winter weight gain

While this isn’t necessarily true for everyone, there is certainly a general consensus that some time between Halloween and Valentine’s Day, it becomes surprisingly easy to pack on the pounds.

Why this may be certainly has to do with all the holidays and gatherings going on between these times, but could the weather have something to do with it, too?

Do you ever feel hungrier during the winter months, or find it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight when it’s cold outside? There may actually be a reason you’re eating more than usual during these colder months.

Effects on Hunger

While you may or may not increase your calorie intake when it’s cold outside, you might notice a change in your appetite. A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that people who were physically active in colder temperatures reported being hungrier than adults who were active in warmer temps. A review published in 2014 in the International Journal of Biometeorology also reports that cold weather appears to lower satiety and stimulate appetite.

Why this Occurs

There are several reasons cold weather may make you hungrier. The 2014 review in the International Journal of Biometeorology reports that frigid temps appear to affect hormones that regulate hunger, like cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, and thyroid hormone. Furthermore, your body might burn additional calories during very cold weather, which can boost hunger. The American Council on Exercise notes that if you’re cold and shivering, your body’s caloric expenditure increases and you can burn an extra 400 calories per hour — and feel fatigued afterward. So, shivering a lot might boost hunger.

How to Avoid Unwanted Weight Gain

While you may feel hungrier in the winter and don’t have to worry about being swimsuit-season ready, there are ways to avoid gaining weight during colder months.

  1. You should drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before meals to avoid overeating at meal time. Here are some general guidelines on how much you should really be drinking.
  2. Focus on lean protein foods like grilled chicken, seafood, egg whites, legumes, and low-fat yogurt and milk — and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, and peppers.
  3. Choose whole grains over white bread, white rice, and regular pasta.
  4. Cut out sugary drinks and limit sweets and added sugars as much as possible.
  5. Finally, continue to exercise regularly most days of the week to keep your calorie expenditure high.

If you follow these tips while making sure to balance your healthy lifestyle with your social activities during the busy holiday season, you should be able to stay healthy year-round!

In addition, it should be noted that cold weather isn’t all bad news. Besides finally being able to wear your favorite outerwear, there are plenty more benefits to cold weather than you think.

For more Advice, check out our articles here.

What are your thoughts on winter weight? Is this something you have experienced?

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