With less free time on your hands to stay active because of work/school, an increased temptation to eat your favourite comfort foods, and just a general lack of motivation to maintain that fading beach body overall, staying slim and fit now that summer's over is no easy task. That said, it doesn't have to be all broccoli and hitting the gym 17 times a week either. Obviously it does take some discipline, but there are some easy things you can do to keep you looking good as you should this winter.
1. Eat breakfast.
Probably the easiest thing you can do to stay slim is eat a healthy breakfast everyday. No joke. Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism and signals the body to start burning fuel, instead of storing it. You'll have more energy to be active, and you'll be less hungry during the day, which in turn stops you from making poor food choices at other meals.
You might have to wake up 10 mins earlier, but research shows that people who regularly eat breakfast tend to have a much healthier weight than those who skip it. It can be as easy as mixing in whey protein with some oatmeal and nuking it a quick min to give you the necessary sustenance to take you to lunch.
2. Don't be lazy.
Pretty straight forward, but a little effort really does go a long way. It can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to the pharmacy or post office, parking a little farther away than usual, biking to the office. Might not seem like much, but you are at least burning calories. Also, keep up a regular exercise routine, with some winter weather options to fall back on like an skiing/snowboarding, skating, or a home workout.
3. Chill the f*ck out.
Stress does some horrible things to the body, especially when it comes to weight gain. Being overly stressed out releases cortisol which can physically slow down your metabolism. Not exactly handy when you're also binge-eating to relieve all that stress. So make sure to relax when you can with meditation, long walks, or even Netflix & chill ;)
4. Eat your proteins.
The key to beating weight gain is eating high-quality, low-fat protein with every meal. Protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish, chicken, eggs and legumes such as chickpeas and black beans, all have a thermogenic effect, meaning they help the body actually burn fat during digestion. A good guide is to keep protein servings to the size and thickness of your palm.
Protein powders and bars are another great way to get your fix when you're on the go (we really like the selection at Diamond Nutrition in the McGill Ghetto). Eating enough protein will make you feel fuller, regulate your blood sugar levels and even help balance your moods.
5. Water yourself often.
The best way to keep your plants healthy is to water them regularly, and the same thing applies to your body. (Unless you're a cactus, but that spoils my metaphor so don't be a prick.) Proper hydration can not only curb your hunger and shed water wright, but also boost your metabolism by up to 3%. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day is tough for many, so try adding calorie-free flavor packets, setting an alarm reminders throughout the day, and keeping a water bottle near you for easy access.
6. Snack smart.
You probably already know that eating junk food all the time is not the first step to stay slim and fit, but it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy snaking. Just be smart about it. Baked pita chips and hummus, popcorn, nuts, berries, edamame, even dark chocolate are not only tasty but healthy AF!
Also, avoid that late-night snack unfortunately. Those midnight calories give you energy that you can't burn off while you sleep. If you just can't help yourself, a great way to curb blood sugar at night and avoid those binge fests is a simple protein shake or two cups of cottage cheese.
7. Pick your "poison" when eating out.
Eating at a good restaurant is one of the best things in life, and the last thing you want to do is count calories or deny yourself that mouth-watering cream sauce. But you can make a little sacrifice when it comes to what comes with that 5-star meal. Choose either that warm bread basket, those alcoholic drinks, or the delectable dessert at the end, but not all three.
Another pro tip is to avoid mixing meats, dairy and carbs which can create tremendous bloating and prolong digestion, otherwise known as food coma.
8. Portion control.
Not over-eating is seriously half the battle. Our society has gotten very used to indulgence and thus our food portions are often way more than we actually need. The best tip here is to eat until you're satisfied, not until you're full. You don't always have to fill your entire plate and you definitely don't need to Super Size.
9. Vitamins are your friends.
Making sure you are getting enough vitamins won't necessarily help you lose weight, but are essential to keeping your body functioning properly, which is much more important. Combined with a healthy diet, a good multi-vitamin can go along way, but the most important ones to focus on are B12 which plays a role in how your body uses calories, Vitamin D for healthy bones, and fish oil (omega-3s) to promote the metabolism of dietary fat and cholesterol as well as to protect nerve and brain cells from damage.
10. Get professional advice.
If you're really serious about your fitness, start by getting professional advice. For all things health and fitness, Diamond Nutrition is literally a one-stop-shop. Whether you're looking for supplement advice, fitness equipment, or general fitness consultation, the friendly staff will help you pinpoint your needs and provide you a detailed plan of action to meet your fitness goals. You can also buy sports clothing or catch some rays in one of Diamond nutrition's tanning beds to get some much needed vitamin D. Plus, you students out there get a 10% discount on any purchase, and get up to 60% off when you buy up to 3 items.
Just because you can't really show off your body in the winter doesn't mean you should ignore it. Adopting at least a few of these simple habits will not only keep you feeling great, but will also make it a whole lot easier to tone down when summer does finally return.