Saturday,25 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1279, (21 - 27 January 2016)
Saturday,25 November, 2017
Issue 1279, (21 - 27 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Entre Nous: Beat winter weight gain

Let’s talk about better living! Our interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

Winter is here, and hiding under a bunch of layers and being surrounded by indulgences can be the perfect recipe for packing on a few pounds.

It’s known that the body’s levels of the hormone melatonin increase in autumn and winter and decline in spring and summer. This hormone, triggered by darkness and making us feel sleepy, also acts on our appetite. As a result, winter can be a depressing time for dieters.

But studies show that the “hibernation theory” of winter overeating does not hold up for the vast majority of us because only a small percentage of people develop seasonal affective disorder in winter. As for the rest of us, winter weight gain is largely the result of reduced exercise and increased eating

Try following these tips to avoid winter weight gain:

* Set a regular outdoors fitness schedule that includes a variety of exercises. Being active in nature is simply more fun than battling crowds at the gym.

* Never go to a party hungry. Eat a bunch of baby carrots, a big salad or an apple to curb your desire for empty party-food calories. When we eat outside the home, studies suggest that we may take in 40 per cent more calories than we would otherwise.

* Much of our eating is not related to hunger as the greater the variety of foods available at a meal the more likely you are to eat. But the main reason you’re at a party is to see people and celebrate, not to eat a lot of high-calorie foods. So remember why you’re there and make that your focus.

* Practice calorie damage control. If you do overeat, make up for it by cutting your calories for a few days and adding extra exercises. Take a quick walk on your lunch break and after dinner. You can also use stairs rather than the lift at work.

* Avoid stress. Stress makes cortisol levels rise, which causes your body to hold onto fat. In turn, hunger hormone levels rise. Resting and getting a solid night’s sleep is crucial to combatting stress and making better food choices.

* Stock up on super-foods. Some foods can actually help you lose weight, not to mention reduce your risk of disease. Sweet potatoes, apples or oranges, which contain lots of fibre, make you feel fuller for longer.

* Set an eating plan. Eat your breakfast early to get your metabolism going; pick and choose which proteins and carbohydrates you really want; wait 20 minutes before grabbing seconds to see if you really are still hungry; and don’t drink too many calories as water is always your best choice.

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