Winter Weight Gain: What It Is and How to Avoid It
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a significant number of people who live in colder parts of the country tend to gain weight during winter. This data, along with other research, validates that “winter weight gain” is a very real phenomena.
So the Question is: Why Does Winter Weight Gain Happen?
There are many reasons that people might gain weight in winter. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. People stop exercising in winter. It’s cold outside, so going for a jog doesn’t seem too appealing. Even heading to the gym might seem like more effort simply because you have to drive through the cold.
2. Many people don’t like out of season fruits and vegetables and as a result, people load up on unhealthy foods instead.
3. Carbohydrate consumption spikes. Researchers have found that in the winter months, people will often turn to carbs as a comfort food. Carbohydrates can help reduce stress and give a temporary sense of well-being, but ultimately result in excess weight gain.
4. You could be too warm at night. People often combat the cold by burrowing under comforters and blankets. Unfortunately, being too warm at night actually reduces your sleep. Researchers have linked poor sleep and lack of sleep with weight gain.
5. Some doctors actually think it’s natural. Much like bears and other hibernating animals, some doctors believe that we simply evolved to store more fat and thus retain more heat in the winter months.
What Can You Do about It?
First, put a exercise plan in motion. It could be an entirely home-based plan, or it could involve going outdoors. Try to predict any objections you might have in the future and come up with solutions for them beforehand.
Start planning your meals. Instead of spontaneously eating whatever’s around, be deliberate about what you cook and what you eat. A lot of winter weight gain happens because what you spontaneously want to eat changes.
Finally, don’t overdo it on the holiday meals. Enjoy your meal and eat till you’re full – but not one bite more. Don’t stuff yourself just because it’s the holidays.
Winter weight gain is a very real phenomenon. Fortunately, proper exercise and nutrition can help you prevent weight gain and possibly even lose some weight!!