Exercise

4 reasons you experience weight gain over winter (and what to do about it)

Have you noticed a few pounds creep on as the colder months start? Chances are you’re experiencing winter weight gain due to influencing factors.

Here are the top four reasons you might be piling on the pounds and what you can do about it.

4 reasons you experience weight gain over winter (and what to do about it)

1.You crave comfort foods

During the winter months, serotonin production is generally lowest so we tend to crave comfort foods to help boost our mood.

“Serotonin helps regulate mood, appetite, memory and sleep. Low levels may be in part due to less Vitamin D uptake, which helps promote serotonin production,” says nutritionist Sami Bloom.

According to Sami carb cravings also have an emotional element, as so many comfort foods are carb-heavy. But this isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just about choosing the most nutrient-dense, unrefined carbohydrates to regulate blood sugar and serotonin levels, whilst also getting the added benefits of fibre, vitamins and minerals for overall well being.

Avoid the particularly addictive combination of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt which light up your brain’s pleasure centers. Think refined baked and deep-fried sweets and poor-quality take away meals. These are difficult to stop eating and can cause further cravings.

Choose two-three servings of minimally processed unrefined carbohydrates daily that don’t lead to blood sugar highs and lows e.g. steel-cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, sweet potato, beans and legumes,” says Sami.

Sami also suggests swapping comfort foods with puréed soups which are warming and filling. Try carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin or cannelloni beans.

2.You’re outdoors less

As the weather gets colder, we tend to hibernate which can be detrimental to our Vitamin D levels. The less Vitamin D we get, then the more likely we are to crave comfort foods as our energy levels drop.

Sami suggests you ensure you get 20-30 mins sunlight daily.

If possible, expose your belly rather than just your face for better vitamin D absorption,” she says.

Also the less time you spend outside, the less likely you are to burn calories. Even if it’s cold outside, try to at least go for a brisk walk so you can keep your exercise levels up.

3.You feel groggy

The lack of sunlight can also play havoc on your sleep patterns leaving you feeling groggy and less energetic. When we feel groggy we tend to exercise less and eat more. If you’re feeling like this, try going to bed earlier and exercising first thing to set you up for the day. It will give you the boost of energy you need and you won’t feel the urge to overeat.

4.Your metabolism increases

Your metabolism increases. Recent studies show that throughout the colder months our metabolism increases to help keep us warm. While this might sound like a positive thing, it actually means that we tend to eat more than usual.

Take 5-15 mins to unwind before a meal or a snack attack to lower cortisol, which can interfere with serotonin and our hunger levels,” suggests Sami.

And when you do crave a snack, that’s when it’s best to check out our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipe hub or website for delicious snacks that are FREE from added sugars, artificial colors and unhealthy fats.

Need some healthy food inspiration? You should definitely check out our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipe hub for over 4,000 yummy recipes!

Here at The Healthy Mommy we are all about helping moms lose weight and get healthy. Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has over 4,000 healthy, family-friendly recipes and more than 350 exercises and 24/7 support from fellow moms to help you achieve your goals.

To learn more about the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge (including the meal plans and monthly themes) click here.