#95 Weight gain and the winter blues
Do you gain weight every winter and then have to try and diet it off before summer and the beach?
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a real thing. It is more common in women than men and the further away from the equator you live the more likely you are to suffer with it. It usually starts in late autumn or early winter.
It is thought to be caused by fewer daylight hours decreasing serotonin and melatonin levels.
- Low energy
- Low mood ranging from the winter blues to depression
- Feeling sluggish, irritable and unable to concentrate
- Disrupted sleep
- Increased or decreased appetite but often craving carbohydrates
These symptoms may lead to:
- Lack of self-care
- Poor food choices
- Lack of food planning
- Little or no exercise
- Seeking comfort food
- Hiding in winter clothes
And of course all of the above just further decrease your mood and you completely lose your health and fitness mojo until spring, when you find yourself wearing an extra few kilos.
So what can you do to avoid the SADS?
- In Scandinavian countries, light therapy is often used. In fact, even in England, I can remember people using light boxes daily throughout winter to increase mood.
- Get outside daily. Even on a cloudy day getting outside helps. Morning light is especially effective.
- Exercise. Move your body. Exercise increases feel-good endorphins improving your mood, sleep and energy levels
What about food? Some foods affect neurotransmitters helping with mood.
- Get plenty of dark leafy green vegetables. Spinach, kale, silverbeets
- High fibre low GI carbohydrates. Kumara, quinoa, brown rice, whole grains
- Pair lean proteins with these carbs tofu, lean meat, nuts, eggs and fish
- Kiwi fruit, oranges, broccoli. All fruits and veggies
- Omega 3's from oily fish or walnuts, chia, flaxseed
- Great winter soups with kumara or pumpkin
- Increase fermented foods for a healthy microbiome
- B12 & Vitamin D supplementation if necessary
- Dark chocolate for a dopamine hit!
Lose weight this winter!
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