4 Ways You Gain Weight in Winter (i.e., It’s Not All Your Fault)

4 Ways You Gain Weight in Winter (i.e., It’s Not All Your Fault)

It’s so easy to put on some extra pounds in winter. Is it the cheese over the holidays and the lure of yet another eggnog latte that does it, or is it simply something natural that happens when the temperatures plummet?

Maybe our inner ice age sensors feel it. They know that longer, darker times lie ahead and, doing us a favor, want our fat reserves to be ready as soon as the winter wind starts to blow. Or, maybe it’s just me who eats too many chips.

Anyways, here’s our list: 4 things that make it easy to pack on the pounds in winter.

1) SAD and Your Circadian Rhythms

If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), your melatonin levels could be affected. This means you sleep patterns could be slightly off in winter. The result? Bad rest can lead to additional weight gain, as your body feels more stressed and increases your appetite.

Related: 5 Super Foods for a Cold Winter’s Day

2) A General Lack of Sun

Cold winter days can lead to weight gain.

Ok, this doesn’t apply to if you live someplace like Texas, (obviously). But if you’re stuck up near Minnesota for the winter, you know how permanent that cold, gray sky can be: very.

And scientists are saying that it has an effect. Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, (where they definitely know all about living in the cold), have discovered that the fat cells located just beneath human skin shrink when they’re exposed to the sun. These cells release some fat and end up holding less of it, when you’re in warm, sunny climates.

Scientists think this process may help you regulate your body weight. Does a tanning bed do the same thing? Apparently, not. The intense light of the sun is needed.

Time for that trip to Cancun.

Related: Why You Should Spend More Time Outdoors, Even in Winter

3) Comfort Foods

Many of us turn to foods that help us feel better when we’re down and out. It’s a bad crutch to wield, relying on food for comfort, but it happens. And if you are someone who munches on Doritos in times of need, you could be more likely to do so during the colder months.

Why? Feeling down and depressed can happen more often when it’s cold and dark outside. Go figure. Try breaking this connection and find other ways (like sitting in a sauna) to lift your spirits.

4) Avoiding the Outdoors

Too cold outside? I think I’ll drive. This is a common thought pattern for many of us on a cold winter’s day, making it much easier to get far less exercise in winter than you do during warmer months.

It takes more motivation and time to actually get out there when it’s snowy and freezing.

Because of this, many of us skip walking to the store and just grab the car keys and go. Which can lead to weight gain, when done repeatedly. For something different, join a gym (with a good heating system).

Photo credits: VIGO-S/Shutterstock.com; sema srinouljan/Shutterstock.com

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