Weight Watchers has identified 18th September as the date when the seasonal lifestyle shift happens in the UK and British winter weight gain begins. An Autumn Outlook Algorithm has been determined based on thirteen external factors that influence behaviour: weather, nature, light, societal timetables, food, TV, clothing, media, behaviour, mood, exercise, outdoor and time pressures. So here are some tips to stop these external factors affecting your weight.
Identify your pitfalls
The first important step is to work out the things you often struggle with in the cooler months. It might be that you find it really hard to wake up and hit the gym when it’s dark outside, or the thought of a salad for dinner when it’s cold fills you with dread, so you reach for comfort foods that are often higher in sat-fats and sugars. Working out what these things are for you, really helps take the step towards overcoming them.
Set yourself realistic goals
You can’t change the world over night and this definitely applies to healthy living. If you struggle getting out of bed on dark mornings don’t promise yourself you will go an early gym class, you will feel like you’ve failed when you don’t make it. Instead, plan exercise into your day when you will feel most motivated and will be most likely to do it.
By setting small and achievable goals, you can track your progress and feel much more motivated when you achieve each goal, one by one. There are many ways to track your journey, find one that works for you and stick to it whether it is with online tools or the Weight Watchers app. Make sure you celebrate each victory, no matter how small!
Education, Education, Education
Learn the basics about food, by educating yourself about the ‘better’ options, you can still enjoy the foods you love by making small but sensible changes to what you are eating. For example, you can opt for leaner cuts of meat or change the way you are cooking certain food such as try grilling over frying in unhealthy oil.
Prep for success
Batch cooking is a great way to control what you eat. You can prepare breakfast, lunches and even dinners, which will mean that you can be conscious of the food you are consuming and have calculated SmartPoints ahead of time. It is easy to prepare healthy and warming soups, full of vegetables and lentil which will keep you full and avoid the temptation to reach for the biscuit tin come 3 o’clock. Batch cooking also means you can carefully portion out meals to avoid overeating. Hearty stews are a great way to indulge in comfort food and can be packed with vegetables and are a easy meal to batch cook.
Beat the 3 o’clock slump
We’ve all been there, mid-afternoon and it is already getting dark, all we want to do is grab the nearest sugary treat. Get ahead of the game by arming yourself with equally tasty but more nutritional snacks such as nuts, fruit or vegetable crudités and homemade hummus.
Work out indoors
Push aside the sofas and turn the living room into your own personal gym. Short high intensity work outs are great when you can’t get outdoors or can’t fit in a trip to the gym. No equipment is required, just get your heart racing with easy exercises that can be done anywhere such as sit ups, burpees, lunges, press ups and squats.
Don't Fear Comfort Food
Sometimes, when it cold and rainy all you want to do is reach for comfort – and that is ok! If you restrict yourself to never eating out socially and cut out your favourite foods then you will set yourself up to fail. You can enjoy a warming hot chocolate or comforting jacket potato as long as you make sure you are doing so in moderation. It is important to follow a plan that can be flexible and doesn’t restrict you from indulging from time to time.
No more hiding
During the colder months we all have the tendency to hide ourselves behind layers of jumpers, scarves, coats.. the list goes on. But this doesn’t have to be the case, pull together two or three outfits that make you feel confident and wear these on the darkest and most miserable days.
Learn the art of balance
You can love food and still lose weight, the key is balance. If you want to have steak, order the salad as a side instead of fries, you can go out for lunch, but make sure you balance it out by eating a lighter meal in the evening such as soup. If you have a healthy meal and feel like a sweet treat after – that is ok! A great way to track this is with Weight Watchers Smart Points, which allow you to spend your daily and weekly allowance however you like without going overboard.
Find out what works for you
Everyone is different and there is no one size fits all way to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, but once you find out what does work for you, stick to it! Weight Watchers offers several different ways to follow the programme from meetings to online support and tracking progress through the app, there is something to suit everyone and their lifestyle.
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