Ah, it's that time of year again. The Starbucks cups have officially become holiday-themed and every department store is aggressively playing Christmas music on repeat. They say “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but aren’t "they" forgetting the fact that the temperatures are beginning to drop to points below freezing, the sky has turned increasingly gray, and the stress of finals/work/life has nearly hit its breaking point?

Although the depressing-ness of winter can be easily overshadowed by the holiday spirit, it’s no secret that winter has its downfalls. One of these downfalls seems to be the fact that many people find themselves packing on the pounds during the winter months

Laziness

chocolate, mocha, sweet, tea, cream, espresso, cappuccino, milk, coffee
Luna Zhang

There are many theories as to why we gain weight in the winter, ranging anywhere from seasonal depression to excessive holiday cookies. According to Dr. Lawrence J. Cheskin in one interview by the Washington Post, however, the answer to our winter weight gain is much simpler than we think: we're eating more and moving less.

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, many people have less of an incentive to hit the gym. Although this is not true for everybody, many people find it difficult to make the gym a priority when it's cold and dark.

Speaking from personal experience, I can agree that the cold weather definitely makes it harder to make it out to the gym. One thing that I recommend trying is to workout at home. I normally like putting on a 30-minute TV show and trying one of Kayla Itsines' workouts. They're quick, effective, and don't require you to leave the house.

Layers and Layers

cake, cream
Isabelle Langheim
Another theory states that because people are wearing more clothing than in the spring and summer, they feel less of a need to keep their body in shape. The psychological aspects of cold weather play a greater role in our daily lives that we'd like to admit, and people start to convince themselves that gaining winter weight is fine because there is so much time to work on getting back their "summer bod." 

SAD

candy, cake, pastry, gingerbread, sweet, cookie
Kristine Mahan

The effects of weather on mood also cannot be denied. As the weather gets dreary, people—myself included—find themselves getting dreary as well and seeking comfort in food. Many cases of winter weight gain can be attributed to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a type of depression that appears most often in the winter and often results in the overconsumption of comfort food when the weather is cold and dark.

Although you may be one of the lucky ones who manage to keep off the holiday weight, winter weight gain is an issue that affects many people around the world. Although weight gain is never ideal, it's definitely not the end of the world. The important thing is to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and always eat in moderation. With that being said, however, don't let the fear of gaining weight keep you from enjoying the things you love most during the holidays.