Break those win­ter habits

Keep these things in mind to­ward off the like­li­hood of weight gain in the cooler months

Central and North Burnett Times - - HEALTHY LIVING - He­len Hawkes he­len.hawkes@north­ern­

BE­FORE the days of in­su­la­tion and ad­e­quate heat­ing, pack­ing on a few ex­tra ki­los dur­ing win­ter was a smart way to en­sure we didn’t freeze to death.

These days, how­ever, putting on weight dur­ing the win­ter months can be a recipe for a health dis­as­ter.

“Most of the data tells us that the aver­age Aus­tralian will put on about two ki­los over win­ter,” said Ashy Bines, cre­ator of Ashy Bines Bikini Body Chal­lenge.

“The prob­lem is, people don’t then lose that weight, or at least not all of it, so year af­ter year that win­ter weight ac­cu­mu­lates.”

Bines said there were many fac­tors to win­ter weight gain:

No sun­shine

Prob­lem: “Chances are in win­ter there will be less sun­shine, and there are stud­ies that sug­gest that people with low lev­els of vi­ta­min D store more fat, and that a lack of vi­ta­min D re­duces fat break­down and trig­gers fat stor­age.”

So­lu­tion: “Boost your vi­ta­min D lev­els by eat­ing things like oily fish, milk and eggs.”

Glo­ri­ous food

Prob­lem: “The type of food we eat dur­ing win­ter has a lot to do with weight gain. People start look­ing for warmer com­fort foods, rather than the crisp sal­ads of sum­mer.

“And people tend to snack more dur­ing win­ter as they gen­er­ally spend more time in­doors or do­ing seden­tary ac­tiv­i­ties.”

So­lu­tion: “Com­fort food doesn’t have to be un­healthy. Choose your food wisely, and look for healthy soups and casseroles full of ve­g­ies and nu­tri­tion. And if you are snack­ing on the sofa, go for a healthy op­tion such as warm pop­corn.”

It’s a wrap

Prob­lem: “Be­cause we are wrapped up un­der lay­ers of cloth­ing dur­ing win­ter, it’s eas­ier to hide a few ex­tra ki­los – even from yourself.”

So­lu­tion: “Stay on top of your weight main­te­nance and keep an eye on any weight gained.

“It is far eas­ier to take care of half a kilo straight away than it is to ig­nore it and let the prob­lem be­come larger.”

Win­ter snif­fles

Prob­lem: “Noth­ing will de­rail your fit­ness goals faster than a bug or virus that is so com­mon in win­ter. If you are un­well, you are sim­ply un­able to train.”

So­lu­tion: “This one is a bit of a catch 22. To stay well and ward off bugs you need to be fit and healthy. Make sure you get good doses of vi­ta­min C, and make daily ex­er­cise part of your rou- tine, all through the year.”

Bines said that while set­tling into the sofa un­der a blan­ket may seem like the most com­fort­ing op­tion dur­ing win­ter, the op­po­site was ac­tu­ally true.

“There are many stud­ies that sup­port the the­ory of the ‘win­ter blues’,” she said.

“When people are in­doors all the time, so­cial­is­ing less, they can be­come de­pressed and lethar­gic, and a cy­cle can be­gin where the per­son be­comes stuck in a rut.

“This is when bad habits can re­ally take hold.

“Get­ting out and ex­er­cis­ing, eat­ing well and tak­ing care of yourself is a proven way to re­lease en­dor­phins and cre­ate men­tal well­be­ing.”

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