There was a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine that found that people who lived in the colder parts of the country gained weight in the winter, and not all lost it again during the warmer months.
Why winter weight gain might happen:
- It’s cold outside so we tend to stay indoors and stop exercising. Going to the gym is an option, but we don’t all like driving in the winter. Even driving in the cold is something we tend to avoid.
- Fruits and vegetables aren’t in season. Zucchini, tomatoes and berries just don’t taste as good as when they are fresh in the summer. Instead of looking for ways to find more fruits and veggies, we tend to grab the unhealthy foods.
- Carbs as a comfort food. Studies have found that people tend to consume more carbs in the winter. Carbohydrates can help reduce stress and give a short-term feeling of well-being.
- You might not be sleeping as well in the winter. When it’s cold we tend to pile on the blankets, making us too warm at night.
- Animals hibernate, maybe we share some of the same traits. Doctors actually think winter weight gain may be a natural response to the cold weather!
Now, what can we do about winter weight gain?
- The first thing you can do is set up an exercise plan. You can choose exercises you can do inside, or you can incorporate the outdoors too. Things like skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and even sledding are great ways to burn calories while enjoying the winter weather.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. This will make sure you are eating healthy meals instead of spontaneously grabbing junk food.
- Make sure you are careful about holiday eating. When you are at Christmas dinners don’t stuff yourself full. Eat slowly and when you are full, stop eating.
So, winter weight gain is REAL but there are things you can do about it! With proper diet and exercise you can avoid weight gain in the winter months, and maybe even lose a few pounds!