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5 Ways to beat the winter bulge

Updated on September 27, 2013

It’s the time of warm soups, baked goods, toasted marshmallows, hot chocolate and buttery popcorn while cuddling on the sofa. It’s the time of making excuses under the covers about why you shouldn’t go running again in the morning. Yep, it’s winter.

Winter is the one time that many of us feel justified hibernating indoors (whether at work or at home) with comfort food. It is for this reason that it is one of the most popular times for some of us to gain a little extra weight.

Knowing just how hard you would have to work to get back into shape before summer, we’ve put together a list of ways that you can keep that extra bulk at bay so that you have more time to play during spring. Here are 5 fun ways to keep off the fat this winter:

1. Make the most of breaks

We all love to cuddle during the winter time; if we could we would spend most of winter with a three-month supply of snacks and DVD’s. Well, during winter most of what we do comprises of staying in one position for as long as possible. We only realise the toll this inactivity takes on our waistlines by the time we get up and dust the winter off in preparation for the spring.

While it might be hard to convince you not to watch as many movies or back-to-back reruns of anything that gives you an excuse to stay put under your blanket, we can suggest an activity that might help. What you can do, is cram in a bit of activity during the breaks. Whenever there is a break, or wherever you can pause your programming for 5 minutes, make a quick dash to the kitchen for something (even if it’s just to check that the kitchen is still there)

Get up and stretch, do a bit of tiding up, clear away dishes – do anything that requires you to get off your butt.

If you’re feeling spirited, do a few 5 minute exercises .

2. Healthy snack alternatives

Speaking of watching movies and TV, such an activity in winter usually comes with a lot of snacks. During winter we don’t always think too critically about the things we consume and before we know it, our warm comfort foods become warm muffin tops. To avoid packing on the pounds with winter snacks, try healthy alternatives to your usual snacks.

Instead of buttery popcorn, have nuts, a chocolate trail mix, or grapes. Instead of potato chips, have carrot sticks, or baked sweet potato chips. Instead of apple pie, have baked apple with yogurt and cinnamon.

If you’re craving something warm, instead of bread or bagels, have a healthier soup instead.

There is an endless amount of food that you can replace your junk food with to ensure that you get all the comfort without the calories. It’s much better to put in the effort to create alternative snacks than to work off anything you might gain from unhealthy eating habits

3. Play more

One of the best ways to keep fit without going to the gym (because we all know it’s too cold to do that) is to invent creative ways to stay active while indoors.

If you’re enduring the winter indoors with family, gather them round for fun activities. Have a pillow fight, play musical chairs and have dance offs or karaoke competitions.

If you don’t mind it, use your coffee table as a ping pong table and create a tournament indoors.

By doing more fun activities with friends and family, you’ll not only be bonding, but exercising in the process.

4. Get more sunshine

One of the reasons for your winter cravings may be due to your lack of Vitamin D. Being vitamin D efficient means that you’re not getting as much serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’) or as much of a boost to your immune system. This is probably why you may feel down and seek out comfort food.

To get a dose of sunshine and happiness, try to get out more. Organize fun activities with family, go out and have snowball fights, ski, ice-skate or take a run through the park. If it’s really too cosy to leave the house, get close to the sun rays by grabbing your coffee and sitting by the window.

5. Exercise without leaving bed

For the days where you can’t even bring yourself to roll out of bed, there is a way (albeit a very lazy way) to sneak in a bit of exercise. Exercising first thing in the morning, even before breakfast, is said to be beneficial physically, mentally and emotionally. Try a few of these when you wake up and feel overpowered by the warmth of the covers:

  • Do some stretching. Lift your knees as far as you can go. While lying on your back,lift your legs about 6 inches off the bed. You should feel your abs contract. Do these a few times before you get tired.
  • On your stomach, lift your legs to work-out your butt
  • Fill water bottles and leave them at your bedside so that you can do light bench presses. It’s amazing how easy it is to get a total body workout before you get out of bed

There are also other great ways you could exercise while in bed this winter, but we’ll leave that up to your imagination.

With these tips in mind, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t still feel Summer-ready in spring.

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