You're just sitting there innocently cozied up on the couch: cup of hot tea in hand, fire roaring nearby, a heavy throw in your lap. There are no cookies or chips around. No snacks to be seen. But there you go and gain weight anyway. What's the problem?
Well, according to a new study, that weight gain might be a direct result of all that heat, specifically the increased indoor temperatures not only at home, but also in the car, at work, and many of the places you spend your time in the winter.
The new study claims a direct link between "reduced exposure to seasonal cold and increases in obesity in the UK and U.S."
If the body is already warm, it does not need to convert a ‘brown’ fat known as adipose tissue into energy to generate heat. Brown fat was previously thought to be present only in infants, playing a vital role in keeping them warm, but recent research found it also in adults.
The study even suggests that prolonged exposure to comfortable warm temperatures may permanently reduce the body’s ability to burn this brown fat.
Got all that?
All is not lost! Just take it down a notch. Turn the thermostat a degree or two lower. Trade the heavy throw for a lighter one. And yes, stop carrying that electric blanket room to room all winter long.
Other Top Winter Weight Gain Red Flags to Watch
- Less activity: When it's cold outside, who wants to go for a run or even a walk? Less activity snowballs into less motivation and the vicious circle keeps going.
- Carb cravings: Less sunlight means less vitamin D in the body, and vitamin D makes serotonin, the chemical that keeps us happy. When we're not happy, we love bread and carbs!
How to Combat Those Winter Weight Gain Red Flags
- Get outside: Even if it's for just a short bit, the fresh air will do you good. Plus, isn't it great how your house feels really warm when you come in from outside?
- Move: The more you move, the warmer you'll be. And that's a fact.
- Reduce carb cravings: Open those window shades, take a quick walk, and get all the vitamin D you can this winter. Exercise also helps boost vitamin D, which will keep us off the comfort food.
How do you fight winter weight gain?
Image via Heather/Flickr