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Winter Weight Gain

Why Does It Happen And What Can We Do?

Winter weight gain is a common amongst many people. It looks like that every winter we add a few pounds, and in the summer season we don't lose them all again. A few pounds always stick around, making us a little heavier every year. it seems to be very hard to lose extra pounds! Why does that happen and what can we do?

There are many contributing elements. First, it seems like that people have a genetic disposition to store more fat in the cold season. Many animals do this and it was probably of importance to survival for our ancestors. Extra layers of fat on the body protect people against the cold and then can be used as a source of energy in the late winter and early spring when food stocks would historically be very low. We probably have a tendency to eat more in the fall, when food is abundant after harvest time, to help this process along. We may also unconsciously choose foods that are higher in fat content at this time, things changed in modern times but looks like the genes are still working as they used to in the past.

Hormone levels can also influence our extra added weight. The interaction of hormones and other chemicals in the brain can bring about variations in cravings and appetite. Some neurotransmitters can also influence the way we eat. People who are overweight usually have low levels of these neurotransmitters and the results can include excessive appetite, depression and sleep disorders. At the same time, the decrease of daylight caused by the short days during late fall and winter can bring on seasonally affected disorders or winter depression. One of the quickest ways to give a boost to the energy levels and emotions is to eat foods high in carbohydrate including sugar treats, chips and cereals that give us a fast blood sugar 'fix'. So people who feel low in the winter will tend to overeat or eat the wrong foods, which leads to few more pounds add to our body weight, more depression and a vicious cycle that is hard to break.

So altogether there are many reasons why we eat more high carbohydrate foods such as cookies, pies and chocolate in the winter, and of course most of these foods also contain high levels of fats. The best way to handle this is generally to substitute other foods that are also high in carbohydrate so that we get what our body craves, but choose those with low fat content and plenty of fiber. This means potatoes, wholegrain bread without butter, wholegrain rice, cereals, and fresh whole fruit.

It is also important to do more exercise. Our physical activity levels usually drop in the winter and we have a tendency to want to stay home and have some rest. This is natural when it is cold outside. But we are not cavemen! We have heating in our homes and can be sure that there will still be plenty of food in the stores next March. We do not need to deposite fat the way that our ancestors did in the past. Sign up with a gym or get a stationary bike for the den. Transform those carbs into energy now instead of keeping it on the waistline until spring. Winter weight gain is easily avoidable this way.


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