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Losing Weight in Winter (5 Simple Tips on How to Do It)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 21, 2022

I’m not sure what it is about cold weather that makes people slip when it comes to their healthy lifestyle habits. It just seems like it’s a lot more effort to lose weight in winter.

Fortunately, there are a few things that can help you with weight management in the darker months of the year, and they won’t involve moving to a warmer climate in Florida or South America.

To give you the best science-based advice, I got together with a few other personal trainers and my dietitian to research and discuss how to keep a check on weight in the winter season.

Quick Summary

  • With shorter days and cold and wet weather, people reduce a lot of outdoor activities, and they often resort to eating more unhealthy foods.
  • Winter weight loss requires a strict focus on your diet as your body stores calories more easily with sugary junk food.
  • You’ll also need to figure out more ways of staying active and burning calories at a high enough rate.

How Can You Lose Weight Fast In Winter?

A person jogging outside in the winter

You can lose weight fast in winter by making sure your body burns extra calories and avoiding all the comfort foods that you might be tempted by in cold weather.

Studies have shown that overfeeding on carbs will lead to increases in body fat [1].

Yes, that hot chocolate to keep your body warm isn’t going to do your figure any favors, even under those forgiving winter clothes.

You should also consider rebalancing your macros in favor of more calories from protein.

Studies have shown that this is an effective way of promoting weight loss and helping to keep the pounds off [2].

Overall, it’s about getting into the right frame of mind and consciously focusing on low-calorie foods.

Let’s see how you can do that more easily.

5 Tips for Losing Fat in Cold Weather

A person drinking water outside in the winter snow

Here are the five tips that our research came up with as key factors for keeping off the extra pounds.

1. Find the Right Motivators

Dark and wet days, cold temperatures, and the limited ability to get outdoors and be active can all have a significant impact on your motivation.

And research has shown that motivation plays a key role in the number of people that abandon exercise routines [3].

So, what you need is, ideally, a diet and exercise partner to hold you accountable and provide external motivation.

2. Be Careful What You Drink

Many people only focus on healthy food to avoid weight gain, but they forget about all those unhealthy drinks like soda and alcohol.

But it’s just as important to avoid drinks with simple carbs in the cold season as it is in summer [4].

So, drink cold water instead of soda, and have Oolong tea instead of hot chocolate.

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3. Try Intermittent Fasting

A person drinking from a tumbler outside in a park

I personally find it a lot easier to skip breakfast in the summer when I get up early to exercise and then head to work in the sunshine.

But extending your intermittent fasting periods like this works just as well in winter weather [5].

And if you then choose lower-calorie meals for the rest of the day, you could boost your weight loss even more.

4. Plan Your Snacks

You have to start eating fewer calories, especially from sugary snacks and processed foods that contain trans fat.

One thing you should consider is having some soup instead of other snacks. This winter staple takes longer to digest, which will help you feel full for longer [6].

But be aware that cream-based soups tend to contain some sugar and starch, so try and avoid those.

You should have more time indoors in winter, so why not try some homemade soup where you have full control over the ingredients and nutrients?

“Losing weight and being physically active help lower your risk of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and some types of cancer.”

- Manpreet Mundi, M.D. at MayoClinic.org

5. Exercise in the Cold

Yes, cold weather workouts are tough, but your body will have to work harder to keep its core body temperature up. And that should mean you burn more energy for faster weight loss.

And if you’re brave enough, then try cold water swimming which is a great exercise for losing weight. Studies have shown that it can help activate brown fat [7].

And when you can boost the process of transforming white body fat into brown fat, you should gain a lot more control over your weight.

FAQs

Is It Harder to Lose Weight in the Winter?

Yes, it is harder to lose weight in winter. This is mainly due to metabolic changes and differences in physical activity that result in more fat storage [8].

Does Your Body Hold Onto Fat in Winter?

Yes, your body tends to hold onto fat in winter. Less sun exposure and cold temperatures can trigger an evolutionary response where the body tries to retain as much energy as possible [9].

Focus On Your Winter Weight Loss Goals

Maintaining healthy habits for your diet and exercise play a vital role when the cold temperatures of winter set in.

But even when that becomes challenging, you’ll be able to get to your healthy weight loss goals a bit faster with natural fat burners:

These work by boosting your metabolic rate throughout the day to trigger more effective fat loss. And the results over a few months can be significant, but don’t assume that they will work by sitting on the couch all day with a box of donuts.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786199/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539343/
  3. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/ExerciseMot.pdf
  4. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/good-carb-bad-carb-dont-buy-into-4-myths
  5. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work
  6. https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2012152
  7. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211011110818.htm
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15276821/
  9. https://www.cbc.ca/life/wellness/turns-out-winter-weight-gain-is-a-real-thing-1.4524314

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