I have lived in some very cold and snowy parts of the country – Utah and Minnesota in particular. So I have some experience with winter! Hoping now that I live in Nashville, the winter won’t be so bad. Still, the shorter days, colder temps, and comfort food from the holidays can make it difficult to not pack on a little extra weight during the winter months.
Possible causes for cold weather weight gain include cooler temperatures, which means no more swimsuits, tank tops, and shorts but instead snuggling up in sweatpants, sweaters, and blankets. Colder weather may lead to less exercise, especially if someone typically exercises outside. And fall/winter is a time for comfort foods such as sweet potato or pumpkin pie, casseroles, chilis, soups, etc. Additionally, increases in melatonin (a hormone produced when it’s dark outside to help you sleep) during the winter months causes your brain to be less alert (aka you want to cuddle in bed and sleep more!).
(Winter was beautiful in Utah!)
Healthy Tips to Avoid Autumn/Winter Weight Gain:
- Maintain your exercise regimen and plan ahead for those cold/wintery days where you may be unable to go outside
- Sign up for a spring race – this requires you to train during the winter
- Find a partner or group to workout with for motivation and accountability
- Try outdoor winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, if possible
- Drink lots of water – rule of thumb: half your body weight in ounces of water per day
- Enjoy fall comfort foods in moderation
- Search the Internet (Pinterest, for example) for healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods
- Try your favorite fall flavors (pumpkin spice!) in healthier items such as Chobani greek yogurt or oatmeal versus fall flavored candies
- Make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep (ideally 7-9 hours) so you are alert and energized during the day and more likely to exercise
How do you stay active during the cold months? Do you continue to run outside or do you move indoors to the track/treadmilll?