Winter is the time to hibernate, get involved with some box sets under a blanket with chocolate and red wine, layer up to avoid showcasing those extra kilos, and let the gym membership have a rest, right?
Wrong. Winter is three months to concentrate on health, lose some weight, and hit Spring with a spring in your (lighter) step. The average person puts on 1-2kg in winter.
Here's how to avoid the cold and stay slim this season.
1. Drink hot drinks
If there's a chill in the air, then a massive smoothie, fizzy energy drink, or sugar-loaded juice only adds to the chill, caloric consumption, and weight gain. Stay warm and lose weight with healthy herbal teas, and warm water with lemon, mint, and/or cucumber.
2. Work shorter and harder
A long walk in the chill won't warm you up or burn many calories. Science shows shorter, high intensity sessions are best to lean up and drop some kilograms. Do some research on HIIT training, Tabata, or find classes that focus on intensity – they'll have you sweating, swearing, warmer, and lighter.
3. Spice up your life
Cutting down on the salt and sugar is a good thing. Replacing them with healthy, warming spices like cumin, garlic, wasabi, cinnamon, ginger, or chilli is even better.
4. Slow-cook it
I'm a hopeless chef, so along with my Labrador pal, man's best (winter) friend is the slow cooker. Slow-cooking beef, chicken, pork or lamb is a delicious way to eat healthily at a family-friendly price point. Add a salad or steamed vegies for a weight loss warmer - it beats a pizza, pasta and carb-loaded fest any day of the week.
5. Set a winter goal
In October, the masses want to get beach fit, and in the New Year, weight loss resolutions rule. What's your winter goal? Decide now where you want your weight to be in three months. Decide what time you want to cross the 10km finish line in September's race. Write down your health and wellness goals, and keep them visible at home and at work – tell friends and family of your healthy commitment this winter.
6. Have a hot breakfast
Oats are a damn healthy and warming start to the day, beating out that muffin and juice option I see too often in the CBD. Packed with fibre and other nutrients, oats are filling and tasty with fresh fruit added. Just watch the artificial flavoured packets, and enjoy grandma's favourite start to the day.
7. Activate indoors
If the rain is dumping and wind is howling, an outdoor workout can always be replaced with tennis, rock climbing, yoga, soccer, gym classes, basketball, and more. An indoor, active plan b always beats the couch.
8. Eat more soup
Nothing warms like a big bowl of healthy soup. Add salmon, lentils, broccoli, spinach, beetroot, and more. They're easy to make, and leftovers ensure a quality lunch the following day.
9. Change your workout
Doing the same old thing won't warm you up, and it won't change your body shape. Don't adapt to the same routine. Change your workout to avoid boredom, build new muscles, and your body will work harder and burn more calories.
10. Ditch the late snack
Winter TV binges associate too closely with late-night food binges. Find a new hobby, or research some healthy snacks.
11. Cuddle up
Stay cold in bed and play with your iPad, or warm up with a cuddle and some lovin'. Feel good, share some love, and expend some calories under the sheets to stay warm while nodding off to sleep.
12. Know it's not cold
Have a glance around the world for winter temperatures in North America, Europe, and beyond – now that's cold. "It's not that cold outside" is a mind-over-matter approach, and to think it's 'freezing' only keeps you indoors and inactive. Temperatures have dropped, but it's not lifestyle-changing cold in Australia. Get outside, get moving, and get your blood flowing.
13. Get outside
Not only does science prove that your body burns more calories in the winter as it fights to stay warm, but Vitamin D (from the sun) is a fat-burning friend. Bin the 'it's too cold out, pass me that bottle of red' excuse. Coming out of winter feeling sluggish with ill-fitting clothes - except for Saturday's elastic-banded sweatpants - sucks.
There's less going on this season, fewer social engagements and corporate events, so the time to concentrate on your health and lose weight isn't January 1, 2017. It's right now, tomorrow, and the next day. Get to it.
Are you setting yourself a winter weight loss goal? Let Michael know in the Comments section.
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.