9 Lazy-Girl Ways to Lose Weight in Winter Without Even Trying
All credit goes to
Elizabeth Narins at cosmopolitan.com
If forgiving winter clothes and unforgiving temperatures aren't motivating you to work toward your winter weight-loss goals, don't sweat it: Winter can work wonders on your body without any of your effort.
Here are all the things you already do in wintertime that reduce overeating and boost your metabolism to burn more fat:
1. Embrace the cold. Turns out your body favors calorie-torching body fat when it's cold AF. Whether you're walking your dog outdoors or hoofing it from a far-off parking spot, just exposing yourself to cold temperatures can encourage white body fat — the kind that stores calories, causes inflammation, and messes with your health — to act more like brown fat, the kind that generates heat by burning calories, according to a 2015 study published in The FASEB Journal. Just make sure you're not exposing yourself to so much cold that you end up putting yourself in danger.
2. Shiver. While feeling supremely cold is The Worst, there is a silver lining — particularly if winter weather has deterred you from going the gym. Shivering for 10 to 15 minutes burns about as many calories as an hour's worth of moderate exercise, according to a 2014 study published in the journal, Cell Metabolism. Another fun fact to share the next time winter weather strikes: Shivering is actually just muscle contractions, according to the study's lead author, so it's like cranking out an involuntary set of bicep curls with no actual effort.
3. Hunker down with a winter cuff. New research reveals how serotonin, the happy hormone, actually makes your body burn more fat. So all the feels you get from your new partner could inadvertently affect the scale.
4. Drink cold water. Good news if you take your water cold, regardless of the season: When you consume liquids that are colder than your core body temperature, your body has to work to warm it up, and it burns extra calories in the process, according to a 2003 study on the metabolic effects of different water temperature published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
5. Walk on snow. When you walk on snow (or sand, for that matter), you lose the bouncy boost you'd otherwise benefit from when stepping off a solid surface, which means your legs have to work harder. The deeper the snow, the more difficult it is to lift your legs and put one foot in front of the other. On top of that, there's also the instability of walking on shifty or slippery snow, which requires extra effort too. All of this results in a greater calorie burn than you'd experience on a stable surface, according to a 2007 study that compared the energy output of treadmill walking to treading on varying depths of snow.
6. Bundle up. Those bulky, restricting layers that weigh you down and make it extra hard to move amp up the intensity of every step you take. So simply dressing for brutal weather helps you resistance- and strength-train without ever stepping foot in the gym.
7. Choose soup over salad as a starter. The winter staple takes up so much room in your stomach that it literally fills you up, so you end up eating fewer calories overall when you eat it at the onset of a meal, according to a 2007 Penn State University study. (Because cream-based soups tend to be more calorically dense than broth-based options, opt for the latter to max out on this benefit.)
8. Eat produce that tastes most delicious in winter. It's almost impossible to overeat low-calorie foods like kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, and because they contain so much filling fiber, you won't have room to overeat higher-calories foods after loading your plate with these seasonal ingredients. So long as your sprouts aren't deep-fried with bacon crumbles, and your broccoli isn't drenched in cheesy sauce, filling up on winter's best foods really benefits your body.
9. Order in instead of eating out. People tend to choose lower-calorie meals when they order their food an hour or more before eating (i.e., when you order dinner ahead of time to account for the time it takes for food delivery) as opposed to ordering right before mealtime (i.e., while sitting in a restaurant), according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Marketing Research. So it's a good thing you didn't want to schlep outside in the cold anyway.