A number of factors contribute to the difficulty many people have in reaching their weight loss goals during the winter. More time spent sitting indoors means less exercise, and the abundance of sugary and carbohydrate-filled holiday temptations certainly does not help.
There are also certain biological factors that contribute to the struggle to keep the winter pounds from piling on. One of these is an increase in melatonin, the hormone that signals your body that it is time to sleep, and is triggered by darkness. Since winter means less hours of daylight, melatonin levels tend to increase.
Dr. Perry Barrett of Aberdeen University explains, “In spring and summer, levels of melatonin decline, but in autumn and winter levels of melatonin increase. This hormone acts on appetite.” Because melatonin can hormonally affect your appetite, it may trigger some people to eat more.
Another factor may be less exposure to vitamin D from sunlight. Dr. Stephanie Dillon of the University of Central Lancashire says, “It appears that lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage—so calories you consume are stored in adipose (fat) cells rather than being used for energy… numerous studies show low levels of vitamin D in the overweight and obese.”
While it may be tricky, make a firm choice to remain vigilant. Even though you cannot go outside for a walk or run, you can still do cardiovascular exercise indoors, in the form of running in place, burpees or just dancing around your living room. Every minute of movement you perform is significant.
If you find yourself craving snacks, especially in the evening when melatonin levels are high, make yourself a plate of cut up raw fruits and veggies to munch on instead of succumbing to sugary or processed snacks.
To increase your vitamin D levels, spend as much time outside during the day as the cold will allow. Vitamin D is also found in certain foods, primarily in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, which also provide essential omega-3 fatty acids. This is the good kind of fat! Beef liver, mushrooms and egg yolks also offer some vitamin D content.
If you stay motivated and stay on track, you can achieve your weight loss goals, even in the cold winter months.
-The Alternative Daily