It's cold, it's dark, we get it — when it comes to working out and staying healthy, it's hard to motivate in the Winter. Not to fret — there are actually things specific to the cold weather that you can use to your advantage in hitting your weight-loss goals. And besides keeping you healthy and on track, these five items will keep you warm and toasty when the weather is anything but.
- Spice things up: Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric not only take drab dishes to the next level, but also help boost the body's metabolism, increasing its ability to burn more fat. Whip up a batch of this vegan chickpea curry, or blend up this ginger citrus smoothie. You can also sprinkle a little cinnamon into your coffee to give your morning a nice little kick-start.
- Always reach for oatmeal: On cold, dark mornings, people should be awarded medals just for making it out of bed. On days that seem impossible to face, take comfort in a warm bowl of oatmeal. Regardless of the season, oatmeal is a weight-loss wonder when it comes to breakfast. The popular porridge has been shown to decrease cholesterol and waist size, and because it's full of protein and fiber, it will keep you full and satisfied until lunch.
- Make soup often: While not every soup falls under the healthy umbrella — we're looking at you, delicious, creamy broccoli cheddar — when made right, soup is a well-balanced, filling meal that's easy to digest. So much so that celebrity trainer Joel Harper calls it the perfect weight-loss meal. Given how cold it is, make a point to warm yourself up with a healthy bowl of soup on the daily.
- Take your workout outdoors: OK, it may seem crazy to head outdoors in the freezing cold, but cold-weather workouts burn more calories. You may even work a little harder to build up internal heat! Being outside will also help you breathe better, and that extra kick of endorphins that comes from exercise can help kick the blues you're feeling from the cold and dreary weather.
- Put the kettle on: Green tea and hot water with lemon are two cold-weather warmers that do double duty in helping you meet your weight-loss goals. Besides keeping you hydrated — key when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight — both beverages have been shown to increase metabolism and stimulate digestion.