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5 Time-Tested Rules for Losing Weight in the Winter

5 Time-Tested Rules for Losing Weight in the Winter

Winter can be a cold and miserable time for most people, when the ground outside is sludgy, wet or slippery and you feel damp and frozen to the bone every time you step outdoors. It makes getting exercise hard, and people are likely to retreat indoors for the season, hiding under blankets and waiting for the first signs of spring to arrive to venture outdoors again.

Since the holidays overlap with winter, many people associate the time period with seemingly inevitable weight gain. But winter doesn’t have to be a time to pack on the pounds—in fact, the cold weather may be an excellent tool to kickstart your weight-loss goals, since cold weather releases a hormone in our bodies that burns fat at an accelerated rate. Winter is a great time to try to drop the pounds. Get on your New Year’s resolutions with these five rules for losing weight in the winter.

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1. Take Advantage of Indoor Gyms

When the weather is miserable outside, you don’t have to cancel your workout for the day. Take it indoors with a local indoor gym. Many gyms are currently hosting New Year’s sales to entice new customers, and the middle of winter is a popular time for great deals. An indoor gym will give you a variety of equipment you probably don’t have available to you at home, and it’ll be heated for the winter, giving you a warm place to exercise without worrying about freezing in the snow or rain.

2. Don’t Binge on Comfort Foods

After the holiday season, many people fall into a short period when they are unable to resist cravings and urges for foods they may have consumed during the holidays. Or they may be more inclined to curl up with a hot bowl of mac and cheese, and sip creamy hot chocolate as they watch the snow fall. Unfortunately, most comfort foods that people like to turn to in the cold winter months are packed with calories and fat that you don’t need on a regular basis. Limit the consumption of these, and prioritize eating healthy, nutrient-filled foods on a daily basis.

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3. Track Your Diet and Activities

One of the best ways to ensure you know what you’re doing with your body is by tracking information diligently. This means using a pedometer to track your steps and activities, and a food diary to track how many calories you’re consuming, when, and what nutritional value they have. Luckily many restaurants these days are diet conscious and show their calorie content up front; which means you can dine out without feeling guilty. Tracking your diet like this can show you where you’re lacking, where you’re overrepresented, what your activity level is and how you can improve. Establish a baseline level—what your daily activity level is, what your typical calorie intake looks like—and then work on improving the content of your diet and attempting to improve your activity level.

4. Incorporate Daily Outdoor Time

Since cold weather is a natural fat-buster, the best way to take advantage of that is to spend time outdoors. It can’t just be a few minutes, either. Plan an outing, or a daily walk, or spend your lunchtime outside when possible.

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Just being in the cold can encourage fat-burning activity in brown fat cells, which burn white fat cells and help stimulate weight loss, making it a helpful resource to exploit in the colder months when you’re trying to maximize your weight loss efforts.

5. Drink Hot Green Tea

While the cold weather keeps you shivering, you’re probably going to want to turn to something hot to warm you up. Rather than drinking a latte or hot chocolate, however, you could brew a piping hot cup of green tea. The plant’s weight-loss benefits are well-documented, and can provide an extra kick to any weight-loss goal. As a bonus, the drink will also keep you warm and hydrated through the rest of the cold, dry winter, which is great for your skin as well as your weight.

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Winter doesn’t have to mean packing on the pounds. Take advantage of the cold weather and shake up your exercise routine to keep your body moving and the weight off.

Featured photo credit: Dan Zen via c1.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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