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Winter weight

(article, Melanie Mesaros)

Pants starting to feel a little snug? Winter's coming, the season of the year when many of us start to gain weight.

According to Guy Faulkner, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Physical Education and Health, on average, people can gain three to four pounds during the winter. The reason? Freezing temperatures force people inside, making them less apt to exercise. Even technology has made it easy to avoid the cardio workout of shoveling snow, since snow blowers and plows take care of the white stuff. 

But you can’t just blame Mother Nature; your own biology may also play a role in weight gain. As Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, the founder of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore, told Prevention magazine, "Your body may be working against you to hang on to \[the extra fat\] so you stay warm."

The temptation to overindulge in holiday treats is coupled with the fact that fresh, low-calorie fruits and vegetables aren’t as readily available in the winter. Vegetarian Times suggests eating more protein to help reduce cravings for sweets. 

Shape magazine points out that too little sunlight can also lead to sugary desires; the lack of sunlight reduces the body’s production of serotonin, the brain chemical that helps suppress cravings and overeating. So even if it’s gloomy outdoors, consider bundling up and going on a brisk walk.   

At WebMD, experts share tips for having a lean winter. Anne Fletcher, a registered dietitian and the author of the [%bookLink code=0618340556 "Thin for Life"]_ books, says that starting and sticking with healthy habits is the key: "It is not about the time of year, but instead a way of thinking and a way of life that keeps the weight off," she told WebMD.