The cool, crisp fall weather is starting to set in. Our Facebook feeds are slowly filling up with photos of pumpkin spice lattes, chunky sweaters and colorful foliage. It’s enough to make you want to curl up in front of a cozy fireplace and sip on some hot cocoa.

But watch out. Those lazy inclinations may lead to some cool weather weight gain. It’s actually quite common – many people find that they put on a few (or twenty) extra pounds when it’s cold outside. It’s not just because we’re more likely to stay indoors with some Netflix and warm brownies when the weather outside is frightful. In fact, several factors can lead to winter weight gain. Cool weather makes many people crave warm, heavy comfort foods that are packed with carbs and fats. In addition, many people suffer from the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), including loss of energy and food cravings.

At least we can blame a little bit of this seasonal weight gain on genetics. Ahmed Ahmed, consultant gastrointestinal and bariatric surgeon at Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London explains that our ancestors commonly experienced famine in winter, so our bodies became accustomed to storing up fat in the fall to help us survive the colder months. “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,” Mr. Ahmed explains. (1)

So what can you do to stay out of this weight gain trap? Here are some tips for avoiding cool weather weight gain:

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  1. Great piece. I laughed at “dont catch a cold”. I wish it was that easy!

  2. # 9’s picture is weird and creepy.

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