31 May My top 5 reasons why YOU will put on weight this winter!
Tomorrow is the start of Winter in Melbourne, and unfortunately for most, it also means that start of the weight gain! But it doesn’t have to be this way. Read below my top 5 reasons WHY people put on weight during winter!
5 – Lower Natural Vitamin D Levels
Winter is the time of year, where we have less daylight hours! So much so, that there are people out there who leave for work in the dark and don’t get home until it is dark again! This results in very minimal or even no NATURAL SUNLIGHT hitting our skin. UV light on our skin is the greatest natural source of Vitamin D for our bodies.
Low vitamin D levels are proven to decrease your mood and general well-being, as well as lower your natural energy levels!
No wonder you just want to sit on the couch with a blanket during winter…
4 – Comfort Foods
With our decreased energy and mood, now comes a craving for a ‘pick me up’, things like sweet biscuits, cakes, or even an extra cup of coffee.
Winter also means colder weather and the yearning of warmth from food. Vast varieties of soups and stews are a winter staple, but are often accompanied by some crusty, delicious bread and even some butter!
This food makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but how much nutritional value are you actually getting? Any protein in there? How is your body dealing with the bread? Any bloating afterwards? All legitimate questions, yet it feels so right at the time…
Then, of course, we have the night-time urges, sitting on the couch with a hot cup of tea or coffee and the need for something, just a little bit nice, because, treat yourself, right? Lower mood levels leave us all vulnerable, with the ever-persistent TEMPTATION never far away!
3 – Decreased NEAT
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
NEAT is everything that we do in our day to day lives, that isn’t directly related to exercise. It could be walking from the car or train to work, walking pets, cleaning, picking up the kids, literally everything.
Now what happens to all of those little extra things when the colder months come around?
Plain and simply, In Winter, we move less!
Drive to work instead of public transport/walk.
Stay in for lunch at work instead of getting out and about.
Get home and it’s dark, so less walking pets or with family/friends.
There are endless amounts of small activities that, in isolation aren’t a big deal, but when we reduce so many of them, it does have an effect!
2 – Extra Clothing
Believe it or not, I think one of the BIGGEST reasons people put on weight during winter, is because they can hide behind clothing!
I truly believe, that if people were forced to either be naked or in underwear, they would be less likely to put weight on!!
Think about it, if you knew you had to walk outside tomorrow in your underwear, would you really order those chips? Or really eat that chocolate? Would you really skip that gym session…?
1 – TDEE
Total Daily Energy Expenditure
So, this brings us to the number 1 reason as to why you will put on weight this winter, and that is a lower TDEE!
TDEE is the total amount of energy that you burn each day, from all the things you are doing in your life (Exercise, bodily functions, work etc. etc.)
As mentioned above, during winter, we are generally less active in our day to day lives, which means we are burning less energy.
So even if you eat the same foods and portions that you are used to eating, you could STILL PUT ON WEIGHT!
If we are burning less energy, yet consuming the same amount, then we are likely going to be in a calorie (energy) SURPLUS. When we provide the body with more energy than it needs, unfortunately we store that surplus, usually as fat!
There you have it!
So, what do we do now..?
Well now that we know all of these things, we can set out a plan to counteract the environmental changes, here are a few suggestions:
- Make a concerted effort to get as much natural sunlight as possible
- Minimise the comfort foods, don’t buy them, or only buy small amounts and have 1 treat night (not a full blowout!)
- Remain as active as possible during your day, go for walks around your office, walk the stairs a few times in a break, stay standing rather than sit down
- Be naked! Look at yourself in the mirror and notice changes in your body. If they are good changes, great! If not, then do something about it, don’t hide!
- Find an exercise routine that you can stick to! Know that you are going to be burning less, so monitor and adjust intake accordingly.
Winter doesn’t mean you have to put on weight, but it does mean you have to be aware of the traps along the way. As always, it’s on you, no one else can do it for you!