People often tell me that summer is the best season to work on improving your health or losing weight because warm weather, more time for outdoor activities and lighter food options seem to make it the ideal time to focus on health and fitness. However, my experience over the past 12 years has shown me that winter has a clear advantage when it comes to making changes and seeing results.
Here are some of the reasons why:
• Less socialising: While summer may be the season for activities, barbecues and social gatherings, these events often involve alcohol and nibbles. Unfortunately, these extra calories and altered food decisions can hinder your progress. Winter, on the other hand, provides more time to stay at home and prepare simple meals without the distractions of social outings. This can make it easier to avoid late nights and all those extra calories.
• Cold temperatures equals metabolic stimulation: A study released from Harvard Medical School last year showed that colder temperatures stimulate your metabolism, resulting in more calories being burnt and greater fat loss. This is due to a process called thermogenesis, which increases when your body needs to warm up from the cold. So, if you find yourself shivering, all that extra work your body is doing might work to your advantage!
• More sleep: Sleep is essential for both overall health and weight loss. A good night’s sleep is important for regulating appetite, which is why we often find ourselves reaching for extra snacks when we’re tired. In winter, we tend to go to bed earlier and have more potential for sleep due to the cooler temperatures and longer periods of darkness. This will help us feel more rested, focused and less hungry throughout the day.
• Simple food: Home cooked meals are always the best, and winter provides plenty of opportunities for hearty soups and casseroles that are full of protein and vegetables. Just be sure to add some protein to your soups to make them more filling and nutritious. Chicken soup is a great option.
• Less running around: While we may not be able to exercise outside as much during winter, the bonus is that we can maximise our nutrition by spending more time at home. This allows us to have a structured routine and avoid eating on the run.
While you can make changes to improve your health at any time of year, winter provides some unique advantages. Knuckle down, eat simple meals, get to bed on time and you will be feeling a whole lot better in body and mind by the time warmer weather rolls around!