Believe it or not, winter weight gain is a very real phenomena. 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 gain weight during winter. Unfortunately, not all of this extra weight is lost in the following summer.
Although it obviously varies from person to person, surveys show that the average weight gain in winter is anything between 5 to 7 pounds. So how can you avoid winter weight gain and stop those unwanted pounds piling on?
What Causes Winter Weight Gain?
Firstly, why do people gain weight in the winter? There are many reasons and here are some of the common ones.
1. You Stop Exercising
First and foremost, 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 or even the snow.
2. Fruits and Vegetables Taste Different
A lot of people don’t like out of season fruits and vegetables as the taste can be slightly different. Zucchini, tomatoes and various kinds of berries just aren’t as appealing as they are when picked during the spring and summer months. As a result, people load up on unhealthy foods instead.
3. You Eat More Carbohydrates
It’s not unusual for your carbohydrate consumption to increase. 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 (from serotonin release), but ultimately results 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. In other words, too many blankets at night can contribute to weight gain.
5. It’s Natural
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. More fat means more protection from the cold and more stored nutrients that the body can use if food is hard to find in the winter months. Our bodies don’t know that we can simply buy warm winter clothing and food we need it from a local store, no matter what the weather is like outsideFree Report: Top 5 Exercise Mistakes
How Can You Avoid Winter Weight Gain?
1. Make An Exercise Plan
If you want to beat winter weight gain, set an exercise plan in motion. It could be an entirely home-based exercise plan or getting involved in more exercise classes with other people. Try to predict any objections you might have in the future (it’s cold, the gym is far, etc.) and come up with solutions for them beforehand.
2. Plan 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. Choose whole grains and starchy vegetables over sugar and refined carb foods. The fiber in brown rice, whole grain bread, pumpkin, etc helps to slow down the absorption and keep your blood sugar stable. Be careful not to eat too many avoidable fats. Don’t spread butter thickly all over that whole grain bread or cover your whole grain pasta in a cheese sauce. Choose low fat dairy products and use them sparingly.
3. Everything In Moderation
Finally, don’t overdo it on the holiday meals. The triple whammy of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year can really wreak havoc on your waistline. Do enjoy your meal and eat until you’re full – but no more. Don’t stuff yourself just because it’s the holidays. If you do eat too much at one meal, just leave it at that. Make the next meal better.
How To Lose Weight In Winter
Winter weight gain is a very real phenomenon. Fortunately, proper exercise and nutrition can still help you prevent weight gain and possibly even lose some weight. In your desire to lose weight, your exercise routine may actually be hindering your weight loss efforts. There are certain mistakes that are easy to make which can keep you from losing weight and even cause you to gain weight! Download this free checklist that reveals 5 exercise mistakes which slow down your weight loss, and you’ll soon be able to hit your target weight much quicker.