Losing weight can feel tough at the best of times, but in winter it can be even harder.
Picture this: You know you need to lose weight. The sun is shining, a day at the beach doesn’t even feel like exercise and it’s hot, so that smoothie bowl looks super-refreshing right now.
Sounds amazing, right?
Ok now screech to a halt because it’s back to reality!
Reality: You know you need to lose weight. It’s cold outside. Maybe it’s even cold inside. All you want to do is curl up into a tightly sealed ball on the couch with a nice cup of hot choccie and a warm, comforting meal.
So what the heck do you do?
Why is this so hard?
Losing weight in winter is more difficult because your environment has a massive impact on your thoughts, behaviours and wellbeing.
When you find yourself in an environment that encourages good habits, it’s easy to develop momentum that carries you towards your goals. But when your environment pushes you towards bad habits, your momentum will carry you towards poor outcomes (especially if you’ve already found yourself stuck in some bad habits already).
And while wintery conditions are not ‘bad’ (and can even be a lot of fun!), they do tend to encourage people to hibernate a bit. Which can be fun, right?
Except when you’ve decided to start losing weight! Because now, you’re supposed to be eating loads of fresh food, getting out and being active. In other words, the opposite of hibernating!
So how can you lose weight in winter?
To lose weight in winter, you’ll need to be more purposeful about your weight loss. If you can put some thought into your environment and its impact on your weight loss success, you can use strategies to give yourself positive momentum that drives you in the direction of your weight loss goals.
Assess your environment
Think about everything that makes up your environment and how it makes you feel. Include seasonal influences like the wintery weather and long-term components, like how you’ve laid out your furniture.
Do these things encourage you to do the things you need to do to lose weight or do they make it all feel too hard?
Develop a plan
Now it’s time to think about what you can do to mitigate the negative impacts and supercharge the good ones.
For instance, if you hate working out in the cold but don’t have space in your lounge to exercise, consider rearranging your room to make space for your yoga mat. And then leave it that way!
You want to make it as EASY as possible for yourself by removing as many excuses as you can.
Find your workout happy place
If you love exercising outdoors, don’t let the cold weather deter you. While it may be off-putting to get started, working out in the cold actually does a great job of burning calories – plus you’ll probably really enjoy it once you get going!
And if you’re more of an indoor kinda person, there are SO many options for you to choose from. Watch a home workout video, swim a few laps at the indoor pool or join one of my super-fun fitness classes to get started.
During winter we tend to gravitate towards comfort food because our body is cold and wants to be warm.
This may have you thinking about filling up on pizza, big bowls of pasta or loads of rich stew with bread. Eating healthily may feel out of the question – at least until spring!
But the truth is that there are so many wonderful, warm, nourishing winter meal options to choose from that WON’T derail your weight loss progress. It just takes a change of mealtime mindset.
Some basic principles:
- Don’t go mad over carbs. Limit yourself to a small potion per meal and try to choose wholegrain wherever possible.
- Top up on protein and fibre. Prepare filling meals by loading up on food rich in protein and fibre, both of which help you feel fuller for longer. Swap out some meals with vegetarian protein sources like lentils, chickpeas and beans to get both in one simple ingredient.
- Eat wholefoods wherever possible. Whether you choose a quick lentil dahl or love spending hours in the kitchen cooking delicious masterpieces, preparing your food from scratch saves you from exposing yourself to all sorts of chemicals and nasties in processed food. Plus you can take time to appreciate the beautiful ingredients!
Connecting with and learning to value them in this way helps encourage more mindful eating habits.
Make time for moments of hygge
Stemming from Denmark and Norway, hygge is a term that describes feeling cosy, warm, comfortable and content.
Make the most of the winter season by embracing it!
This means taking time out each day for a few moments of hygge. Cuddle into your cosy gown in the evening with a good book and your favourite warm drink.
After all, you should always take time to enjoy the journey!
Review your week after each weigh-in
After you weigh in for the week, think about what worked and what didn’t. Then return to your plan, tweak it if you need to and get going again!
Losing weight in winter can feel difficult and unpleasant but it doesn’t need to be! By embracing everything the winter season has to offer and planning strategies to remove barriers, you can experience weight loss success in any season.
And if you think you could use a little extra inspiration, join one of my fun WeightLoz and Wellness Challenges here.