By Jade Mottley, fitness entrepeneur & Health Coach at we:bo
Winters coming… Beware the ‘Winch’!
Days are getting shorter and colder. It’s only natural that we find it increasingly difficult to motivate ourselves to go out for that run or trudge down to the gym for that workout and most importantly eat well. Especially as we come into the festive period. It happens to us all. We turn to comfort food as a way of dealing with the onset of winter and indulging through the festive period! And why not!? It feels nice! And we agree. It’s good to indulge every now and again. However recent research suggests it should be just that; now and again.
Recent studies suggest the average person in the UK gains an average of 3-6 kg (that’s nearly half a stone) during the festive period. The we:bo team have labelled this phenomenon the ‘Winch’!
Winch refers to the extra inch (or more) that seems to appear, mainly during the month of December, and settles directly around the waistline and or buttocks! It’s real. We’ve seen it! The name divided the team, but we’ve stuck with it for now, mainly because it really doesn’t sound that nice!
Unavoidable. Inevitable. It’s Christmas! Just some of the responses when canvassing a few views from the public. It seems there’s an acceptance that we’ll put on this weight, but it’ll be ok as it’ll all miraculously disappear in the new year, no doubt as part of some sort of emotionally strung resolution. Except, for most, it doesn’t. A New Year’s resolution lasts on average for 2 weeks, so that could be you living 2018 half a stone heavier!
Fast forward to 2020 and you could be carrying an extra stone of unwanted fat, despite your best intentions to work it off during the ‘well-trodden’ and usually rather expensive January and February knee jerk reaction months. Factor a few years of this in and you see where I’m going.
The Winch has taken hold! Then it’s a constant battle through the year to maintain some parity…
Why does this happen, what are some common misconceptions, and what can you do about it?
“It’s winter. It’s cold. My body needs more food and fat to keep me warm!” Said, a LOT of people!
Seems to be a common one. However, according to Dr. Yoni Freedhoff there is no evidence for the need to gain weight during the winter months. We’re not bears. We don’t need to hibernate.
So why do you gain weight then?
It all comes down to habits. Ever thought it’s dark so you’ll just go straight home after work and skip the gym? It’s raining, so you don’t want to go for your run. It’s cold so you take the car instead of walking. It’s all of the above. Let’s just snuggle up with a blanket, whack on the TV, watch a film, sip a hot chocolate (Baileys optional). Oh, and don’t forget the snacks. It’ll be just like the cinema! Sound familiar? Bad habits…
What can I do?
Think about alternative ways to fit in exercise. Try working out in the comfort of your own home. If you need some motivation, use a we:bo Personal Trainer to help you come up with some fun exercises that you can do that will help keep you motivated and give you extra accountability and simple advice on what to eat next. Use the treats as a reward and feel better. You may even find yourself eating fewer snacks and drinking less after doing the workout!
The festive period is all about food and drink, right?
The Christmas parties, trips to the Christmas markets, the ‘endless’ mulled wine (“it’s Christmas, after all!”). Then there’s the annual visit to Granny’s for her amazing homemade fruitcake! All sounds great. It also donates to the Winch!
What can I do?
Take charge of your social calendar this year and suggest alternatives to going out eating and drinking. Chances are your friends will be glad of the break too! Why don’t you try indoor fun activities such as trampolining or climbing? You could push the festive boat out and do a spa day for a well-needed relaxation before Father C or equivalent delivery vehicle of choice arrives!
Christmas is just soooo busy!
Parties here, shopping there. Then I’ve got to get the house clean for the in-laws – helppp! I don’t have time to exercise!
What can I do?
Plan ahead. Take time to create a simple schedule for yourself, Plan your weeks and days over the festive period (down to the hour if you need to). Don’t let deadlines and chores overwhelm you and get you stressed. Throughout all the chaos and last minute rushing around, don’t forget about you. Schedule time to do your food shopping, prepare meals, fit in workouts. Most importantly, schedule in time to evaluate your week. Did you get what you wanted to done? Don’t accept that things are just more hectic over the festive period. Otherwise things will just get left to ‘next year’. You want to enjoy the festive period and avoid the ‘January blues’. You deserve better. Act now.
“Winter is all about the baggy jumpers”
Fashion changes during winter. Of course they do!? It’s very easy to throw on a baggy jumper. Ask yourself why. Are you a little bit ashamed of whats underneath? Don’t try and fool yourself. You need to be happy with you and if you’re not, no amount of baggy jumpers will help you feel happier. I speak to clients who say they get a sense of discontent when they’re getting dressed or undressed as they’re not happy with what they see. They shouldn’t have to feel that way.
What can I do?
Again, take control. Give yourself a talking to. Winter should be about moderation; you don’t have to completely change your routine. Small changes make a big difference (become something of a motto amongst our chat). The festive period is always going to be be different; visiting family and friends, enjoying yourself, taking a break and recharging. So try and make small manageable changes rather than sweeping changes and certainly not waiting till January (to get stressed fighting over a treadmill at the gym you’ll be overspending on and underusing!). Pepper your week with short durations of ‘me time’. Whether that be for a bit of exercise or some time spent mindfully, find time to fit it in.
For maximum Winch avoidance from the comfort of your own home, hop onto we:bo. Simple to use. All you need is a decent internet connection, your body and a commitment to want to feel better.
We have great Personal Trainers with huge amounts of knowledge waiting to help you keep the Winch at bay. Let we:bo bring the gym to you (remotely). All the benefits of a personal trainer, without having to leave the house.
To download the we:bo app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/we-bo/id1208554517
Take-away: Don’t stuff yourself like the turkey this year.
Jade Mottley – Fitness Entrepeneur. Health Coach at we:bo
- Yoni Freedhoff (Medical Director, Bariatric Institute in Ottawa)