Winter is here, and here begins the mystery of weight gain. According to a study carried out by the Johns Hopkins University, people tend to gain five to seven pounds on an average in the winter season! Turns out, the “mystery” is not really a mystery for we have compiled a list of reasons why one may be experiencing tighter jeans or a flabby tummy.
- According to a study conducted by the University of Colorado, in winter months the production of Adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase (ATLPL), a chemical promoting fat storage, is almost double the normal rate. Although the reasons behind this phenomenon are still unclear, you can still avoid fat accumulation with regular exercise which helps increase skeletal muscle lipoprotein lipase (SMLPL), the muscle enzyme responsible for accelerating fat burn.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Winter triggers SAD in some people, which is usually characterized by depression and anxiety. Symptoms may include irritability, sadness, increased cravings for carbohydrates, lack of motivation to do any kind of work, reduced concentration levels, extreme fatigue and more need for sleep. This disorder is typically more common amongst people living in Northern climates.
When experiencing SAD, many people tend to skip healthy meals and replace them with unhealthy junk food, miss out on workout routines and slack off in general, all of which slow down the body’s pace of burning fat and may also be linked to the increased levels of ATLPL.
- Less physical activity in general. Icy streets and cold harsh weather can cause you to lose motivation when it comes to activities, especially outdoor. Instead of hibernating, go out and find some activities best suited for winter which may include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Hitting the gym is a good way to shed some pounds without going out in the open. Even if you are not into formal exercise practices, daily chores such as shoveling snow, building a snowman, or just taking a brisk walk outside will effectively help you burn calories.
- Holiday Meals and Drinking: Winters for most mean Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, all of which translates to heavy, sweet and unhealthy goodies. The season brings an influx of family parties and other events that are fueled with tons of eating and drinking. When it comes to food and drink, the best way is to prepare in advance. Avoid going to parties on an empty stomach and mostly snack on healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables.
Similarly, avoid excess alcohol consumption and other unhealthy drinks, like sodas and artificial fruit juices. An ideal solution to this would be to always keep sipping on water to avoid over drinking and also overeating.
To prevent gaining extra over the winters, try to indulge in healthy eating habits, exercise regularly, keep the body hydrated and get enough rest so you do not end up compromising your exercise routine or skip out on meals because you are too tired to eat.