It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless, of course, you’re trying to stay healthy or lose weight.
For some reason, winter has always been associated with weight gain, and not just for the animals that use the winter to hibernate.
It feels like every spring, people emerge from their wintery homes, wanting the sun and to drop a few extra pounds.
So, why does winter make people gain weight? And, more importantly, what can you do to keep off the winter pounds?
The Cold Weather
The first culprit for winter weight gain is actually something you have no control over: The weather. In the warmer months of the year, people are naturally more active. There’s swimming and picnics, vacations and bike rides.
It seems like all spring and summer, you’re moving. However, as summer slips away, breaks end, and things fall back into a routine, it becomes harder and harder to get active.
On top of this, the weather turns bad. For some, this means constant rain. For others, it’s piles and piles of snow.
Even the most dedicated runner or cycler can get discouraged when it’s impossible to exercise outside.
Before you curl up, contented that your winter weight gain can’t be controlled, the weather isn’t the only thing that can cause people to pack on the pounds.
As soon as the weather starts to turn cold, it seems that every store, coffee shop, and restaurant is filled with delicious goodies that are tempting those on strict meal plans to indulge.
Whether it’s a pumpkin spice latte or Christmas cookies, everything about the winter seems to involve food.
And this gets worse during the holidays, when family and friends get together to celebrate. After all, food is at the center of all good celebrations.
Finally, the third reason so many people gain weight during the winter is because the long, dark months can cause an increase in depression.
After days of rain or snow, early nights, and hardly any sun, many people begin to fall into deep melancholies. One of the most common ways of treating melancholia is to eat, especially foods that are high in sugars and salts.
Eating all those unhealthy foods, added to the lack of exercise, can result in quite a bit of weight gain during the winter months.
Ways to Keep Your Weight Under Control During Winter
There are a few easy ways to keep your weight loss goals on track during the winter.
The first thing you can do is find a way to stay active, even during the dark, cold days of winter.
If you can’t get outside, try to find an indoor version of your favorite exercise. If you really can’t find the inspiration to get yourself to the gym every week, consider taking a few classes.
When you’ve dedicated yourself to a class, you’ll be less likely to skip out on a day.
And, you might make a few new friends in your exercise class, which will help combat any winter sadness.
Another way to keep the pounds off during the winter is to be smart about what you eat.
It isn’t Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner that will cause you to gain a bunch of weight, it’s all the snacking and drinking done throughout the winter.
You should allow yourself to indulge every now and then, but be very careful about portion control. Instead of a whole donut, cut it into quarters so you can still taste it, but not eat too much.
Opt for a tall pumpkin spice latte instead of the venti. Just ask for an extra shot of espresso if you need the energy.