Piling on Weight during Winter, why it happens and how to avoid it.

During the colder months we always want to eat that little bit more. I hear over and over again that people find it so hard to maintain their ideal weight during Autumn and Winter and I truly believe thats because it is inbuilt within us as humans to fatten up for the cold. Fat to many of us in society these days is seen as such a bad thing and whilst i agree excess fat is a strain on the body if we look at what it actually is which is your bodies way of putting on an internal jumper it is no wonder our bodies fight us to retain and gain a little extra layer of fat when the cold starts to bite. Theres also the question about ideal weight and the difference between YOUR ideal weight and that of your body. We can often be underweight to fit in that bikini for summer and its always ideal to know what a healthy weight for your body is but don't get too stuck on BMI calculations. I don't find BMI to be a true indicator as it doesn't take into consideration Muscle Mass, Bone Density etc and so really it boils down to good old common sense.

Now i am not suggesting give in and crack open the tin of Roses, but to know that the decision to put a little weight on goes slightly out of our control past September is liberating isn't it? 

I find a balanced approach during this season is key. Give in to your human urges to fatten up with food but choose the right foods and team with good regular exercise that way you feed your need to eat and concentrate on building muscle mass and toning rather than just concentrating on dropping fat. 

So what the hell do you eat? Is all about change. Im massive on food enjoyment, as part of longterm lifestyle changing is enjoying what you are eating. If its boring or tasteless its a chore and if its a chore you aren't going to stick to it. 

Heres my list of easy swaps to make, revolving around comfort food without drama, tons of time or prep and without a cooking degree..

White Potatoes


Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Having a much lower Gi than their white cousins, they release their energy slowly and have a higher fibre content keeping you fuller for longer. Boiled, roasted, mashed these versatile bad boys that are full of key nutrients such as Vitamin A & C are top of my list all year. 

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Rice

Swap rice for Quinoa. An ancient grain thats easier to cook than it seems. Quicker than rice and addictive once you find the flavour you love. Used to fill out soups and stews, as a rice alternative on the side or even as a porridge for breakfast. Also a complete Protein source, higher in fibre than most other grains keeping you fuller for longer and a rich source of Iron, Magnesium and Vitamin B2 which is key in helping the body to metabolise Fats and Proteins. 

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Chocolate

The most addictive food of the season but the easiest to change. Swap your usual Dairy milk for Raw Cacao and you'll never go back. Raw Cacao is high in Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Most of the B Vitamins and Oleic Acid which is a monounsaturated fat that tells your brain you are full. Cacao also increases the availability of Serotonin the bodies happy hormone which we all need more of don't we!

Use Raw Cacao instead of Hot Chocolate with Xylitol or Rice Syrup to sweeten. Sprinkle it on Oats, make your own raw chocolate bars with Coconut Oil and Lacuma or pair with Avocado, Peanut Butter and Rice Syrup in the blender for a quick pudding to die for!

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Cereal / Toast

In the morning when you drag yourself out of bed in the cold and dark slaving over a hot stove can be the last thing on your mind so organising breakfast should be top of your list. 

Oats are my go to for a speedy breakfast. They are high in fibre and slowly release energy making them perfect for keeping you fuller for longer or for diabetics. Oats contain a huge amount of Manganese (which is key in Metabolism particularly that of fats and carbs) and Phosphorus which key functions include how your body stores and uses energy and to reduce muscle pain after exercise. 

Overnight Oats is the perfect swap for speed and nutrition and with the endless amount of flavour options its just never boring. 

Its a one to one ratio, so one part oats to one part liquid (milk choice, milk and yoghurt, water etc) and then your choice of flavour. For example, vanilla and coconut, strawberry and vanilla extract, cacao and peanut butter, the list goes on. Simply mix in a jar, fridge and its ready the next day. It'll keep well for around 3 days in the fridge and you can also heat it up if you wish adding a little more milk in the pan if required. 

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White Refined Sugar

Also known as legal crack in our circles, white refined sugar is hiding in pretty much everything that processed so avoiding processed foods and opting for whole and real foods is a large part of the battle won. Now i say white and refined as not all sugars are equal. To avoid sugar completely is very difficult as key groups of foods veggies, fruits etc contain them and you need the nutrients they contain in your diet. The key is to avoid the white stuff and to find your alternative. My go to is Xylitol which is good for dessert making and in coffees etc, having 0% fructose and accredited by the dental association for being not only kind to teeth but improving dental health and removing plaque. Rice Syrup is also fructose free and up there with my favourites. Maple Syrup which is also a superfood and densely nutritious is another one on my favourites list for added flavour, having only around 40% Fructose it is so much better than Agave Syrup which has around 80% Fructose. 

Ill touch just a little on fructose...

Fructose can only be metabolised by the liver and excess can damage it. Fructose in high consumption has the same effect on the liver as alcohol. Your liver has to get rid of it and it does so by transforming it into fat. There are many other effects of fructose over consumption, but thats a whole other blog post!

If you are used to a sweet coffee, many of us are tempted by Pumpkin Spice Lattes during the season, at Rawr we offer a Pumpkin and Gingerbread Latte made with Real Spices and a touch of Maple rather flavoured sugar syrups. You can really taste the difference and its one of our best sellers for that reason. We also offer a bulletproof coffee sweetened with Xylitol and Vanilla Extract which tastes like a Baileys Latte. 

All the taste, none of the rubbish. 

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So the key words to sail you through this season happily are ..

Balance and Variety
In your approach, what you eat and your exercise regime.

Don't deprive yourselves, just swap for better and your body and mind will thank you in abundance for it!

Written by Gemma Bloor
Nutritional Therapist
Director of Nutrition, Rawr Juice & Superfood Bar Ltd


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