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Why Do We Eat More When It’s Cold?

2 Nov 2017, 5:02 pm

As I sat at my desk, quietly, thinking about what to write about– Meteorologist Nick Merianos walked in singing Christmas tunes like it’s November 24th!

And that got me thinking. With Halloween in the rearview, complaints are already circulating about the over-indulgence of sweets. And for the next 2 months we are officially in face-stuffing season!

But is it just the holidays? Or is there something more to winter weight?

These animals weren't cooped up today… They goat to play in the #snow. #miwx

Posted by WeatherNation on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Glutton for Punishment

I don’t know much about sayings. In fact, I spent the first few years of my life reciting the pythagorean theorem like it was the answer to all of life’s problems. When my 6-year-old brain finally figured out what a hypotenuse was… well, I tried to make the world a right angle.

Now when it comes to gluttony during the holiday season, is there a reason?
Has to be. Why else would we stuff our faces from November to December and not the same during the summer holidays?

Unfortunately, the answer is that we are hardwired to binge eat.
Blame your ancestors.
For thousands of years, food was not an abundant resource– so when food was available, people over ate.

And it doesn’t stop there.
Collective conscious is a real thing. Everyone else is over-eating, why don’t I?

When you put all of this together, we get emotionally attached to food. And eating more carbs boosts our serotonin levels, making us feel happier and before you know it– gluttony.

One deer didn't want to share their Halloween treats and gave another deer the boot.

Posted by WeatherNation on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Burning Calories

The good news is that we actually burn more calories come those cold, dark winter months.

As we plow through the plethora of plates like those November rodents, we are fighting a battle our ancestors long prepared us for.

A bulk of the calories you burn in a day are just to stay warm. So as the temperatures drop, your body tries making up for the loss of heat by consuming more calories.
In a sense, you are doing a minor workout all day!
The scientific name for this workout is nonshivering thermogenesis (NST) and it’s basically the lite version of the teeth-chattering muscle twitching of our favorite blue-faced cartoons.

That doesn’t mean you should go skip your workout this winter. It just means, if you keep up your normal routine, all of those extra calories might not be all that bad.

Updated NOAA November Forecast

Watching the Weight

My first recommendation is to not sweat the small stuff.

We crave comfort food during the colder months because we want that comfort. And with the mounting stress of the holiday season, there is no need to sweat anything else.

Stress has some pretty detrimental effects on your body. Worse than skipping out on your normal diet a handful of times in the next couple months.
Your normal diet, or how you typically eat has a much greater impact on your body than what you eat for a month and a half out of the year.

By allowing yourself the indulgence this holiday season without feeling the guilt, you will maintain better mental health and bounce back to your normal diet much easier.

Eat normal between holidays and parties, but let loose– your body needs those extra calories to stay warm!

Oh, and life is short.

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

Cover Photo: Cephas/Wikipedia

 

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