Winter has finally kicked in, and man – it’s freezing! And as we put on layers of clothes to stay warm, our bodies tend to pack on extra layers of body fat too. But can we really blame the cold for slowing down our metabolism? And how can we kick it back into action in time for summer?
When your body is exposed to really cold weather, your metabolism may slow down to conserve energy and heat. However, a brief period spent in cold temperatures, like a walk outside, isn’t sufficient to slow down your metabolism. Rich and comforting foods, sweet hot drinks and less exercise that’s more likely to be the culprit. So let’s look at some clever ways of beating the winter bulge and getting summer-svelte in no time:
Warm up your breakfast
Cold cereal on a chilly morning is not very appealing. Warm up from the inside with a steamy bowl of oats topped with flaxseed instead. Simply eating breakfast can boost your metabolism by as much as 10%, and oats, in particular, can make your body burn up to 30% more calories. That’s because digesting all that fiber takes such a long time.
Stay under the covers
Look no further for a reason to stay in bed for longer – too little sleep can mess up your metabolism. Studies found that even short-term sleep deprivation can make healthy people process sugar as if they were diabetic. People who were restricted to four hours of sleep a night metabolised glucose 40% slower than when they got 8 hours of sleep, but the effects were reversed after they rested up.
Don’t skip your workout
Sticking to your workout routine in winter is really hard, but consistent activity is one of the most important things to keep your metabolism buzzing. To fight off winter laziness, take advantage of indoor activities like spinning classes, Zumba or pilates. You can even turn your living area into a workout zone by following exercise tapes or bodyweight exercise programmes.
Keep your water bottle close
It’s easy to remember when you’re sweating in the heat, but it’s just as important to get your eight glasses of water a day in winter. Being mildly dehydrated can slow your metabolism by up to 3%. Why? Experts believe that the rate at which your cells metabolise fat has to do with their size, and when they shrink from dehydration they become less effective.
Lay off the booze
Keep in mind that alcohol not only adds empty kilojoules to your diet, but also slows down your body’s fat-burning capabilities. In fact, a study found that drinking can slow your metabolism by as much as 73%. Plus, most people don’t make the best decisions about food when drinking and tend to skip their workout the next day.
Get enough Vitamin C
Citrus fruits are not only delicious, they’re packed with Vitamin C, which has been proven as a necessary nutrient to keep your metabolism humming. In fact, research shows that low levels of Vitamin C can slow your fat burn by as much as 25%.
Get your Omega 3s in
Fight off the winter blues with the mood-boosting power of Omega 3s in fish oil and get the added bonus of giving your metabolism a lift. Australian researchers found that in combination with exercise, fish oil can increase the activity of enzymes responsible for fat oxidation.
Sweat it out in a sauna
Saunas are great for detoxing, since they make your body sweat out a lot of toxins. Spending time in a sauna is also great for fat loss, since it increases your energy output and raises metabolism.