Just about everyone gains a pound or two during the winter- but do you have to? Is winter weight gain really an evolutionary predisposition? The truth is: yes. Winter weight gain is totally normal but there are ways to get around it and plenty of misconceptions about what it is and why it happens.
Fact: Your cravings for fatty foods increase.
Your cravings and hunger level don’t increase but the types of food your body wants does. Compared to spring and summer, people are much more likely to go for fatty and calorie dense foods.
Fiction: The weight gain is noticeable.
From friends and family you might hear a range of numbers from 4 pounds to 10. The research suggests that the average winter weight gain is only one pound. A single pound (or nearly half a kilo). Unless you obsess over the scale, or are on the scarily underweight side, no one will really know that you’ve gained any weight.
As long as you pay attention and don’t let yourself overindulge and use nature as an excuse winter shouldn’t pose any real threat to your diet.
Fact: It’s all about the weather.
Winter weight is the result of your response to colder temperatures and shorter days. Less time outside can decrease activity, gloomy weather can put you in a bad mood and the cold will make you crave greasy pizza and anything covered in frosting. All that adds up to be the perfect combination for weight gain.
Fiction: If it’s only 1 pound I don’t have to care.
One pound on it’s own won’t make much of a difference, true. A pound or so every year over a decade is a little harder to lose. Not to mention how much harder it is to lose weight once you get older.
A little vigilance and knowledge now can pay off later. Your future self will thank you.
Fact: Shorter days and gloomy weather can make you eat more.
The darker it gets the more the weather can impact your mood. Not only that but the less sun exposure you get the less vitamin D your body can take in. Staying covered up outdoors is a good way to stay warm (and avoid frostbite) but it can lead to serious vitamin D deficiency.
Not getting enough vitamin D can lead to depression or ennui. Poor mood can lead to emotional eating. That combined with the winter predisposition to stock up on calories can be a lot harder to ignore.
Getting 20 minutes of time outside with your forearms uncovered if enough to solve the problem naturally. If it’s far too cold you might consider supplements.
Fiction: Gaining winter weight is inevitable.
Now that you know why you gain winter weight you know how to avoid it, too. Make sure you stay active. Taking a walk and trying to get some vitamin D might be the best way to do it.
When you feel a craving you might be legitimately hungry- eating is fine. Just think about what you’re about to eat first. A food diary is never a bad idea. Make sure you prioritize healthy, nutrient dense foods and keep an eye on your indulgences.