Studies show that people tend to eat an average of at least 200 extra calories a day in the fall and winter months. Although small, that calorie intake can lead to gaining several pounds quickly. This can be due to our body “saving up” for the winter. However, it’s more likely that there are more dinners, parties and events during the holiday seasons to eat at, so people indulge. Even with a busy holiday season, you don’t have to gain a bunch of weight. Use these tips to keep your diet goals through fall and winter so you stay the size you want!
Do you find yourself gaining a few pounds here and there over Christmas or during fall and winter in general? Your eyes do not deceive you, as this is something that commonly happens with people in the winter months. Is it science or are you eating more than normal? It is actually a combination of both of these that lead to extra weight gain in the fall and winter months.
There are many factors that contribute to winter weight gain. The days become shorter and it starts to get darker earlier. Because the light fades quicker, your body is exposed to fewer daylight hours and it starts to produce more melatonin with fading light. That melatonin is a hormone that starts to signal sleepiness. If you feel sluggish with even the thought of exercising or going outside, it may actually be a hormonal response.
The fall and winter months are full of some of the best holidays as well. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day and all the holidays in between (like Hanukkah, Ramadan, etc.) are full of parties, dinners and treats. You may be indulging at every event, even if there are multiple a week. Studies show that in the wintertime alone, most people eat at least 200 extra calories a day. That may be our body’s response to the cold, and we feel a need to store up food for the winter, just like animals do that go into hibernation. Add in holiday gatherings, and you might be getting many more than just 200 calories each day.
You can combat the bulge by being mindful of how your body looks, feels and how much you are staying active. It is very common for people to stay indoors during the colder months. It’s part of the reason so many people start to get the flu and various colds. More people are packed inside, spreading viruses in the air. Don’t let the indoors stop you from exercising! You can always do HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) indoors with a few simple dumbbells and your body weight. See if your apartment complex has an exercise building or if there is a gym fairly close to your house.
The American Heart Association recommends that every person get at least 150 minutes of exercise in each week. That is about 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. They didn’t say, “only in the summer”, meaning the recommendation is for the entire year. Those who exercise and keep their body active will experience fewer illnesses, chronic conditions, weight gain and muscle atrophy.
Exercise is a natural way to boost your energy for the entire day and is a way for you to maintain your figure no matter how many holiday parties you attend. Many patients struggle with the right form of exercise for their body, age, diet goals or how to work around chronic ailments and conditions. Getting professional help in-office and receiving customized exercises for the home can help you achieve your diet goals and the level of health you want.
You can exercise every single day for hours at a time, but if you’re not eating well, you still won’t see the body you envisioned. Why? Because your body runs on the fuel you feed it. If that fuel is processed, nutrient poor foods and treats loaded up with sugar. Your weight can be determined by as much as 70 or 80% of what you’re eating, depending on the person. Plus, if you aren’t getting specific nutrients, you may not only struggle with weight gain, but chronic conditions like fatigue, daily headaches or migraines, body aches and pains, and more. Get a nutritional assessment and then follow our diet counseling so you can get good nutrition and achieve your weight goals, while still enjoying your winter.
Want to avoid that extra holiday bulge? Try:
Diet and exercise is nothing new to us and many others. In fact, in the United States alone, an estimated 46 million people are actively dieting each year. That doesn’t count the millions of others who have tried to diet and exercise in years past. Most people have tried to get in shape or to eat better. This can be especially difficult during the fall and winter when it’s cold out and hard to exercise in the snow. You don’t have to miss out on a great diet or fulfilling exercise just because of the cold. Stay healthy and rock your diet goals during the winter with our help by calling Back2Health at (843) 405-0025!