Winter weight gain sometimes feels unavoidable, especially during the holiday season. The colder, shorter days means it's harder to stay active outdoors. But is it actually harder to lose weight in the wintertime?
Some of it is biological and emotional
Some factors contribute to people experiencing difficulties losing weight during the winter. Most are less active, and many crave carbohydrates.
There are also biological factors at play. In the winter, your body produces more melatonin, which is a hormone that signals your body to sleep more. Since there are fewer hours of daylight, melatonin levels tend to increase. There is less exposure to vitamin D from sunlight. Lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage.
What's more, winter is a stressful time for a lot of people. That's where emotional eating comes into the equation, contributing to weight gain.
But you can still lose weight
Rest assured you can still lose weight during the wintertime. All you need to do is stay active and keep your hunger level in check. Follow these expert tips:
- Try new indoor workouts. Hot yoga and indoor rock climbing are both ways to move around and stay warm. Use winter as an excuse to stay active and try out new activities.
- Use an activity tracker. If you can't get a formal workout in, then make sure you log at least 10,000 steps per day.
- Partake in the holiday fun. Caroling and ice skating are all holiday activities that don't involve food, and that will help you to burn calories.
- Eat more protein. It helps you to stay fuller for longer and stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Drink more water. Research suggests that a lot of people are chronically dehydrated. As a result, many mistake thirst for hunger.
- Eat complex carbs. Consume healthy carbs, such as beans, dairy, and vegetables. Save pasta and bread for after working out, when your body can use them.
- Don't skip meals. Whatever you do, don't ever skip meals. Eat normally throughout the day, so you don't end up binge eating.
Is it harder to lose weight in the wintertime?
The answer? Yes and no. While certain factors make losing weight in the wintertime a bit more challenging, you can still shed some pounds by staying active and adjusting your diet. It might take some willpower, but you can do it!