I don't know about the storing of fat during the winter, but I do want to stay in when it deeps in the 30's. Living in Texas we don't get too many of those days. I also feel that I just don't have the get up and go during the winter.
I get SAD and if anything I gain weight from stress and emotional eating. Not because its cold outside. I think It does help when its warmer weather because we ten to eat more water based fruits and we drink more water. (thats why its important to drink your water even if its cold). I gain weight because I choose to pig out and its not a wise choice. My SAD is totally different from gaining weight.
While there are changes in the body depending on the temperature and amount of sunlight, I suspect that activity levels and holiday eating are bigger factors.
But ultimately how much you exercise, and what you eat are matters of choice. Metabolism may vary slightly over the year, but trying to blame weight gain on the seasons is perhaps trying to shift responsibility.
I don't mean to be harsh on those with SAD or thyroid issues - just that what you DO about it is a matter over which you have a choice.
Fitness Minutes: (30,752)
1,043 12/14/12 10:44 P
Your body cannot put on more fat without you eating more calories. Period. I'm a molecular biologist, and I've actually seen work done on this before in some labs I know. In regions affected by winter, healthy whole foods becomes far scarcer in the winter. It is more difficult to find fresh produce, or inexpensive veggies and fruits. People tend to eat meals which are based on products which are "cheaper" and more readily available during the winter like pasta, pre packaged meals, canned veggies, etc. People are not putting on weight because they feel the need that they need to survive the cold, but rather out of other reasons.
I will mention that some cultural backgrounds do tend to carry more adipose tissue/brown fat than others. Brown fat is used to heat the body in cold adapted animals. People from Northern backgrounds such as Northern European, Russian, etc. tend to have more of this type of fat. But again you do not gain more of this fat. It is always there due to evolutionary backgrounds.
It takes motivation and commitment to stay healthy throughout winter, but it is indeed possible.
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,673 12/14/12 10:10 P
Even animals don't magically pack on more fat... they have to actively eat more to do it! There might be something to the idea that you're more likely to overindulge, but honestly, we're a bit less instinctive than your average bear... so I think if there is an effect, it's mild, and something that you shouldn't be giving in to anyway.
Fitness Minutes: (37,396)
3,898 12/14/12 8:14 P
Most plants and animals respond to the changes in the amount of sunlight we get and temperature change that comes with the change of seasons. Why should humans be any different?
There are lots of well-documented changes that happen as the seasons change. One good example is SAD - or "seasonal affective disorder" that is known to be helped by the regular application of a certain spectrum of light.
Personally, my thyroid function takes a nose dives whenever the temperature goes below 60 degrees. Apparently, my thyroid doesn't kick in and produce more hormones in response to the cold as it should. I doubt I am so unique. There are probably millions of people with similar thyroid problems that worsen in winter.
our bodies don't know it's winter. They are not a calendar. I think it's just us being lazy when the cold weather hits.
Fitness Minutes: (22,516)
261 12/13/12 1:48 P
Like the other, I don't think we're programmed to store more fat in winter (some of us are more prone to store fat all year long...), but that we're generally more tired (the dark, mostly) and as a reaction we may feel more hungry and eat more. Also, as someone said, most of us only spend very little time outside in winter, not resulting in an increase need for energy...
But I guess that's good news: it means it's only up to us to store fat in winter
I doubt it. How many of our bodies even *really* experience winter? By "experience winter" I mean have to burn many more calories per hour to keep the body temperature at an appropriate level. Because most of us have indoor heat, travel in cars or other heated vehicles, and wear modern winter attire that is designed to hold heat very efficiently. Unless you are *actually shivering for hours*, I don't think your body is thinking "oh my goodness this is a special situation here."
Personally I spend a very limited amount of time outside in winter not wearing a coat, hat, scarf, and gloves. And indoors I don't keep it "warm" but it's not freezing either. So I don't think my body has the first clue that it's "winter" at all.
Fitness Minutes: (7,311)
1,012 12/13/12 1:00 P
I definitely think it's true that that is what our body is telling us we should do. It's dark, it's cold, and our body is being triggered by that to want to sleep more and be warm. But that doesn't mean we have to let our bodies gain weight.
Fitness Minutes: (55,754)
1,474 12/13/12 12:43 P
I think that storing fat in the winter can be a by-product of how our minds react to the shorter days. A lot of people are less active in the winter for vairous reasons - it's dark out when you get off work, it's cold out so exercising outside is not always comfortable to do, etc. But I don't know that the winter timeframe necessarily has an effect on your body to purposely store fat. I think it is just something that happens because of the other things going on. Not to mention all the holidays crammed together in the winter that tend to be centered around lots and lots of food. It can be more difficult given all those circumstances to keep the weight in check, but it's definitely feasible to do so.
Fitness Minutes: (74,355)
7,311 12/13/12 12:16 P
I've heard that theory, but don't know if it's true. I do know, though, that it's harder for me to motivate myself to exercise and to eat properly... my natural instinct is to sit by the fireplace with a good book or a good movie, do a lot of knitting, and go out only when I have to.
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