Weight Gain in Winter May Be Evolutionary Process
With Halloween on the horizon and temperatures starting to drop, wintertime is looming ahead—and so is the dreaded winter weight gain. The average American packs on an extra pound during the holiday season, and there may be an underlying reason why.
Using a computer model, researchers from the UK demonstrated that we may have evolved to have subconscious urges to over-eat during the winter. In prehistoric times, food was scarce in the winter, so our bodies learned to cling to body fat for survival. “All animals, including humans, should show seasonal effects on the urge to gain weight. Storing fat is an insurance against the risk of failing to find food, which for pre-industrial humans was most likely in winter,” explains lead researcher Dr. Andrew Higginson in a press release.
Though we no longer suffer from shortage of food, it seems we may have never ditched this prehistoric mechanism to hold on to weight. But not all hope is gone! There’s plenty you can do to outsmart your body. Ward off winter weight gain with these healthy living tips:
- Turn off the TV. Watching TV is linked to overeating and research finds for each hour spent watching TV, the risk of developing diabetes increases by 3.4%.
- Embrace fall activities. Stay active by apple picking, hiking, raking leaves and walking the dog.
- Find fun indoor hobbies. Staying busy can prevent mindless snacking. Activities like crosswords, board games, painting and knitting may even offer a mental boost.
- Honor family meal time. Eating with others is linked to better health and happiness.
- Get enough sleep. Research finds losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day may promote weight gain. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Low in calories and high in nutrients, fruits and vegetables should comprise half your daily diet, a strategy that can promote weight management and may even help fight depression.
Published October 1, 2016