Yes, it happens to everyone. No, it isn’t your fault (at least partially anyhow).
Ever had the feeling that the stuff happening to your body is just happening to it, and it’s out of control? You’re not alone.
Most of us notice our weight creeping up over the late fall/winter months (October-December), and it’s often hard to workout why. (Especially if you’re me, and you started working out in October.)
A study conducted by Cornell University and the University of Tampere in Finland looked at the weight of people in the US, Germany and Japan and how their weight fluctuated over the 10 weeks in the lead up to the holidays. The outcome of the study was hardly a surprise, everybody gained weight. The weight of participants in Germany increased by around 0.7 %, compared with 0.4 % in the US, and 0.2 % in Japan.
Most of this is, of course, due to the fact that it’s holiday season and most holiday activities are sedentary and pretty much require overeating; but there are a number of other factors that come into play.
As the temperature drops, so does our desire to be outdoors, making us less active than we’d usually be. The reduced number of sunshine hours means we have lower levels of vitamin D, which have been linked to our bodies storing more fat. Finally, in fall and winter our melatonin levels tend to go up, meaning our appetite is greater.
These three factors, coupled with the fact that we’re basically being force-fed unhealthy food for those 10 weeks, are the perfect recipe for weight gain.
While it’s normal, if it’s bothering you that much, don’t wait until January to fix it, as studies have shown that it takes longer to lose the weight after the holidays.
Here are two simple questions to ask yourself throughout the holidays:
1. Have I been active today?
It doesn’t matter if it’s for five minutes or 20, or if it’s high-intensity or low-intensity, just get out and do it.
2. Do I want to eat this, or do I feel like I have to eat this?
Make sure you only eat because you actually want to, and not because you feel you have to.
Bonus question: Am I overthinking this? If it’s stressing you out, talk to someone about it, don’t stay locked up in your head. A healthy mind comes before a healthy body, and a couple extra pounds will keep you warm in the New Year.
/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out
A lot of these are great reminders that I can still do active things even with my chronic problems and injuries! I often get discouraged when I remember that I can’t play a pick up game or work out like I used to, for fear of angering the tyrannical overlord that is my back.
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