Losing Weight in Winter

Woman dressed in Winter Gear

As humans, our bodies have evolved with the seasons to eat heavily in the harvest season (autumn) and keep weight on in the winter to protect from the cold and lack of food. We naturally crave warm foods and the fats to protect our organs and skin from wild winds, cooler temperatures and less sunlight.

There's no question it's easier to make healthy choices in summer - there's an abundance of produce in season, the sun is shining, the days are long - and we feel naturally motivated to head outdoors and get active.

But come the colder, dreary months of winter, eating clean and slimming down can seem a lot more challenging. With shorter, darker days, winter is enough to derail our motivation to exercise, too.

Having said that, here are some tips to assist with that winter weight loss.

Eat winter produce

It's the season for comfort foods and temptation is everywhere, but opt for seasonal, local foods that grow close to home. For most of us that means eating more dense root vegetables, hearty winter greens, and quality animal products. Low-calorie foods such as kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain so much filling fibre that you won't have room to overeat higher-calorie foods after loading your plate with these seasonal ingredients.

Work out at home

There's nothing worse than feeling cold, and winter weather can be a major deterrent from going to the gym. Who wants to venture out for a run when it's so cosy at home.

Luckily, you don't have to leave the comfort of your living room to engage in effective exercise. There are tons of great online workout videos - everything from yoga to dance cardio or high intensity interval training.

Sleep more

When the weather's cold and the days are short, human bodies return to the natural, evolved state of slow metabolism and more sleep. Get more sleep during the early, dark evening hours, and wake up earlier to catch every ray of sunlight possible. When you wake up early and get more morning sunlight, it has a positive effect on your sleep cycle. More sleep, especially in winter, also stops you from late-night snacking.

Bundle up

A simple as this sounds, those bulky, restricting layers might weigh you down and make it extra hard to move, but they also amp up the intensity of every step you take. So simply dressing for cooler weather helps your resistance and strength training without even stepping foot in the gym.

Embrace the cold weather (if you can!)

Whether you're walking the dog outdoors or running to the bus stop, simply exposing yourself to cold temperatures can encourage white body fat - the kind that stores calories - to act more like brown fat, the kind that generates heat by burning calories, according to a 2015 study. Just make sure you're not exposing yourself to too much cold.