Hibernating & Gaining Weight In Winter

Hibernating & Gaining Weight In Winter
December 18, 2013 Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Photo by A. Hammond

I’ve been hearing from a lot of people feeling uncomfortable with winter weight gain, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

There are some things to keep in mind as to why this happens, some ways to avoid it, and also making sure we have the right attitude towards a few pounds.

First of all, know that it’s totally ok to have your weight fluctuate up or down a few pounds over the course of a day, and from summer to winter there might be a bit more of a fluctuation.

Depending on the time of day you weigh yourself, you can have water and food in your system that can shift your weight up to 5 pounds.

There’s no real health impact to being up or down a few pounds, unless you’re already significantly under- or overweight.

Try taking a real look at yourself and figure out if you’re worried about weight for health or for aesthetic reasons.

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There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a certain weight for looks, but make sure it’s a healthy weight and not an unrealistic model-type weight.

Ok, know that I’ve gotten that out of my system, we can talk about why we tend to gain weight in the winter and how we can overcome it.

Why We Gain Winter Weight

There are 3 basic reasons we gain weight in winter: eating more, exercising less and our metabolism being slightly off.

Those are really the 3 basic reasons we gain weight at any time, but winter impacts those in a specific way.

For myself, I tend to eat a bit more during the winter simply because I’m inside more. During the summer, I’m out a lot and don’t have as much time to sit around.

I also sometimes eat more in the winter to keep myself warm, or to feel cozy with certain comfort foods even when I’m not actually hungry.

I try to keep running through the winter, but sometimes it gets too icy or the air gets too cold on my throat, and with less daylight hours my exercise level generally drops off a bit in the winter.

The thyroid gland, which regulates our metabolism, is affected by the change in temperature so it may shift a bit without any other reason when summer turns to fall and fall to winter.

Strategies To Avoid Winter Weight Gain

I try to drink a lot of tea through the winter while I’m working. It keeps me hydrated and warm, and I get lots of fun flavors (chai, fruity, hibiscus, cocoa shells, etc) so that tea is my treat.

Indoor exercise is totally doable. I like to do yoga or indoor cardio or bodyweight exercises – all things that I can do anywhere with no equipment. All it takes is motivation!

What I want to come back to is that a few pounds up or down aren’t anything to be too concerned about.

Enjoy your holidays, have wonderful meals with your friends and family and be compassionate to yourself.

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