Be honest: what’s the real reason behind that big, baggy sweater you’ve been wearing all winter? Is it for extra heat or is it hiding extra pounds? No need to be ashamed – you’re not alone. A study of 315 people found that they consumed an average of 222 more calories per day during fall and winter, compared to spring. The reason? It goes way beyond all the extra cookies on offer.
Reason 1: More fat = more warmth
Scientists believe that our bodies are genetically predisposed to fatten up at this time of year – a survival method to keep us warm and also in case there is a shortage of food as the winter gets worse. Valid excuse? We don’t think so. Nowadays the temperature in our environment is normally heated and stable. Plus, you don’t need to worry about a shortage of food. The majority of us don’t hunt our meals anymore – so tell your body to pipe down and stay in control of how much you consume
Reason 2: You’re getting dehydrated
Believe it or not, you actually sweat as much in winter as you do during other seasons like summer or spring. Due to things like the dry heat of radiators and all those extra layers we throw on, our bodies can easily become dehydrated. As the body’s response to dehydration is often confused with feelings of hunger.
Reason 3: You’re feeling SAD
Winter can cause doldrums or even more severe, a seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s a type of depression that typically affects people over this cold, dark and nasty time. Symptoms can be profound sadness, irritability, lack of interest in social activities, inability to concentrate and extreme fatigue. This is known to lead to craving more high-calorie comfort foods to make you feel better and improve your mood. It can also leave you feeling lazy and neglecting your training.
Reason 4: But of course the Christmas cookies still play a role
We’ve already mentioned that the average American will gain between 1 ½ to 2 ½ kg’s from Thanksgiving to New Year. It’s the season of good food and nothing is harder than avoiding the many unhealthy choices – be it in the office, at the Christmas market or at your family get together. We know that all these sweet treats make Christmas something special but still, don’t let it be an excuse. Find ways around your overeating habits by sticking to sugar-free treats, choosing healthy foods likely to fill you up and sparing a thought to your digestive system before you reach for round 2.
Don’t get stressed about it…
Everyone loves Christmas, but we can’t deny that it’s stressful. So many “to-do’s” and hardly any time to unwind, make the end of the year a ticking time bomb. And stress never comes alone – emotional eating soothes our nerves and stops the time for a split second. Triggered by your own emotions and increased stress hormones, hunger hits hard and because it’s winter, you’re likely to eat even more when it does. But don’t forget that the best way to combat stress is sports and staying on top of your health.