As we sit in the depths of winter, it is likely that your pants are starting to feel a little tight and many a workout has been missed in favour of some extra doona time.
For many of us, winter weight gain is inevitable and we then spend much of spring trying to take off the extra few kilos that stand between us and our best swimsuit self.
So in an attempt to ward it off, here are some simple steps to help you take control today.
1. Buffer the extras
Warming winter foods like hot milky drinks, hot desserts, roasts, pies and heavy pasta dishes are not only higher in calories than the salads and grills of summer, but when coupled with far less movement they explain why it is so easy to gain weight at this time of the year.
And while you do not have to avoid these yummy foods entirely, simply buffering heavier meals with a few light days of eating each week will help compensate for these extras.
All you need to do is commit to a day or two of light eating a week. Fill up on soups, roasted vegetable salads and teas, which acts as a mini, low calorie fast each week.
2. Be strict with the hot drinks
You would be hard pressed to walk through a shopping centre or a city street and not find someone clutching a jumbo-sized latte or chai at this time of year but the reality is that milk-based drinks can be packed full of calories.
A single small latte contains a similar number of calories to a slice of bread, while a large flavoured coffee has up to 300 calories or the equivalent of a small meal.
To avoid these extra liquid calories stick to black tea or coffee as a winter warmer, embrace herbal teas and if a daily coffee is a must, choose small or piccolo sized serves to keep your calories and sugar intake from milk under control.
3. Keep an eye on the scales
Being obsessed with a number on the scale is not what we are suggesting here, rather keeping an anoccasional eye on your weight will go a long way in helping to prevent the winter weight creep before it gets out of control.
Simply hopping on the scales once or twice a fortnight will ensure you are aware if the numbers have started to creep up so you can cut back before you have gained a number of kilos, which are generally harder and harder to lose each time we gain them.
4. Have a nightly cut off
It will not surprise you to hear that much of the dietary damage we do occurs in the evening, after dinner while we are indulging in some screen time.
It is here that the biscuits, cakes, chocolate and extras come out which can literally add hundreds and hundreds of extra calories to your daily intake. When these are consumed at night, they’re more closely linked to weight gain.
There is nothing wrong with including a daily indulgence such as a snack-sized chocolate or single biscuit in your food regime but bingeing an entire packet of biscuits is not ideal.
When you assign a time each night to stop eating, say 7pm or 8pm, it becomes easier to halt eating and you will be less likely to keep on snacking throughout the evening.
The other tricks are to not keep tempting foods in the house and to go to bed earlier.
5. Move more, not less
While the days are shorter and the temperatures cooler, ultimately the key to managing your weight at this time of year is to ensure you keep moving.
This may mean committing to a different time at the gym, walking at night rather than in the morning or teaming up with a friend to train so you are held accountable.
Another great option is to register for a walking or running event so you actually have something to train for over the next couple of months.
This may be all the motivation you need to get and keep moving because ultimately the more exercise you do over the next two months, the better shape you will be in come spring.