Have you ever noticed that you tend to eat more in the winter? Have you ever wondered why it's so much harder to stop eating in the colder months than in the summer? Here are 5 reasons why you eat more in the winter, and how to stop yourself, just in time for the darkest, coldest season to begin.

1. You're Not Getting Enough Sun

You might laugh, but this is one of the main reasons our stomachs seem to miraculously hold so much more food during the winter. December and January—following Daylight Savings in January when we get to sleep an extra hour one night—are inevitably the months with the shortest days. Shorter days mean less sunlight. For students or adults who work full time, shorter days can also mean leaving in the morning in the dark and getting home in the dark. A majority of people who fall into this category don't even go outside once during the day to get any sunlight. Being cooped up inside all day without proper vitamin D can lead to an increased temptation to eat.

2. Darkness Causes Sadness

This daily dose of darkness for weeks on end restrains any naturally optimistic or happy feelings from fully surfacing. And we all know what goes hand-in-hand with feelings of negativity and sadness: eating our feelings.

3. You Mistake Boredom for Hunger

Another thing about winter? When the snow covers everything and stepping outside for a minute is enough to turn all of us into ice, it's no wonder we prefer to spend the day inside, bundled up in a fuzzy blanket on the couch, with hot chocolate, popcorn, candy, and a movie. And when we're done with all of those treats, and our Netflix marathon is over, we have nothing to do. So, we eat. It's just what we do.

4. Fresh Foods Feel Forgotten

The cold and unpredictable winter weather makes it much harder to grow, harvest, and prepare fresh foods. With all the extra effort necessary to find good, juicy, fresh fruits at the grocery store, it's so much easier to pop a Hot Pocket in the microwave and relax on the couch while it's heating up. "Junk" foods are more addictive, so once you taste that first bite of cheesy, saucey, Hot Pocket-y goodness, there's no turning back.

5. Snowy Season = Holiday Season

I think we can all agree that the holidays provide a completely fool-proof excuse for eating too much. After the Thanksgiving turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pies upon pies upon pies, the holiday food influx is non-stop. From snacking on candy canes and hot cocoa after class or work, to Chanukah parties with latkes, applesauce, and jelly donuts, to Christmas dinner of ham, chicken, or roast beef and all the sides and sweets imaginable, to the chocolate-filled Valentine's Day. Seriously, November through February, I. Don't. Stop. Eating. And it's absolutely amazing!

Just because we eat more in the winter does NOT mean it's a bad thing. Sure, we should be conscious that we don't over-eat, but indulging ourselves, ESPECIALLY around all of these holidays, is never a crime. Try spending more time in the sun or going the extra mile to find fresh fruits and veggies in the supermarket or asking yourself if you're really hungry or just bored before you take a bite of that hot pocket...if you want to. And if not, dig in! Why else do you think winter clothing is so baggy? Greet this holiday season with laughter, cheer, and an open stomach.