How-to: Beat winter weight gain

Beat winter weight gainIt’s hard to avoid gaining weight in the winter. After all, our biology is telling us to put weight on in the cooler months (to avoid dying of hypothermia, duh) – which is not an easy evolutionary trait to ignore. However, there are definite ways to keep the kilos off when the temperature drops and the couch beckons…

• Eat slowly: You’ll give your body time to send the signal that it’s no longer hungry, avoiding that stuffed, bloated feeling and allowing you to stop earlier.
• Exercise: Just 20 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise every day can help to keep the weight off and improve you overall sense of wellbeing. If you can’t manage it every day, try 40 minutes every other day.
• Treat yourself: You can eat something that’s fattening without immediately piling on the kilos, as long as you keep your transgressions limited to one per day. Just don’t go OTT – one donut, not a whole box, okay?
• Eat a low-GI diet: you’ll feel fuller for longer and be less likely to overeat.
• Cut down on the tipple: Alcohol can be warming and comforting in winter, but it’s packed with kilojoules. Limit yourself to one glass of wine a day, max.
• Get enough sleep: a sleep deficit can really mess with your body’s equilibrium. The body has a multitude of hormones coursing through it, and when the hormones that tell you you’re hungry aren’t in balance, you can guess the result.
• Drink plenty of water: According to research, drinking two cups of water before meals can help you to lose weight. Drinking six to eight glasses a day also helps the body flush out toxins, helping it to perform better (and burn more fat).



Apples tend to carry excess weight around their abdomens (a ‘spare tyre’, ‘love handles’, you get the picture) and lack a well-defined waistline. Weight gain tends to go straight to the tummy area and results in a rounded profile.
WHAT TO EAT: Apples do well on a diet that incorporates healthy fats, which may decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems. You’ll want to stay away from saturated fats, refined carbs and sugary, carbonated drinks.
EXERCISE: Rev up your metabolism and increase your kilojoule burn. Try to fit in least three 40-minute cardio sessions a week to build lean muscle.


Rulers have a narrow shape with no real difference between the size of their hips, waists and shoulders. When rulers gain weight, it’s usually evenly spread, but they can tend to put on weight around their middle.
WHAT TO EAT: Opt for a diet of lean (that means no fat or skin) protein (meat, chicken, turkey, fish) and low-GI carbohydrates, and cut out sugar and saturated fats as much as possible.
EXERCISE: Strength training can help to create curves and definition by building muscle, so try to fit in three weight-training sessions a week. Regular cardio is also a must.


Just over one fifth of women are pear-shaped, so it’s a very common body shape. Women of this shape have a larger hip than bust measurement and weight tends to settle on the lower part of the body: the bum, hips and thighs.
WHAT TO EAT: Women with pear shapes often pack weight on quickly, so monitoring your fat and kilojoule intake is important. Choose complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Stay away from full-fat versions of foods, junk foods and fast foods.
EXERCISE: Focus on cardio exercises, which target the lower body, such as step aerobics, cycling and running.


Women with an hourglass shape have a slim waist with proportionate shoulders, bust and hips. Weight gain tends to accumulate on the chest, arms, hips and bum rather than the abdomen. (Lucky things.)
WHAT TO EAT: ‘Everything in moderation’ could be the hourglass woman’s motto. A healthy balanced diet will help you maintain your curves.
EXERCISE: Hourglass figures tend to be quite well balanced, so focus on maintaining your shape with full-body workouts such as circuit training, combined with cardio to keep off excess weight.

Image: Yuri Arcurs/



28 Responses

  1. I take my time when eating, but I’m the not so disciplined when it comes to eating healthy.

  2. Its really hard to stay motivated to exercise in winter, I have taken up a winter sport and found a running buddy which helps a bit. Now to get my eating habits right, thanks for the advice!

  3. I train even harder in winter and enjoy it more because when I get hot from the workout, it’s not as uncomfortable in summer. Plus, it gives me great satisfaction knowing that I am fit and healthy all year round, not just when I want to wear a pretty summer dress.

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