By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
Haven’t you ever wondered why so many of us gain weight during the winter holidays? Why is it that during the cold season we seem to eat more and never learn our lesson the next year? Several studies across the world have revealed and confirmed that humans have genetically adapted to store fat during the winter and allow all urges to take over. Well I’m here to tell you that you can still maintain your healthy weight and fight those subconscious urges that we seem to be predisposed to. Let’s go through some of the most probable reasons to why we do gain those extra kilos.
We are more cold than usual due to the lower temperatures:
Our bodies burn more calories as our internal temperature drops. This happens biologically because our bodies want to fight the cold, so the body signals the mind to stay warm, possibly pushing you to grab a snack instead of covering yourself with another layer of clothes. Subconsciously, we have adapted to eating when feeling cold to feel warmer and all our lifestyle training goes out the window. Haven’t you noticed how we are less able to control our minds when we don’t feel comfortable? In conclusion, make yourself warm before you go for food. Try drinking hot teas full of health improving herbs, even spicy teas and more importantly, soups made from broth and full of satiating legumes and vitamin-full veggies. Even coffee can do the trick but try to reduce the amount of sugar, milk or cream used.
Many of us try to avoid the outdoors due to the colder weather so we might potentially be reducing our active time without even noticing it:
Another reason could also because the days are shorter so you feel you have less time to go out and get moving. And as we all know, we seem to increase our food intake when we have spare time in the indoors. It’s also a type of cycle where you know you can be more flexible with your diet when you are able to cover up that bloated tummy or that double chin with forgiving winter clothes. Therefore, we have to be active as much as possible during the winter season. Try using the stairs more, putting on more layers and going out for a nice and relaxed walk or a jog to keep you warm.
We are not as hydrated as usual during the winter as we are sweating more due to the natural tendency of the body and even more because of the extra layers:
Our bodies more often than usual confuse thirst for hunger so we might grab another snack when we feel dehydrated. Also, if you think about it, when we want to drink, we usually combine it with a snack or meal, so be ware and don’t eat when you don’t have to. Be sure to get your 8 glasses a day as well as good liquids (teas, soups, etc.) to help regulate your hydration levels.
If you haven’t noticed already, the general population follows the trend of “the winter blues” and fall victim to the mind game that makes us think we are allowed to feel down more than usual:
Many studies revealed that people can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder where people have more negative energy than usual and will probably opt for comfort food. Push yourself to go for long, relaxing walks or to hit the gym to benefit from the positivity-boosting endorphins.
You might not realise it but you might be entering the winter season with a convinced mind that you will definitely be gaining weight, allowing your mind to signal your body to feel free and do as it pleases:
In this way, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Remember, a positive mindset allows you to have more control over your food choices, so try to channel good energy and not tell yourself you will be gaining weight.
Keep warm and stay strong!
* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.
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