• By Dana Sparks

Does Winter Weight Gain Really Keep Us Warm?

February 21, 2014

Warm winter food with sweet rolls and hot cocoaIs winter weight gain, or 'winter fat', a cultural expectation to indulge in high calorie foods during the long winter months or really necessary when the season brings plunging temperatures?  Mark Brumm, M.D., Family Medicine in Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare says, “There is some evidence that a small amount of subcutaneous (between skin and muscle) fat may reduce the amount of heat you lose, but it is not enough to keep you warmer. It's more likely that it is a cultural phenomenon to have heartier foods rather than it being a physiological response.”

Brumm adds, “Keep eating healthy. Eating healthy is the first step in maintaining your weight during winter. We know it’s tough to motivate yourself to get active when it’s so cold outside. Instead of trekking to the gym, make working out convenient for you. Keep an exercise DVD at home that has a 30-minute workout and do it before you go into work. This will stimulate brain activity and make you feel better about having done some kind of physical activity for the day.”  If you keep in mind that everything in moderation is acceptable and that working out can fit into your schedule, even if it’s for only 30 minutes a day, you can avoid gaining that dreaded winter fat.