I gain weight every winter. Why is this happening and what to do about it?

We understand what the reason is and is there a way to avoid this repeating scenario.

Why do we gain weight in winter

Holidays, mean an abundance of food on the table. Christmas, New Year and just weekends with various festivities – in winter, holidays follow one another. And how many temptations! Savory and sweet delicacies, salads generously seasoned with mayonnaise, fried foods, varied desserts but also mulled wine and champagne, well, how can you resist? The extra calories we consume these days can quickly turn into extra pounds.

In winter, we move less and stay home more often. When it’s cold and uncomfortable outside, more and more people want to stay home and spend the evening bundled up in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. Or order a pizza to go. Missed workouts are also increasingly common – sleet, rain, snow or ice don’t cause a strong urge to go for a run or ride a bike.

In winter, we consume more calories. According to research, the desire to eat more during the winter months is hardwired into our biology. The natural tendency to overeat in winter is due to the fact that there was much less food in the cold season, which caused our body to store fat reserves for a rainy day. In the past, being overweight was not a serious threat to survival compared to the dangers of being underweight.

Although there is now enough food at all times of the year, in winter people eat an average of 100 calories more per day than in spring.

In addition, the consumption of saturated fats increases.

Winter depression. The gloomy weather and lack of sunshine during the cold season also encourage us to consume more junk foods and sugary foods to improve our mood. True, the effect is usually short-lived, but the habit of taking an extra candy for tea remains.

It’s such a disappointing combo that it seems like everyone is against us, including mother nature. But do not rush to give up, there are several ways to deal with the situation.

We make a balanced diet

Balance your diet in terms of protein, fat and carbohydrates – the right combination of these will help prevent overeating and increase feelings of fullness.

eat protein (eggs, chicken, fish, hard cheese, tofu, legumes) with every meal and snack to control appetite.

Use good fats – it helps to increase the feeling of satiety and gives a rich taste to dishes. Bet on extra virgin olive oil, avocado, sesame paste, nuts and raw seeds.

Add fiber-rich foods to your diet: it’s important for optimal bowel function – just what we need when we’re less active and want to eat more in the winter. Most fiber in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

But with carbs (especially fast carbs) you have to be more careful. It is the excessive consumption of carbohydrates that often causes the numbers on the scale to increase. Take a critical bite out of this delicious cream pasta and chocolate cake. Alcohol is also best to minimize: drinks containing carbohydrates and sugar contribute to weight gain.

If you suddenly went wild and accidentally ate a whole chocolate bar for tea and a pleasant conversation, do not force the body with fasting days – this is additional stress. Just keep eating healthy the next day.

Loan at home

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time and inclination to have fun in the kitchen and cook delicious and healthy meals. But it makes sense: Studies have shown that those of us who prefer to cook at home consume fewer calories (as well as fat and sugar) than those who eat out.

By cooking your own food, you can see what’s in the ingredients, make healthier choices, and control portion sizes. How about an argument to start taking home-cooked lunches to the office?

Hydration tracking

Did you know that dehydration is the main cause of lack of energy and fatigue? When we’re tired, we’re much less likely to exercise, which improves our mood and helps maintain our weight. Moreover, we often confuse the sensations of hunger and thirst and confuse one with the other.

There is evidence of an association between insufficient hydration and an increase in body mass index, and between insufficient hydration and the occurrence of obesity.

Water can be easily forgotten in the cooler months as we sweat less and move less, but drinking enough water is important in winter as well as summer. Drink your water daily to boost your metabolism and control your appetite.

Don’t forget the training

There are many types of exercise that can help you avoid seasonal weight gain. No matter what type of physical activity you choose, research shows that regular exercise, combined with a healthy diet, not only helps prevent weight gain, but also helps keep it off for the long term.

Here are the three main elements of a successful training:

  • Variety: Vary the types of exercises you do during the week. Add strength training with weights and stretching exercises to your regular run.
  • Pleasure: for more inspiration, do sports that you genuinely love. An interesting study has confirmed that the pleasure of exercise accelerates weight loss.
  • Regularity: consistency in training helps prevent weight gain in winter. One study found that participants who exercised for around 60 minutes a day were more successful at losing weight. You don’t have to exercise to exhaustion, just move more throughout the day and make exercise your new healthy habit.

let’s get some sleep

It has been scientifically proven that people who do not get enough sleep tend to gain weight. Lack of sleep causes malfunctions in the work of the so-called “hunger hormones” – leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin is a satiety hormone and decreases with lack of sleep, so you’re more likely to eat more than usual the next day. Conversely, ghrelin is a hunger hormone, its secretion increases with lack of sleep, which also increases appetite when you sleep poorly and little.

No matter how late you feel like watching a series or getting carried away with reading an interesting book, it’s better to go to bed on time and get a good night’s sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, athletes usually sleep more – 8-10 hours.

Avoid stress

Much has been written about the dangers of cortisol, and when it comes to losing weight, it’s still our enemy. When we experience physical or psychological stress, the body responds by producing cortisol, a hormone that raises blood pressure and blood sugar while suppressing the immune system. It also stimulates the appetite.

Additionally, research has shown that metabolic rate decreases with stress. Participants who reported one or more stressors encountered during the day burned 104 fewer calories than participants who were not stressed. 104 calories, of course, is not a terrible amount, but if stress is constantly repeated, the effect will be cumulative.

And that’s not all: chronic stress and high cortisol levels have been proven to contribute to future weight gain. Many people experience high stress levels during the winter season, which means increased cortisol levels and a tendency to be overweight.

Therefore, the advice here is universal – avoid stress as much as possible.

Meditate

The regular practice of meditation brings great benefits to mental and physical health. Meditation helps reduce anxiety and overcome insomnia, lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks.

However, it has been shown that meditation can also help with weight loss and weight maintenance: the experiment showed that overweight participants who practiced mindfulness meditation experienced a significant improvement in their eating behavior, as well as greater weight loss compared to the control group.

Although this is a new area of ​​research, the ability to meditate is valuable on its own, for example in combating the aforementioned stress. So why not try?