The idea of surviving winter without heaping on a few pounds in bodyweight may seem far-fetched for many weight watchers. 

With all the season’s vices- binging on hot beverages, ditching exercise for cozy slumbers, indulging in snacking, and so on, a nip here and a tweak there in the day to day patterns could help one stay on track with weight goals.

Water Down Those Hunger Pangs!

In chill weather, there is a tendency to drink less water, which causes dehydration and hence hunger. The body’s ability to burn its fat reserves also decreases. 

Sip on warm water to aid fat breakdown, digestion, and blood circulation, which in turn will maintain your body temperature. You could replace your daily tea and coffee drills with hot water, pepped with lemon, ginger, or mint.

Hop, Skip, Jump!

Yes, it’s a task to get out in the cold for a run or to get to the gym. So, why not work out in the warm comfort of your home! Perform stair workout, skipping, spinning, or a rigorous session watching online videos on Pilates, yoga, cardio, aerobics, dance, etc.

To keep your mood cheerful in cold weather, step outdoors in the sun as much as possible or involve yourself in anything that increases your happy hormones.

Keep it Small

It is beneficial to consume little portions of food at multiple intervals rather than taking three full-fledged meals in a day so that you won’t end up hungry between mealtimes. Winter makes us crave foods that are warming and fatty. Whole foods, salads with fresh fruits & vegetables, oatmeal, as well as lean protein taken periodically will make you feel full, satiated, and energized for longer, thus averting junk food cravings.

Max out on the benefits of soup as an entrée; opt for a mineral and nutrient-rich, low-calorie soup or broth before your meal to cut calories by almost 20 percent because these winter staples take up much room in the stomach. Also, broths give you extra energy and are less calorically dense than cream-based soups. 

Start your days with healthy chia seeds in a smoothie to feel full for a longer duration, as well as get a fabulous nutritional punch with all that iron, calcium, and folate packed in the seeds. 

But remember, skipping meals is NO.

Dig Up That Winter Produce!

Weight loss and metabolism can be encouraged by including low-calorie root vegetables like carrots, beetroots, and sweet potatoes are a storehouse of fiber. They stimulate metabolism, boost immunity, and stave off digestive issues.

Bountiful ginger is a spice that boosts the rate of metabolism and keeps body weight and fasting glucose under check while bolstering ‘good’ cholesterol levels.

Cauliflower and broccoli are your go-to veggies for weight loss as well as antioxidants. These cruciferous veggies are relatively small on calories.

Mushrooms are a great source of protein, dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6. Almost fat-free, these appetizing fungi strengthen the body’s immunity against viruses and provide only about 10 Calories per half a cup. 

Adding coconut milk to your winter food preparations is also rewarding in terms of weight control.

Star fruit loaded with potassium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene has antioxidant and immune properties but is very low on calories at just about 29 Calories.

Orange and guava can be excellent slimming aides with their high vitamin C and fiber content. They pump up immunity and skin health. Eat them as a whole fruit rather than in juice form to retain the fibers, which help in weight loss. Each serving of guava has only about 60 calories and loads of iron, potassium, and calcium.

Besides, the seasonal fruits and veggies, mood-lifting eatables like bananas and berries as well as dairy, eggs, okra, quinoa, and nuts not only shoo away winter blues but also are healthier replacements for the fat or sugar-loaded snacks, beverages, and treats. 

Nature’s Sweet Basket

In cold weather, our body has lower levels of vitamin D and serotonin, which is why we gravitate towards carb-rich goodies and comfort foods. To quieten your itch for sweets, reach for natural sugars instead of creams and pastries. 

Vitamin stocked sweet potato, beet, pumpkins, and carrots are naturally sweet winter foods. 

You could otherwise enjoy baked apples or bananas with a touch of honey or a drizzle of cinnamon. Bite into a minimal amount of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate without putting on too many calories. Pure maple syrup is a viable replacement for sugar or artificial sweeteners. 

A tablespoon of maple syrup will fetch about 50 calories. Nature’s sweet offering, honey, can be your best friend in the weight loss game if used appropriately, and it has a high antioxidant and antimicrobial quotient too.

Embrace the Good Fats!

Use monounsaturated fats (olive oil) and polyunsaturated fats (sunflower oil) for cooking. Walnuts, salmon, avocados, flax seeds, coconut oil, etc., are all rich sources of good fat. 

Sunflower seeds have copious amounts of healthy fat; what’s more, they are great for the immune system, skin, and hair too!

To make winter work for you, consult a dietician for a weight management plan drawn up specifically for your body type and general health. Adopting the above recommendations will help you skate through winter with no extra kilos to weigh you down!

DR. ARFA SIDDIQI., BDS