Winter is the most documented time of year where the majority of people pack on pounds. Experts have documented that the average person will gain 2 pounds per year after reaching the age of 35. Most of the time the extra weight is accumulated during the winter season, due to lack of exercise, over eating and hormonal imbalances.
During the winter many individuals go through a drop in mood commonly know as “The Winter Woes”. The proper name for this occurrence is called seasonal affective disorder. The drop in mood is caused by a decrease in serotonin, which is one of the main neurotransmitters that will produce a positive mood. A depressed mood can trigger a person to eat more high-carb & high-fat comfort foods, which will eventually cause you to gain weight. Eating unhealthy foods causes a domino effect.
As shown in the diagram below: The more unhealthy foods that you eat the greater chances you will have an increase in weight gain, and a decrease in digestion, and absorption. Poor absorption leads to receiving fewer nutrients from your food, which will cause your hormones and neurotransmitters to become out of balance. Out of balance hormones and neurotransmitters will cause cravings for unhealthy foods and the cycle starts over.
According to research from the National Institute of Mental Health there is an increase in leptin resistance in the winter. Leptin is the weight-regulating hormone produced in your fat cells that sends signals to your brain that you are satiated. The research mentioned in this study shows that individuals who are overweight and obese are more likely to have problems overeating during the winter due to an imbalance in their leptin levels.
This news may not sound to promising, but you can fight the “battle the bulge” by following a few simple steps:
- Stay active: Working out and staying active is very important to creating a metabolic burn through the winter. Setting a good workout routine will often help you arrange other healthy habits such as eating well, using good posture, and using good hygiene. Set your workout times each week and stick to them.
- Eat well-balanced meals: Consume foods such as eggs, freshwater fish and turkey. These foods will increase your tryptophan level, which will improve your mood. Eat slow burning carbs such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, and oatmeal with your proteins. These foods will help you stay satiated and allow you to have energy without gaining weight. Also add in good sources of omega 3’s such as avocados, nuts and Mila® chia seeds.
- Meditate & pray: Studies show when you meditate and pray you will create a positive mood and increase serotonin levels. We are made to connect with each other and God our creator. Reduce your stress and weight gain through prayer and reflection.
Remember fitness is journey. Gaining weight is not the end of the world, but only a bump in the road of your journey. Fight winter weight gain by following these steps listed above. Stay healthy and fit!
Reference: The Leptin Boost Diet: Unleash Your Fat-Controlling Hormones for Maximum Weight Loss by Scott Isaacs. Ulysses Press. 2006.