It’s been a cold few weeks in St. Louis, with temperatures getting as low as 3 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature drops, we may be more likely to over-consume our favorite foods or drinks. But when it’s cold, why do we feel the need to binge?
Binging is consuming more food or drink than we normally would. You have probably also heard of binging in terms of watching too much Netflix in one sitting.
There are several reasons we binge when it’s cold out, and there are ways to moderate it.
Eating Makes Us Warm
Believe it or not, eating helps warm up the body through the consumption of calories, which provides energy to the body. So when our body’s temperature drops, we feel the need to eat to warm up. After a while, the cycle repeats itself, causing us to binge.
Winter Can Make Us Feel Down
The winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a real condition that affects thousands of people each year. Symptoms include:
- Feelings of depression
- Low energy
- Loss of interest in activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite or weight
Reduced sunlight in the winter can also disrupt our circadian rhythm, which can cause SAD. For those of us who suffer from the winter blues, binging can make us temporarily feel better, as eating our favorite foods releases endorphins.
Winter Holidays Often Encourage Overindulgence
Binging is also common during winter holiday festivities, which sometimes encourages overindulgence. When it comes to those in recovery, it can be difficult to navigate the flow of alcohol and unhealthy foods. Knowing your limits and bringing a buddy can be a great way to control overindulgence during the holidays.
Controlling Binging Habits
Controlling binging habits in the winter can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Recognizing binging is the first step in controlling it, as well as knowing your personal triggers. Is it boredom? Depression?
Reaching out to a professional counselor who specializes in binging can also help control urges and teach you essential skills like practicing mindfulness, healthy eating, and more. Exercising and finding ways to keep yourself busy (like a hobby) are also great ways to control binging. PreventEd has the resources you need to connect you to counseling referral services and community programs.