Tricks to Shed Winter Pounds
Winter weight gain is quite common as the colder, shorter days force us to stay indoors. Most of us want to stay glued to the TV or end up reading books or extra sleep. Moreover, the seasonal hunger pangs don’t make it any easier for us.
However, the lesser known fact is that the cold snap can actually help one shed extra kilos. According to a study conducted by Sydney Garvan Institute of Medical Research, from shivering workouts to sleeping in a cold room, keeping cool has been found to help burn body fat. It is all related to white fat and brown fat. Everyone is born with brown fat because it is nature’s way of keeping body warm, but this reduces with age. White fat, on the other hand, stores extra energy, and having too much of it contributes to obesity.
Increasing brown fat not only helps in weight loss, it also reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Those who live in cold climes have 42% increase in brown fat volume and a 10% increase in fat metabolic activity. Hence, we should avoid cosy environments, as with the lack of exposure to a varied ambient temperature, we may become prone to obesity. Here are the key rules for winter weight loss:
* Quick workout: Spend at least 10-15 minutes outdoors. Research shows that shivering for that amount of time can be effective for weight loss. Shivering is equivalent to an hour of moderate exercise, as it increases the level of the irisin hormone, which is produced by muscles, and stimulates the conversion of energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat.
* Move more: If you are not big on gymming, head out for treks or walks. Hard workout techniques like hikes and treks speed up the calorie-burning process.
* Pack up on proteins: A protein-rich diet can keep you full for a longer time and help stabilise your blood sugar levels. Ensure that even your snacks contain at least 10 gm of protein.
* Drink hot: Diligent consumption of hot water and green tea can curb binge eating and boost energy. It also hastens the process of burning white fat and aids weight loss.
* Eat seasonal produce: Seasonal vegetables can help you maintain your weight. Cauliflower, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beans, peas, lentils and brown rice limit the white processed carbohydrates. As most vegetables and salads are calorie free, with the exception of corn, sweet potato and potato, using them as a meal base slashes your daily calorie intake. Soups and stews are also an healthy option.
* Nothing can beat a bowl of hot oatmeal in the winter: Not only is it tasty and convenient, it’s also full of nutrients and phytochemicals, that fill you up and energise you.
* Surgical option: If you are obese, with a BMI more than 35, then a weight-loss surgery is the best option for you, as there is no risk of infection and the surgery is also more effective during winters.
Lastly, being aware of your poor eating habits and lack of physical activity is the first step towards effective long-term weight loss.