You have probably put away your shorts and swim wears, you have mince pies on the shelves and your thoughts of dieting forgotten until January/Feb. we kind of expecting to put on a few pounds of weight. "This is normal!" says my training buddy.
We gain an average 3-4 lb or even more at this time of year, but is putting on weight unavoidable?
As an adult gym trainee i always had this question in my mind: 'why people in the gym say they would gain weight in autumn and winter and get lean in spring and summer?
I would think " why would they gain weight/fat in the first place where they could stay lean all year round?
I spoke to a few of them and these are their common answers:
IF WE EAT MORE WE WOULD STAY WARMER?
I ALWAYS FEEL HUNGRY IN WINTER!
SO WHY DO I CRAVE BIG AND UNHEALTHY PUDDINGS?
I DON’T EAT MORE, WHY DO I GET FATTER?
IT’S NOT MY FAULT, THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY IN TV...
I WILL PUT ON WEIGHT REGARDLESS SO WHY I BOTHER...
So, what i did to answer all those questions and my own thoughts, was to go around and read. and i found interesting points that i think they worth to share.
I would like to share with you one of my favourite recipes at the end of this little research.
WHITE OR BROWN FAT?
‘Those who carry excess weight actually feel colder,’
When you put on fat from excess calories it is white adipose tissue; the only fat that keeps you warm is brown adipose tissue, which babies have and which is due to genetic programming.’
While white fat stores energy, brown fat burns calories for heat. So why do we feel like eating more when it turns cold?
In our ancestors’ time, the winter months were associated with famine. One theory is that we’re genetically programmed to increase fat stores in autumn to help us survive known as the ‘thrifty gene hypothesis’.
‘The problem is that we no longer need to store fat because we have an abundance of food available all year round. The famine never comes, so we never use up the stores'
Even if the theory were correct, it’s not an excuse for getting tubby.
‘Hypothetically, our genes may favour fat storage; but you can control what happens by making the right food choices.’
If we wrap up warm when going out and keep our homes well heated, it is unlikely that
British winter temperatures will contribute to any significant alteration in appetite.
‘Your body maintains its core temperature very tightly, even during winter,’
So is hunger all in the mind? Maybe not. Melatonin, the hormone triggered by darkness that makes us feel sleepy, can also have a role in appetite.
‘In spring and summer, levels of melatonin decline, but in autumn and winter levels of melatonin increase,’ says Dr Perry Barrett at Aberdeen University, whose research specialises in seasonal weight gain in mammals. ‘This hormone acts on appetite.’ In most mammals, this increase in melatonin reduces hunger, a strategy to deal with diminished food resources. But in some species the same system produces opposite effects, so it’s possible this could account for increased hunger and weight in humans. i think it’s a good excuse anyway.
What may surprise you is that most of us eat more in spring and summer: it’s just the type of food we want that changes in autumn.
‘In spring and summer we take in more carbohydrates, but we develop a tendency for fattier foods in autumn,’ And that may be driven simply by a desire to cheer ourselves up.
‘In winter, we tend to develop a lower level of happiness, called ennui. This is basically low level dissatisfaction, which we get when it’s cold, wet and dark.’ studies show that when we’re suffering with ennui, we use comfort foods as a pick-me-up twice as much as usual.
WHY STODGY PUDDINGS?
‘In winter, we go for energy-dense, calorific foods, which tend to be sweeter or fattier,’ The problem is that these high-sugar snacks will inevitably lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, leaving you craving more energy. You then get into a roller-coaster of highs and lows and store the surplus calories as fat.
Research suggests low levels of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, can affect our weight in winter.
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
‘Your body needs sunlight to synthesise vitamin D, but in winter there are fewer daylight hours, people go outside less and when they do they wrap up in gloves and scarves, so their skin has little exposure to light,’
Preliminary studies suggest that people with low levels of vitamin D store more fat, though the precise mechanism is still being identified.
‘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.’
According to my findings, to boost our vitamin D levels we should be
eating more oily fish and getting 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight every day, preferably with your forearms uncovered.
During the summer months we rush to parks and beaches and enjoy long walks in the sunshine, but come October the sofa suddenly regains its allure. ‘If we’re not out and about, we’re at home and that usually means doing activities we associate with eating, such as sitting on the sofa watching TV. Solution:
keeping a food diary and thinking carefully about everything you eat. Ask yourself whether you need it, and if you will have a chance to burn off the calories.
Stressing the importance of maintaining an exercise regimen throughout winter and how it should be done, is within another long discussion that i'm not going to open it at this time!
To reward you for your time and patience, i'm going to share with you this delicious recipe that i made the other day. i hope you like and make it. to find more about my services please visit my website at www.funfairfitness.co.uk