Brisk and blustery winter weather isn’t the most motivating or inviting backdrop for an outdoor workout. If you’d rather cozy up indoors than get out and exercise, you’re not alone. It’s easy to slip into a state of hibernation during the winter months, complete with baggy sweats and comfort food. But sitting by the fire sipping hot chocolate won’t help you reach your weight loss goals.
Whether you’re working on your beach body, have made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, or simply want to improve your health, there’s no better time than the present to work on your weight loss program — no matter the weather.
Before you lose all motivation to lose weight during winter, follow our tips for weight loss exercise and weight loss friendly foods to get you through winter.
Cold temps in the morning and evening can be a health risk if you aren’t wearing adequate clothing. Layer up to keep your body warm, and as your body temperature increases during your workout, remove outer layers. As you begin your cool down, put those layers back on to stay warm. Keep in mind that body heat escapes through your head and neck, so put on a warm hat or headband and a workout-friendly scarf.
Some fabrics, such as cotton, hold moisture in, lowering your body temperature in cold weather. In addition to wearing layers, put on moisture-wicking fabrics to keep sweat off your skin.
When it’s cold outside, you may not notice your thirst the same way you would in the heat of the summer. But drinking plenty of water is just as important in winter. Stick with water and skip the sugar-loaded sports drinks, unless you’re participating in extreme winter sports or working out for more than 90 minutes, in which case your body could use the extra electrolytes.
Get familiar with signs of hypothermia, such as shivering, weak pulse, nausea, slurred speech, drowsiness and confusion. Know when it’s time to head indoors to warm up and when you may need to seek medical attention.
If cold-weather workouts aren’t calling your name, there are plenty of workouts you can do indoors. Sign up for a membership at your local gym or health club or join an indoor recreational sports team. If you’re self-motivated, put together a weight loss exercise program you can do at home with body weight exercises and minimal equipment.
Winter weather calls for comfort food, but many of the foods we love to warm our souls are high in carbs and calories. Plan your meals around these healthy seasonal foods that can help you drop those extra pounds before swimsuit season.
Try this healthy recipe for hot and sour cabbage soup. Besides its delicious taste, it will boost your metabolism, prevent blood sugar swings and keep you feeling full.
Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
4 heaping cups sliced green cabbage (about ½ medium head)
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast
After adding the olive oil to a large stockpot, sauté the onion, carrot, cabbage, and jalapeños until they begin to soften, about five to seven minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine well. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Nutrition (per serving): 248 cal, 15 g pro, 32 g carb, 8 g fiber, 9 g sugars, 9 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 748 mg sodium.
Could you use some help planning your winter weight loss program? Contact us today to speak with your First Baptist Medical Center weight loss doctor.