Written by Callum Melly
“The seasons certainly effect your weight for a variety of reasons, some mental, some natural and some cultural.”
Let’s start with natural seasonal factors that can influence your weight, here in the UK we can pretty much split our 4 seasons into 2 groups, spring/summer and autumn/winter. During our spring/summer seasons the obvious influencer in weight fluctuation is the sun, the sun boosts several natural health benefits such as providing us with Vitamin D which is vital for bone health, supporting our immune system and enhancing our mood.
The sun encourages a feel good factor and often encourages us to naturally want to be more active, we may make certain lifestyle changes such as walking to and from work rather than commuting which will naturally increase caloric burn. Furthermore, with an increase in temperature we will naturally perspire more and our bodies will want to shift uncomfortable stored body fat.
The sun and rise in temperature can also suppress your appetite and put you into a natural calorie deficit which will promote healthy weight loss. Therefore, a combination of more calories being burned due to an increase in activity/TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and a reduction of calorie intake due to a suppressed appetite will create a calorie deficit and increase weight loss.
On the other side of the table, autumn and winter are cold, dark and gloomy months. Early starts are often in the dark as well as your evening commute home, some people don’t even see daylight if working inside. Obviously mood is effected due to a decrease in sunlight and a lot of people are subject to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which can reduce energy, encourage comfort eating and effect your mood; as a result, less activity and an increase in calories will create a calorie surplus and you will gain weight. I would recommend taking a Vitamin D and a Vitamin C rich multivitamin such as Myprotein’s “Vitamin D3” and “Alpha Men” or “Active Women” multivitamin to support your bones, immune system and mood.
Further to this, our bodies naturally want to store excess fat to keep us warm during these cold and wet months; however, if you follow a structured exercise regime and eat a healthy balanced diet as promoted in my BODY IN 8 programme, you can easily maintain a lean body all year round.
Cultural factors that are seasonal can also dramatically cause weight fluctuation, the Christmas and New Year period always spring to mind as we tend to over indulge in both food and drink, as well as reduce our daily activity levels. Combine this with some of the coldest and darkest times of the year and it is easy to comfort eat during this festive period and gain weight!
Mental factors that are certainly influenced by the seasons is this whole “holiday” and “summer body” craze, I say craze because people tend to lose weight and gain weight as depicted by these seasonal changes year in year out. Everyone wants to look good during the summer and when on holiday, but nobody is worried about their health and wellbeing during autumn and winter. Let’s get real, your body is merely a metaphorical image of your lifestyle, why should you suddenly become less conscious about your health when Autumn and winter approach? This is where we are going wrong, rather than maintaining a healthy lean body all year round, we tend to pile on the weight over winter and then try to lose this weight for the summer, which is now considered socially acceptable. Not only is rapid weight loss and weight gain extremely dangerous to your health and wellbeing, but it can cause you to gain more weight back each time you lose weight.
As previously mentioned, a structured exercise routine and balanced healthy diet will promote a healthy lean body all year round. Don’t let the seasons determine how you look and feel. Get fit, stay fit and you will enjoy a healthier and more active balanced lifestyle come rain or shine.