Oh, Winter Weight Gain, You Crack Me Up

Love your body and yourself through all four seasons, especially when the scale goes up.

Love your body and yourself through all four seasons, especially when the scale goes up (or gets stuck).

Some ladies and I were talking at the gym the other day and the subject of pounds that just won’t budge came up. A couple of women said that pretty much out of nowhere they had gained five to 10 pounds and were having a HECK of a time getting them to come off. Of course, whenever a group of women get together and start talking about the number on the scale, my FBG alarm goes off.

Alert! Alert! You are more than the number on the scale! It’s just a silly number! Fit bottoms come in all shapes and sizes!

But the conversation really got me thinking. I only weigh myself once a week, but I’d be a liar if I said that when I see it go up more than five pounds that I don’t do a little objective check-in with myself to see what’s going on in my life. Am I eating mindfully? Am I being less active than usual? Am I stressed or not sleeping? Is my digestion off? Am I retaining water? While it is just a number — and is NOT the basis of my self worth — it is one of the ways that the body reacts to your environment and your life.

And recently, I’ve gone up a few pounds. Some of this is due to me running more (I have a history of weight gain there), but I also believe — and I told the ladies at the gym this — that this Winter That Just Won’t Quit is also causing our bodies to hold on to weight. There’s a little bit of research on seasonal weight gain, and it just makes sense to me. When it’s colder out (Note: As I look outside while writing this, it’s snowing. AGAIN.), we simply don’t move as much and we all seem to eat more — and more of the carb-y comfort foods.

But I think it goes a little deeper and more historic than that. Because, this year and in years past, I know for certain that I’ve started even eating cleaner and working out more for a few weeks during the last part of winter — yet the scale stays exactly where it was in January and February as if nothing had changed. I know others have had the same experience and there’s even some evidence that points to seasonal weight gain as a natural thing our bodies have evolved to do to survive.

Is this frustrating? Yes. Does it matter? Eh. Not really. Because, just as winter weight gain is a real and seemingly normal fluctuation for me and a lot of people, so is seasonal weight-loss. Meaning that as soon as it does warm up for good (come on, spring, for real!), I can almost guarantee that those same pounds that seem stuck now will almost magically go away without me even trying or realizing it.

So, my advice to all of us dealing with winter weight gain or fighting a few pounds right now? Focus on being truly healthy and do the things that make you feel good and energized. Then, trust that your body (with maybe a few cues from Mother Earth) will take care of the rest in due time.

Do you deal with winter weight gain? Lose weight in the summer, too? —Jenn

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  1. Shauna says:

    I have read a bunch about season weight gain being part of evolution – specifcially for women. The intent is to keep weight on during the winter months when food could potentially be sparce in order to nurish a child if needed. It made a lot of sense and made me feel a lot better. Could it be that this is what our bodies are meant to do and we are actually changing our evolutionary path? Quite the buzz strarter. But – I agree – once Mother Nature stops taking whatever drug she’s on and Spring is finally here – we’ll see a decrease in those pesky pounds and our scales will return to normal.

  2. Tish says:

    Oooo Shauna…that’s a fascinating question. Where do we draw the line between letting nature do her thing and making excuses to let the junk in the trunk run amok? …Because I’m the type of gal who would be QUICK to excuse 10 pounds and blame it on winter even though I live in LA lol.

  3. Karen says:

    Uh oh this will throw a monkey wrench in the theory. I typically gain in the summer! Sure I move more, but I also consume more. It’s easy to gain a few and not notice when you live in loose shorts and flowy skirts to stay cool. I also give credit to summertime beer and BBQ!

  4. Sagan says:

    I like this 🙂 It’s tough to get over the frustration of seasonal weight gain! I’m hoping that the combo of starting a new career along with the changing seasons (the ice is starting to melt off of our sidewalks! Hurray!) will help to shed the pounds very nicely off. But also definitely trying to not look at those extra pounds as my self-worth!