If you are trying to shed a few pounds you may discover that losing weight in winter is more challenging than at any other time of the year. Many are affected by winter weight gain, especially if they live in countries that experience cold winters.
It’s not uncommon to gain a little weight when the weather starts to turn colder. Even though it will differ for each person, studies show that the average winter weight gain is usually somewhere around 5 to 7 pounds…
What Are The Reasons For Winter Weight Gain?
The first reason for the winter weight gain is actually biological. Genetically we are designed to store more fat as winter approaches just like most animals do. Basically, more fat means more protection from the cold and more stored nutrients that the body can use if food is hard to find. Our bodies don’t know that we can just buy warm clothes and extra food, regardless of what the weather is like.
There was always a good deal of food after summer in primitive communities, when nuts, fruits and grains were ready to eat. It is no surprise that we feel hungrier at this time and crave ‘warming’ high carbohydrate foods that can easily be converted to fat and stored ready for the late winter and spring when plant-based foods are hard to find.
The second element for winter weight gain are our hormonal changes caused by the shorter days. Less exposure to natural light can cause depression and low energy, sometimes referred to as Seasonally Affected Depression (SAD). Most people who are overweight tend to eat more when they feel low. Also, when we feel tired, we tend to turn to refined carbohydrate foods like chips, chocolate, cake or white bread for a fast energy boost. These foods cause blood sugar swings that lead to more lows and cravings.
How to Prevent Weight Gain In Winter?
Knowing all of this makes it much easier to avoid winter weight gain. We have a natural tendency to eat more and to eat the wrong foods at this time of year. We cannot expect to continually fight our biological need, but we can be careful what foods we choose.
If you eat high carbohydrate foods in the winter months, and you are not on a low carb diet, 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.
You can also avoid winter weight gain by not eating any avoidable fats. Don’t spread butter thickly all over that whole grain bread or pumpkin, or cover your whole grain pasta in a cheese sauce. Choose low fat dairy products and use a minimum amount.
Also, one of the key winter weight loss tips is to keep exercising. Primitive folk would have not have had much exercise in the cold winters, but we don’t have to be dependent on outdoor activities for our fitness. We can go to the gym or keep a stationary bike in the spare room or garage. That way, even if we do eat a bit extra, we don’t have to let it affect our weight.