Diet and lifestyle tweaks to help you lose weight this season
Cozy sweaters, comfort food and the desire to stay indoors; the cold weather months are great, but don’t necessarily leave you feeling super-motivated for weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight this season, but are having a harder time than usual or feeling more unsatisfied, it could mean you need to make a few seasonal tweaks.
Your body is wired to change with the seasons. It has different needs from season to season, and if you are not adjusting to those changes, it could affect your body’s ability to focus on fat loss.
In the summer months, your body works to keep you cool so you crave fresh food like fruit, salads and cucumbers—foods that have a cooling effect on the body when you eat them.
In the fall, the body starts to transition into working like a heater. And in the winter months, your body will be working a lot harder.
In order to keep you warm, your body craves harder-to-digest and heartier foods like root vegetables, grains and fatty meats. These types of foods create internal heat when you eat them, along with spicy foods and warm foods like soups, stews and chilies.
Comfort Foods are OK
Most people are afraid to add these comfort foods to their diet out of fear they will negatively affect weight loss, when, in fact, they can be exactly what you need to keep the scale moving.
Winter can be a great time to lose weight, but the key is to work with the seasons and the body. Implementing these simple tweaks can make all the difference to your success—and the number on the scale!
Here are a few tweaks you can make to keep the scale moving and help you feel more confident and motivated in the process.
1. Drink tea and soups to keep your water count up.
Cold water is generally not as appealing to the body in winter. Turn to warm drinks to get your water in.
2. Decrease the fruit and increase the root veggies.
In the winter, the body only needs one to two servings of fruit as opposed to three or more in the summer. That’s because in the summer the body is looking for quick energy from foods that are easy to digest.
In the winter, the body is looking for the opposite. It needs harder-to-digest and slow-releasing energy. Instead of fruit, add in more root veggies like sweet potatoes, squash, turnip, rutabaga and carrots.
3. Swap cold foods like salads for warm soups, stews, and chili.
Leafy greens are key in any diet, but salads are not all that appealing in the winter. Try sautéing your greens and eating them cooked instead of raw.
For breakfast, choose oatmeal or warm cereals made from chia seeds, buckwheat and hemp hearts or omelets with sautéed veg instead of shakes or yogurts and fruit.
4. Increase the Omega 3 and add in Vitamin D.
In the winter, your body is working harder and the days are shorter, making Omega 3 and vitamin D a great seasonal combo to help boost your immune system. They also help reduce and prevent inflammation that can hinder the body’s ability to drop fat and support brain health by regulating serotonin levels to help combat fatigue and improve your mood.
Since the body is unable to produce Omega 3s, it needs to be acquired through diet by eating things like fish, flaxseed and walnuts or through supplementation.
With the lack of sunshine and outdoor time, a vitamin D supplement is a good idea, since it’s difficult to get enough through diet alone. Check with your doctor regarding recommended dose.
5. Adjust your sleep schedule.
As the days get shorter, your body’s circadian rhythm (which is maintained by exposure to light) will naturally adjust. This can throw off your sleep routine and leave you feeling sluggish and low energy even after a good night sleep.
Combat this by going to bed a little earlier—and waking up earlier. You’ll find your energy will flow easier. This simple switch also helps to keep cravings in check because when we are tired, we tend to crave carbs and sugar as a pick-me-up.