By Rongana Nath

Winter Weight Gain (And How to Avoid It)

Winter Weight Gain (And How to Avoid It)

Rongana Nath

Winter is officially here (along with the festive season) and you shouldn’t be surprised at what the weighing scale might tell you. However, though imminent in some people, weight gain in the winters may have nothing to do with the season but might occur due to some habits.

Eating Habits

  • Winter is also festive time and with that come sweet delights such as cakes, cookies and traditional sweets like laddoos, gajar ka halwa (the list is endless). Unfortunately, they are all full of sugar. Eating excess sugar is known to promote weight gain. Doctors advise eating lots of groundnuts but not its sweetened products which are high on fat content (groundnut is 40% fat only).
  • Exposure to less sunlight during winters is also known to play a negative role.  It was found that exposure to the blue light emitted by the sun can reduce the fat cells beneath the skin. Sunlight also stimulates the production of serotonin, a natural hormone that boosts a person’s mood. Lack of sunlight may affect the production of serotonin, making some people at risk of SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a medical condition which affects a person’s mood and behaviour.  It is said when a person is sad or depressed, they crave more carbs that can increase the serotonin levels. If a person opts for unhealthy carbs like donuts and cookies, it makes them prone to weight gain.
  • The cold weather is also known to boost metabolism by burning more energy in an attempt to keep the body warmer. Increased metabolism means you feel hungrier and may overeat than actually needed.

Less Physical Activity

It’s common to skip morning exercising routine in winters and not doing physical activities has a lot to do with weight gain.

More Sleep

Most people love cuddling and feeling warm under a blanket when temperatures dip. Sleeping longer may not be a direct factor for weight gain but it definitely cuts down exercise time, which then contributes to the problem.


Fixing the Problem

To avoid weight gain, you first need to control food intake habits.

  • It is advised to eat protein which often gives a feeling of fullness, cutting the unnecessary food cravings. Add chicken, eggs, fish and beans to your diet.
  • Fibre-rich food like fruits and vegetables and whole grains stimulate leptin, a hormone that signals the brain when a person has eaten enough which then keeps overeating at bay.
  • Bad carbs such as white pasta, white bread, and sweets increase appetite which leads to overeating, so they should be avoided.
  • Simply running, walking, and cycling can help burn calories. It is best to exercise 6 days a week to avoid weight gain.