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Getting Lean for Winter

We have all heard the saying ‘summer bodies are made in the winter’, a cliché I know but it is kind of true! The point is not to wait until right before your summer holiday to make a change, but to start sooner rather than later – even in the winter!

It sounds simple enough; workout, eat well, but with dark nights and Christmas parties fast approaching, curling up in-front of the fire with your Quality Street seems all too tempting. So, what can you do to get yourself in the mood and keep on track over winter?

The trick is to try make things as easy as possible for ourselves. The principle of fat loss is a calorie deficit, meaning Energy Intake is less than Energy Output. The method used to create that energy deficit is ultimately down to you but should be one in which you are most likely to adhere to. Without adherence to a calorie deficit, fat loss will simply not occur. Adherence to a calorie deficit therefore is the single most important factor to facilitate fat loss.

Here are a few ways of improving adherence to a calorie deficit:

Choose a method that is enjoyable and easy to stick to: There is no point setting yourself unrealistic goals, such as working out daily and banning all consumption of mince pies and mulled wine over the festive period. This isn’t practical and ultimately isn’t healthy. Remember there are many facets of health, not simply physical health; social and emotional health are also equally important to consider. When done well, dieting should be temporary and shouldn’t stop you from ‘living’ and enjoying life, and let’s face it, what is life without mince pies and mulled wine?

Try to minimise hunger: After calories, protein is the next key consideration for a fat loss diet due to its satiating effect and it helps to support muscle retention. Protein powders are a great way to increase protein intake without the unwanted extra calories. PhD’s Diet Whey is a delicious full-bodied shake, that helps to fill you up and comes in 11 great flavours, including my all-time favourite, Birthday Cake, to help satisfy your sweet tooth.

Social support: Ensure your family and friends are fully on-board with your goal and don’t lead you astray! Be aware, even the strongest of people can be severely tested by a persistent friend!

Ensure you are getting sufficient sleep: Research has found that insufficient sleep during weight loss can reduce the amount of weight lost, increase hunger and impair glucose tolerance. What’s ‘sufficient’ to some people may not be for others. Sleep requirements vary by individual but ideally aim for between 7-9 hours a night.

Experiment with exercise: The effect of exercise on hunger is hugely genetic. In some, exercise increases appetite and in others, it doesn’t. Trial out how you feel after different types of exercise and assess what most suits you and doesn’t hugely increase your appetite and thus impede your fat loss goal. However, it is important to remember that the benefits of exercise stems beyond increasing energy expenditure.

Don’t be afraid of changing your method: If the method you are currently using isn’t suitable then switch it up and try something else. There is no point continuing down a path that isn’t working for you. As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Holly Archer

Holly is a Health & Performance Nutritionist at PhD