Winter is nearly upon us and so is that dreaded anticipation of packing on the kilos. 

When the weather is cooler, it’s so tempting to stay in bed a little longer, order a hot chocolate and have extra helpings of your favourite comfort food. 

Speaking to DailyMail, nutritionist, chef and co-host of Good Chef, Bad Chef, Zoe Bingley-Pullin says sticking to a healthy food and exercise routine is your body’s best defense against the winter woes. 

“Being consistent with exercise and diet will help to keep your body and circadian rhythm in check, maintain healthy hormone balance and keep off the weight.” 

Here are her tips on simple ways to keep those extra kilos off and boost your immune system. 

1. EXERCISE 

Don’t let the cooler temperature affect your exercise routine. 

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“It’s often the first thing to go when the temperature drops despite being one of the most effective tools to ward off winter weight gain.” 

Our suggestion? Try hot yoga! 

2. WATER

Drinking water is a major help with keeping off the extra winter kilos. 

Being hydrated will trigger thermogenesis, a process that causes the body’s metabolic rate to speed up meaning we burn more calories. 

Even better, sip warm water with lemon throughout the day. 

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3. BALANCED MEALS 

Try to include protein, healthy fats and low-glycaemic carbohydrates that will keep your metabolism humming along. 

“Remember protein is required to build muscle mass, which controls our metabolic rate and helps us burn more calories during the day”. 

4. LIVE LOVING 

During winter months, our livers may be put under extra stress from exposure to an influx of bacteria and nasty environmental agents. 

“If the liver is burdened, toxins will back up resulting in inflammation, impairing our liver’s fat burning ability and disrupting hormone balance”. 

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Consume an abundance of vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and turmeric, ground or freshly grated, is perfect in soups. 

5. FIBRE AND RESISTANT STARCH 

Maintaining fibre intake is essential during winter and helps with managing blood sugar levels. 

For snacks during the day, have dibre reached ones such as roasted sweet potato with yoghurt or fresh fruit. 

6. EAT MINDFULLY, NOT FOR COMFORT 

See your food as a source of nourishment, not as a source of warmth or comfort this winter. 

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Sit down and take time to appreciate your food, eating with the full acknowledgement of what’s in front of you. 

This will aid you in subconsciously avoiding overeating.  

7. GET MORE SLEEP AND SUN 

Don’t worry, we are well aware there isn’t much sun around in winter, but if there ever is, make sure you get out and take full advantage! 

During winter, the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm, is higher. 

Melatonin plays an important role in the storage of fat tissue. Low vitamin D levels have been seen to be associated with decreased fat breakdown and increased fat storage. 

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Furthermore, getting more sleep is ALWAYS a good thing for your health and weight. 

8. NURTURE GUT BACTERIA 

If you’ve got the wrong kind of bacteria in your gut it can distort the way we metabolise fat and increase inflammation, creating a vicious cycle for weight gain. 

Eat a broad spectrum probiotic or fermented foods rich in good bacteria like yoghurt, kefir, miso, tempeh and sauerkraut. 

9. EAT TO INCREASE HEAT

Chilli, bitter melon and green tea are known to increase energy expenditure and fat metabolism. 

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Have a green tea in the afternoon when that slump hits and add chilli to soups and stir-fries. 

These additions can help reduce body fat, cholesterol levels and blood pressure in women and men. 

10. SPOT THE SALT 

The RIGHT kind of salt is full of natural minerals and can help us maintain a healthy water balance and blood pH. 

Make your soups from scratch and use healthy salt substitutes such as celtic salts, sea vegetables, miso and tamari soy sauce. 

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