Weight loss easy in Winter

By: Sheryl Takayama

People tell me all the time that summer is the best season to lose weight.
The theory goes that in summer it is easy to exercise more and eat light foods.  Barbecues mean simple meals of meat and salad and during those particularly hot weeks, humidity can take away even the strongest appetite.
While there may be truth in this for some people, in my experience aummer is the time of year when people gain the most weight.  Partying from the festive season can continue long into January and February, especially with the indulgences enjoyed during public holidays and long weekends. Just when you start to get back on track, Easter comes along with more goodies and get togethers.
Summer is the season for socialising. There might be meat and salad at barbecues but there are usually nibbles, chips and alcohol too. The more social you are, the more likely you are to see the scales climbing upwards over summer. In my clinic I see great weight loss results in winter. It’s the best time of year to knuckle down, take action and achieve results. It doesn’t have to be about deprivation or a radical diet overhaul. The benefit of starting now is you have time to make small consistent changes that will add up to big results come Christmas.
Make the most of being at home: prepare lots of simple, home-cooked meals that include the three macronutrient groups:  protein (either from meat, seafood, eggs or vegetarian sources), carbohydrates (mostly vegetables/fruits) and healthy fats. There is nothing healthier than real food, cooked with care. • Keep food simple: with all the cooking shows on TV and food images on Facebook you could be fooled into thinking that meals need to be an extravagant affair. Highly stimulating food overwhelms taste buds and can increase your appetite. Keep your meals simple and your appetite will adjust accordingly. • Keep your protein intake high: nothing is better than a bowl of hearty soup on a cold winter’s day but if your focus is weight loss, make sure your soup includes protein. That way it will be a complete meal. Casseroles in the crock pot are a great way to use cheaper cuts of meat for a hot, protein-rich meal that will be ready as soon as you step in the door. • Eat earlier in the day: time restricted eating is a hot topic of interest now and with good reason. Many studies have shown that eating your main meal earlier in the day helps with digestion and weight loss. If you are going to bed earlier in winter, you should also be eating earlier. Ideally you should stop eating at least 3-4 hours before bed time.
In spring I get lots of enquiries from people who panic as the end of the year approaches and they often feel they need to take drastic action to see results quickly. Don’t fall into this trap.  Start making small gains now and you’ll be smiling at the thought of the summer wardrobe awaiting you.

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