Five tips to prevent weight gain during winter

Grab your onesie and warmest blanket- Winter is coming. That is exciting news for students, especially for those living away from home over the Christmas Holidays.  Whilst it means presents, money and quality time from parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles you rarely see it also means one thing- food. And drink. And lots of it.

The Problem

Food and drinks are regularly flowing over the course of December. Christmas parties with work include a fabulous yet heavy three course meal (accompanied with a side of cringeworthy dancing). There are advent calendars, boxes of celebrations, heroes, quality street and roses, cheese and crackers, fully loaded roast dinners, hot chocolate loaded with whipped cream, pringles, indulgent breakfasts, family barrels of biscuits and not to mention an excess amount of alcohol.

In my case a fair few glasses of cava, champagne, wine, baileys- you name it. Whilst you happily scoff away, many of us wake up feeling a bit tired and worse for wear after Christmas. Boxing Day is the opportunity to finish up what you couldn’t eat on the day- turkey sandwiches, bubble and squeak or whatever. We then eat the sweets we received as gifts for the next few weeks.

We get the delight of New Year’s Eve and many of us sit at home scoffing a takeaway or out celebrating with friends and family. And you guessed it, more alcohol and calories. But we don’t fret because our New Year’s Resolution is to get fit and join the gym or go jogging every day. From a gym goer’s perspective if I had a penny for every person who joined the gym and I never saw again in my life after a week I would be one rich lady. Same goes for everyone who dusts off their trainers, goes for about two runs around the block and then chucks their trainers at the back of the wardrobe when the rain and snow hit hard. The cycle repeats for many years.

Keeping Fit

But can you stay fit and healthy over the winter months? The answer is simple- yes. Here are some tips to stop you feeling so sluggish during the grotty cold weather.

  • Don’t less illness and bad weather ruin your healthy eating. Rain naturally makes us want to curl up in bed eating junk food all day but have some willpower and hold back on the snacks. The same when you have a cold- try and eat fresh food and drink plenty of fluids (hot drinks and soup is always a comfort). Which brings me to my next point.
  • Water – drink it! Particularly after you’ve eaten a lot of salt or are drinking alcohol as it avoids water weight caused by dehydration and flushes out toxins. Drinking water improves your concentration. That may explain why you want to fall asleep three minutes into a lecture…
  • “Extrasize”– incorporate any extra exercise into your daily routine. You don’t have to join a top of the range gym (certainly not on a student budget) and running isn’t for everyone but see if your University holds any fitness, dance or sports classes- more often than not there are others in the same unfit boat. Whether it be taking the longer route to your class, getting off the bus at an earlier stop, standing on your breaks, walking where you would usually drive- it all adds up. And tones your legs so what are you waiting for?
  • Keep a food diary (particularly if you struggle with your weight). Watch one episode of Channel 4’s “Secret Eaters” and you will be surprised where those extra calories add up. It’s so easy with today’s technology as there are countless apps on smartphones and websites online which calculate everything that passes your lips from calories to fat to sugar. You don’t have to know to the decimal but it really helps you have a better understanding of where your downfalls are.
  • Reduce portion size and avoid overeating – This one’s simple. You don’t have to “diet” to keep fit because you often end up undereating thus leading to a ton of other health problems including awful mood swings. But while you’re serving up or eating just think- do I really need eight roast potatoes with my roast? Unless its fruit and vegetables. They fill you up more and make the most of them before you have to pay for them back at Uni. Likewise make any chocolate you receive as a gift last rather than eating 10 chocolate bars in a day. But never deprive yourself- have a little when you fancy because if not binging becomes tempting and with eating disorders constantly on the rise you certainly do not want to go there. You don’t need to beat yourself up if you eat a load of junk food you didn’t intend on.

Most importantly- enjoy the winter months before you go home for the summer, get a job and have to complain about the heat. Have a good Christmas guys!