Any health professional who works in health and fitness knows the occupational hazard that arises at this time of year – cancellations – a lot of them explained by weak excuses such as: “It’s too cold”, “I am not feeling motivated”, “I am just going to wait until the weather gets better”. Unfortunately when we use a season as an excuse to not remain committed to our diet and exercise regime, after 10 or 12 weeks you tend to see weight gain, weight few of us lose again. So, before you become a victim of winter weight gain, here are some of the key decisions you can make now that will help stop this being your fate.
The decision not to use winter to eat foods you never usually would
You know the foods I am talking about: meat pies at the footy, hot chips at the pub, chocolate biscuits after dinner, the fatty, heavy, stodgy foods we only consume as we give ourselves permission to do so, just because it is winter. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a meat pie if you really feel like it occasionally, but allowing yourself to down an entire packet of Tim Tams in the spirit of winter is only going to end badly.
The decision to train more not less
Yes, the days are slightly shorter and, yes, the temperature is slightly lower but, as winter often features fewer social engagements, surely this means we have more time to train, not less. If you need a little more motivation to commit to an extra gym class in these cooler months, pop on your swimming costume every few weeks and take a few selfies or look in the mirror as a reminder that it really is not that long until you will be baring flesh again.
The decision to use winter foods to support weight control
Sure, there may be more television advertisements featuring chocolate biscuits and apple pies at this time of year, but there are also plenty of opportunities to focus on winter foods that can actually support weight control. Soups, roasted vegetables, roasted meats and even baked fruit desserts are not going to pile on the kilograms unless you team them with plenty of bread, cream, sauces and custard. All you need to do is put your focus on winter foods that will help rather than hinder you.
The decision to use winter to focus on a goal
Fewer social commitments mean more down time, so winter is the perfect opportunity to focus your energy on something you have wanted to achieve for a while. It may be a house renovation, committing to a new training program, studying or a big clean out but, once you have something specific to work on in your down time, you will find there is less time for mindless munching and much more time for directed activity.
The decision to accept and commit
Experience has shown it is not knowledge or motivation that determines who achieves their weight loss goals and who do not. Rather, it is the simple ability to accept what we need to do to lose weight and commit to doing it. This winter, if your goal is weight loss or at least weight control, if you really, really want this, it is time to accept the limitations that winter may pose for you and commit to working around them. This means not skipping training sessions, or eating more, rather seeing winter and the time it creates as an opportunity to do more, eat better and take control. Once you decide this, weight control is easy.