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What Causes Winter Weight Gain?

Does Cold Weather Trigger Your Body to Store Fat?

Ugh. Is it me, or does wintertime always translate to tighter fitting clothes? Just about everyone I know complains about Winter weight gain, but is it just inevitable? Does the cold weather trigger our bodies to hold onto fat so we don't freeze to death?

For some people who live in and are exposed to cold weather in the Winter, some doctors believe our bodies hold on to fat in order to stay warm. But let's face it — most people aren't roughing it outside all day and night in freezing temps. So for the rest of us, it's not the actual cold weather that makes us fatter; it's the cold weather that causes us to modify our lifestyles, and that is what contributes to bigger numbers on the scale.

In Winter, we wear more clothes to cover our bodies up, so we're less self-conscious about watching what we eat. Plus many of us find we're less motivated to exercise when the temperatures drop. Not only does staying inside mean we burn fewer calories, but being cooped up can also lead to depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms include specific food cravings, loss of energy, and oversleeping, which all contribute to weight gain.


In the cold months, we also crave warm, creamy comfort foods like soup, bread, pasta, and other high-fat carbs. These are much higher in calories than fresh veggies and fruit, which is another reason we end up packing on a spare tire. It doesn't help that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day all take place during this cold season, because all those decadent foods don't do much to help our waistlines.

Don't worry, you're not doomed to automatically go up a dress size. Check out these tips on how to avoid Winter weight gain.

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Spectra Spectra 7 years
I don't gain weight in the winter, either. I do like my warm foods, but they aren't the typical "fattening" comfort foods that most people probably choose to eat. I usually opt for broth-based soups, coffee, tea, etc. I think a lot of people probably gain weight in the winter because they aren't as inclined to go out in the cold to work out. This is why it's important to have an indoor backup plan as well as the necessary gear so you can continue your workouts even if the weather sucks.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
I always feel slimmer in cold weather. I swear heat & humidity make me bloat.
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
I think the cold weather triggers habits which increase the risk of weight gain (inactivity, eating richer foods etc) but you always have the choice to carry on as though winter wasn't happening. I'm lucky that I dislike winter foods (except mince pies), but I usually make an active effort to gain a little because I get cold so friggin easily, even when I'm staying fit.This winter I actually lost weight and felt like sh*t
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