops? Come on! Now some people reward themselves with winter cheat meals – I personally don’t love the term “cheat meals” since it cultivates a sense that there are ‘good foods’ and ‘bad foods’. Why is society stuck on the notion that one portion of what is considered “junk food” will make us unhealthy since we know well enough that one salad will not make us drop 5kgs?
Bottom line: if there’s balance and moderation, you’re not cheating anything. Riding guilt is not the right approach to staying lean in winter. So what is? MODERATION and BALANCE.
Why not use winter to your advantage? Eat healthy and hearty foods rich in nutritional value while you balance your calories spend. Train just as hard in summer – this is not the time to slow down. Ever heard the phrase, ‘summer bodies are made in winter?’ There is some truth in that.
Keep drinking your recovery milk so you can REFUEL, REHYDRATE and REPAIR and if you feel like a hot chocolate, why not nuke your favourite chocolate recovery milk. Protein does denature over 40°C, so don’t overheat it – warm, not boiling. Then you still reap the benefits of 21 g protein plus the fix of a treat. Win win.
Grab your winter warmer HERE
Till next time, looking forward to seeing your healthy bear-strength bodies in the coming months. (haha, see what I did there)?
Signing off as your resident sports nutritionist,
Candice De Mendonca
The Fitness Hybrid (@the_fitness_hybrid)
HPR is loaded with everything that’s good for you to push through your own limits again and again. Often the difference between good performance and average performance has to do with how you fuel your body and help your body recover. HPR helps you to Push Past Possible.