Cold air, snow, icy roads, grey skies…don’t they all just make you want to drive to the gym or go for a run outside? Probably not!
During the winter months, it can be more difficult to get yourself up and going when you’re snug underneath a blanket warding off the elements.
This, combined with the onslaught of scrumptious holiday temptations, can be a recipe for weight gain and lethargy for some.
Not to fear, though. Here are 10 tips that can help keep you from falling into a metabolic rut this winter.
1. Eat breakfast. A hearty breakfast helps you stay energized and focused throughout the day. People who don’t eat breakfast are less active than those who do.
2. Drink lots of water. Of course, water is necessary for all of life’s functions…so it makes sense that staying hydrated is also important for sparing your muscle-building proteins and instead burning fat for energy.
3. Exercise – at least a little. Short bursts of intense exercise can rev your ability to burn more calories post workout than long, easy sessions. Also, muscle itself increases your metabolic rate, so add in some strength training as well. Don’t have access to a gym or weights? Try using canned soups, water or milk jugs, suitcases, 5lb bags of flour or sugar, socks, and even kids! Be creative.
4. Eat often. Eating small meals or snacks every 3-4 hours keeps your metabolism revved all day, compared to eating large meals with longer time periods in between (which actually slows down your metabolism because your body goes into storage mode). And just as importantly, don’t skip any meals!
5. Spice it up. Adding some kick to your meals can increase your metabolism too. So go ahead and add the chilies and sprinkle on the red pepper flakes!
6. Eat more protein. Replacing some of your fat or carbohydrate meals or snacks with a higher protein option can help support your fat-burning muscles. As an added benefit, you burn more calories digesting protein than you do fat and carbohydrates. Opt for lean proteins like chicken, tuna, egg whites, etc.
7. Reach for the roast. Coffee has been shown to provide many health benefits when consumed in moderation, partially due to its caffeine content. Caffeine helps to speed up metabolism as well as equipping you with the energy and focus you need to have an effective exercise session.
8. Keep it cold. Keeping your bedroom cooler while you sleep increases your proportion of brown adipose tissue (a type of fat that functions more like muscle, helping to burn calories).
9. Get enough sleep. Speaking of the bedroom…shorter sleep durations are associated with unhealthy food choices and increased risk of overeating.
10. Keep smiling. When you’re stressed, you produce higher levels of the hormone cortisol which causes you to store fat. Smiling can help keep stress levels lower for you and those around you!
It’s perfectly fine to have those lazy moments and enjoy cuddling up with a good book, but implementing these tips into your daily routine can help you avoid a winter slump.