Photo by Caitlin Covington

Bears may aim to gain weight before heading into hibernation, but cold weather doesn’t have to mean weight gain for the rest of us. On average, humans put on a pound of weight during the fall and winter each year, which can easily add up over time.

So what gives? First off, feel free to blame the indulgent holidays. But that’s not all. When it’s cold outside, our bodies crave foods that provide warmth — in short, calorie and carb-rich comfort foods. Add to that shorter days with less opportunity for exercise and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. To fight the flab, resist the urge to spend chilly days hiding indoors. Head outside to play in the snow or just take a stroll — the cold weather may even speed metabolism. Opt to cook up healthier comfort foods instead of buying premade or indulging in Mom’s, and snack on fruit whenever a craving for sweets comes calling.

The Takeaway: Cold weather actually encourages weight gain — the holidays are only part of the problem. But there are ways to outsmart the season! Exercise daily and pass on calorie-rich comfort foods.

Live in the Present

Setting goals is essential to health and fitness gains, says guest writer Jordan Syatt. But that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. Focus on the journey — not just the destination.

Fun Fact:

When prepping for winter, a black bear can gain as much as 30 pounds per week — suddenly that extra pound from eating pie seems much less significant.