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Gray skies, dropping temps, twelve hours of darkness, endless holiday parties—the perfect time for going to the gym and eating healthily! Said nobody ever.

Opportunities to gather with family and friends create the perfect storm for eating copious portions and packing on unnecessary weight. But colder weather and canapés don’t have to throw a wrench in your healthy ways. Get ahead of the game by practicing these seven habits to help boost your metabolism.

01. Make a conscious effort to rehydrate.

Sure, it’s easy to remember to hydrate in the hot months of summer, but remembering to hydrate when it is cold outside is equally, if not more, important. Consuming your recommended daily amount of water helps keep your metabolism functioning as it should. Not replenishing your liquids leads to fatigue, cramps, exhaustion, and a weakened immune system.

Have a tough time getting in your eight cups? Try one of these tricks.

02. Sip green tea.

Green tea is known to be full of health benefits, such as fighting cell damage and stress relief, but recent a study published by the Journal of Obesity shows that it can also boost metabolism. With its health benefits and warming comfort, a steaming cup of green tea on a chilly winter day is a total win-win.

03. Eat a warm breakfast.

When the weather turns colder, it is almost impossible to not hit snooze five times, and it can seem equally impossible to get up and eat a healthy breakfast. Yet breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, “Omitting breakfast can disrupt the distribution of daily energy intake, resulting in increased consumption of foods later in the day, including more snacking between meals.” If a bowl of fruit or cereal sounds too chilly to consume on a cold morning, try eating hot oatmeal or a fresh omelette to warm you up from the inside out.

04. Join a spin class.

It may seem utterly repulsive to bundle up and venture out into the frigid unknown, but you’ll be glad you did. But research in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal shows that bouts of vigorous exercise, such as riding a bike for forty-five minutes, increase metabolic rate for up to fourteen hours afterward. Taking a class at the gym also gives you a chance to get out of the house, which is sure to boost your mood when winter can leave you feeling trapped.

And if the weather is so bad that you can’t leave the house to exercise, try turning your home into your personal gym. Choose a free workout video to do in the middle of the day or before work. It just takes forty-five minutes of moderate physical activity to get your heart pumping and your metabolism running.

05. Stay in and watch a funny movie with friends.

Sounds pretty crazy, right? But it’s a completely legitimate option. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity concluded that genuine laughter causes a 10 to 20 percent increase in energy expenditure and heart rate, which means that just ten to fifteen minutes of laughter can burn an extra two to ten calories. So if you’ve been looking for an excuse to have a girls’ night in, boosting your metabolism with a rom-com can be the perfect reason. Text your besties, queue up a comedy on Netflix, and chuckle away! (But maybe go easy on the popcorn butter.)

06. Spice things up.

The next time you find yourself cooking protein or veggies, add a dash of cayenne pepper. Not only will it add flavor to a mundane meal, but it also has some hidden metabolic benefits. The heat from the cayenne pepper is thanks to a bioactive called capsaicin. Research from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows this bioactive is responsible for reducing energy intake, sustaining that feeling of being full, and suppressing hunger longer.

07. Sleep!

This might be the most important ingredient on this list. Not getting enough sleep can seriously slow your metabolism. A study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology notes, “Sleep is intricately connected to various hormonal and metabolic processes in the body and is important in maintaining metabolic homeostasis.” Sleep deprivation is linked to increased risk of obesity and diabetes. Take advantage of the extra hours of darkness this winter and try moving bedtime up an hour or a half hour. You will thank yourself for the extra z’s in the short and long term.

Start these seven steps to boost your metabolism now before the cold sets in, and you’ll emerge from this winter with no regrets.

Photo Credit: Corynne Olivia