Winter is a significant threat to your weight loss journey. It can throw your weight management plans in disarray. Winter can also lead to weight gain because people tend to eat more during this period. The high food intake helps compensate for an increase in the body’s energy demands. In addition, staying indoors for the better part of the day can tempt us to eat unhealthy foods or snacks to liven up our moods.
Winter blues (seasonal affective disorder) can also trigger appetite changes and increase your craving for carbohydrates. As a result, people suffering from winter depression can eat more than usual and gain weight. Beyond this, winter coincides with the festive season. The merry-packed festive celebrations and parties can make losing weight in the winter season an upheaval task.
Thus, this short weight loss guide is just what you need to keep your weight in check this winter. Following these steps will leave you feeling energetic throughout the season and ensure you do not struggle with weight gain for the rest of the year.
Here is what you can do this winter to support your weight loss goals.
1. Winter running
Winter running allows you to shed a lot more calories. The cold temperatures, in particular, stimulate the body to produce more energy to keep you warm and maintain homeostasis.
Shivering further helps shed white fats. However, this fat loss is rather indirect. It happens when cold temperatures in winter cause white fat, often linked to obesity and other health risks, to turn into brown fat, a far easier to burn type of fat. As a result, running in the cold winter weather helps lose the bad or unhealthy white fats in the body.
Winter running also enables you to work out different parts of the body and helps you lose weight more effectively. in addition, the extra layers of clothing worn when running in winter increase the number of calories burned and contribute positively to the weight loss journey.
Essentially, you should run for at least 30 minutes in the winter weather to achieve meaningful progress. You should further adjust the intensity of your winter runs depending on the temperature and run for shorter periods when it is too cold to minimize the risk of developing exercise-induced asthma or bronchoconstriction.
Warming up indoors before a winter run can help prevent this problem. Wearing a winter running face mask can further reduce the risk of this type of asthma.
You should wear appropriate winter running gear to beat the frigid temperatures and maximize your chances of losing excess body fat.
Even as you run in winter, you should postpone your runs when temperatures drop below -15 because frostbite can occur fast, often within 30 minutes.
2. Winter Walking
If you are not a running enthusiast or you do not like intense physical activity, winter walking can help you keep fit and lose excess body weight. Although walking in winter is not as vigorous as running, it is healthy and helps you burn 34% more calories than walking in mild weather conditions.
Increasing the intensity of your winter walks can facilitate weight loss because more intense intervals help burn more calories. Interval walking generally involves switching between a slow and a fast pace. This approach to winter walking adds the right intensity to the exercise while avoiding excess body strain.
The amazing winter landscape also can be refreshing. It might help you clear your mind and make you feel less stressed. As a result, winter walking can help ease the carbohydrate cravings that develop when stressed or due to winter depression.
3. Workout on a treadmill or rowing machine
If you prefer indoor exercise, you should go for the treadmill as the first option. A treadmill workout is ideal for losing excess fat in winter. It is also perfectly easy to control the pace and timing of treadmill workouts depending on individual winter weight loss goals.
Running or walking on an inclined treadmill can further add intensity to the workout and increase the number of calories burned. In fact, people using an inclined treadmill tend to lose 30% more calories than those on a flat treadmill despite working out at the same pace.
For a person to actually lose weight, one needs to reach the fat-burning zone and work out for at least 30 minutes while in this zone.
Some treadmills compute your fat-burning zone if you input your age and weight. You can also calculate your fat-burning zone using an online calculator.
If your plan is to burn the excess body fat and simultaneously build muscles, you should go for a rowing machine. A rowing machine provides a more complete workout. It involves far more body parts and muscles than the treadmill and contributes well to your overall fitness.
4. Shoveling snow
Beyond running and walking, you can add shoveling snow to your list of ways to lose weight. This activity may seem worthless to your weight loss efforts. However, you can lose anywhere between 300-500 calories for every hour you spend shoveling snow.
The Harvard Medical School further estimates that a 185-pound person could burn 266 calories within just half an hour.
Barry Franklin, a cardiologist, also found that shoveling snow caused the blood pressure and heart rate of young and healthy men to elevate more than when they worked out on a treadmill.
Thus, shoveling snow is the ultimate workout. It works out multiple body parts and muscles, including your hamstrings, glutes, abs, back, and shoulders.
One needs to dedicate as much time as possible to shoveling snow to work the body and maintain the heart rate in the fat-burning zone.
Even so, one should exercise caution when shoveling snow because the cold weather and an elevated heart rate increase your risk of a heart attack. Therefore, you should dress warmly in layers, avoid eating or smoking before shoveling snow, and go indoors for a break.
People with coronary disease, the obese, and those aged above 55 should not shovel snow unless they strictly observe these precautions.
5. Ice skating
If you are young and outgoing, you should use ice skating to fulfill your weight loss goals. The United States Figure Skating Association estimates that recreational ice skating can help you burn 250 calories per hour and up to 810 calories on the higher side.
You will burn even more calories if you engage in competitive ice skating. The United States Figure Skating Association indicates that the calories burned for every hour of competitive ice skating is between 450 and1,080, which is equivalent to running for one hour.
Normally, the calories burned depend on the skater’s weight and the intensity of the ice skating workout. Thus, you need to be realistic when estimating potential weight loss.
6. Eating home-cooked meals
If you want to lose weight in winter, you should eat home-cooked meals instead of ordering takeout. People who order takeout will most likely go for unhealthy food options. As a result, their diet will contain more calories, saturated fat, and total fat than home-cooked meals.
If you go for home-cooked meals, you will have more control over which ingredients you use or add. Overall, you will end up with a low-calorie and low-fat meal. In addition, you will more likely cook with ingredients that facilitate weight loss, such as cabbage, black pepper, turmeric, and spinach.
7. Take hot coffee or tea
In winter, a hot cup of coffee can also help you shed extra pounds. Caffeine raises the rest metabolic rate and allows your body to burn more calories while at rest.
Taking hot coffee at least 30 minutes before your workout can further speed up your metabolism and help burn more calories. Pre-workout coffee intake also boosts athletic performance and enables you to work out for longer. As a result, you can maintain your heart rate in the fat-burning zone for longer and lose more fat in the process.
If you prefer tea, you should go for black tea to get the same benefits as coffee. If you want something spicy, you should consider ginger tea. Ginger tea is a good winter beverage. It promotes metabolism and helps burn belly fat. In addition, ginger tea can suppress appetite and reduce winter carbohydrate cravings.
Adding lemon to ginger tea can further increase the weight loss benefits. It follows that lemon juice decreases insulin resistance and the fat stored in the body. Thus, lemon is worth adding to your tea.
A hot cup of blue tea will also do wonders for those who want an equally good but caffeine-free beverage to facilitate weight loss. As a natural diuretic, blue tea can help you lose water weight. The antioxidants in blue tea, such as catechins, can also help burn belly fat and support weight loss.
My Best Picks for Winter Running/Walking
Best Base Layer Set for Men: Thermajohn Long Johns Thermal Underwear for Men
Best Base Layer Set for Women: Thermajane Long Johns Thermal Underwear for Women
Best Vest for Women: Columbia Women’s Heavenly Water Resistant Insulated Vest
Best Vest for Men: Little Donkey Andy Men’s Lightweight Softshell Vest
Best Shoes for Women: Wonesion Womens Walking Running Shoes
Best Shoes for Men: Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 9 Running Shoes
Best Beanie Hat Scarf Set: Winter Beanie Hat Scarf Touchscreen Gloves Set for Men and Women
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