What’s behind the pounds we pack on every winter? Well, the fact of the matter is, we’re primed to LOSE weight in winter. According to research from Harvard Medical School, when we’re cold, our bodies use a significant amount of energy trying to warm us up. It’s process called “thermogenesis” – and it burns fat and boosts metabolism in a way similar to exercise.

But in winter, we do everything possible NOT to feel chilly. We stay inside our heated homes and hibernate. But that means our activity levels are a lot lower – so we end up burning fewer calories each day than our bodies are used to.
There’s also a psychological component to it. Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Susan Albers says, we also reach for comfort foods – which tend to be hot, like mac-n-cheese... because they literally warm our insides and make us feel warm emotionally.

So now that we know why we gain weight in winter, what can we do about it?

First, seek warming comfort in things other than food. Try putting on a robe or socks that have been warmed in the dryer.

Dr. Albers also suggests maintaining a steady sleep schedule. When you’re well-slept, it reduces your hunger hormones.

And pick an online exercise class to try. Even a 10-minute workout at home can boost metabolism and your mood.