As the leaves change color and the temperatures dip, the flavors of the seasons change and so do our indulgences of cooler weather comfort food. It is no surprise that fall and Winter “take the cake” as the fattest time of year. According to a number of surveys, people gain at least 5-7 lbs. during the fall (starting in Sept) and roll into the December holidays as the fattest month of the year. All it takes is an extra 100 calories per day to pack on 10 pounds a year and what’s worse, is that studies show we are not loosing these extra pounds as each year passes.
The best strategy for your health is to avoid the weight gain altogether, by enjoying healthy, light, fall foods, limit heavy “comfort” foods and keep active. Those healthy bodies we worked so hard to achieve and sustain through out the Summer are now beginning to hide behind larger shirts, Autumn sweaters, and taller boots.
Even though a few extra pounds may not seem much under the Winter layers, all those finger foods and heavy meals will be sticking around and much more difficult to loose come the New Year.
Short days, long nights, and colder weather can trigger our hibernation mode and though staying bundled up in front of the fire with some hot cocoa sounds nice, choosing a more sedentary behavior, staying indoors and snacking in front of the TV, can only lead to an expanding waist line, lack of energy, and a decline in your health.
“Contrary to popular belief, there’s no scientific evidence to prove that we are biologically inclined to gain weight in the colder months. Unless you’re a bear, that is. We do know that in [hibernating] animals there are seasonal changes in hunger hormones, but there really is nothing to suggest that that’s true in people.” says Dr. Yoni Freedhoff.
If your prone to weight gain, lack of energy and maybe
the Winter blahhhhs, here are a few tips:
SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder)
A type of depression that happens to some in the darker, winter months. People who struggle with their moods at this time tend to eat more high calorie, higher carb comfort foods.
“We know that food itself is a comfort as far as mood goes, because it actually impacts the same circuitry of the brain as drugs do. So people use food medicinally to make themselves feel better,”Dr Freedhoff says. If you feel you have SAD, seek help and talk to your health practitioner.
If you are into the Winter sports then this season is your healthy and happy place. If your not, and you’d rather curl up on the couch then you may be less active which brings your fitness (and calorie burn) on the lower end of optimal. Picking something that you enjoy, even if the weather isn’t to your liking. Maybe it’s something like ice skating, sledding, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, getting into the gym, aerobic classes, or even a walk after dinner. Get those endorphins moving, blood flowing, and set up an exercise routine that you can follow no matter what weather you may encounter.
Holidays bring on celebrations, shifts in schedules, temperature changes, and sometimes mood swings. Giving thought to what foods your choosing to eat (and why) this will help with overeating. Are you really hungry? bored? Obliged? stressed? Don’t set yourself up for failure to over indulge on the wrong foods. Much of our eating is not related to hunger actually, the more variety of foods available at a meal, the more likely you are to eat more.
Limit your choices to what you know are healthy and what you like.
Some more helpful hints:
- Don’t go to a party hungry. Setting yourself up for a low blood sugar attack and then feel as if you’ve failed and blow the night to smithereens is a pattern many fall into. If your hungry before, have a low sugar fruit ( berries, apple, melon) or veggies ( carrots, celery) , or small a protein snack ( raw walnuts or almonds)to keep the wolf from the door.
- Chew slowly to enjoy each mouthful and allow your brain time to get the signal that you are full. It takes 15-20 minutes from the time you eat something for your stomach to acknowledge your food.
- Winter cleansing: Clean out all those temptation foods that are lurking in your pantry. If it has a long shelf life it is most likely carb loaded, loaded with additives, preservatives, and you don’t want to put that in your body anyway.
- Remember your lean protein ( fish, pastured meat, org chicken, eggs, org tofu, tempeh) and your good complex carbs from low sugar fruits and veggies( not brownies, simple carb snacks, processed or packaged foods) This will keep you happy, satiated, and you will soon be saying “ goodbye” to those sugar cravings.
- Plan ahead and have healthy options to choose from. You will be more likely to eat better if you have it and see it in front of you.
- Resist putting out that holiday candy bowl. A beautiful bowl of colorful fruit or a healthy homemade treat would be appreciated by many.
- Cook at Home
Did you know most people eat 40% more when dining out ?
You will stay healthier and probably enjoy the food that you have made because it is exactly how you want it ,fresh, healthy, and well portioned.
- If you decide to eat something you maybe shouldn’t have / or wished you didn’t… move on. No need to despair and ruin the day, week or month. Make better choices next time and try to stick to them.
- Drink water, sparkling mineral water, kombucha, or a green tea
Don’t fall into the trap of heavier, creamier, bad fat laden foods as well as Fall drinks such as pumpkin-spice lattes, eggnog, apple cider, and hot toddies( a quick and easy way to take in lots of extra calories that don’t do your body any good)
- Limit your alcohol.
Plan on when and what you will drink .Tell yourself a head of time what that limit is so you won’t be tempted or swayed as the evening goes on. Most people are actually dehydrated and that first glass or two are to quench thirst. Make an effort to drink a few glasses of water before hand.
Remember to enjoy this season and be grateful that YOU
have the choice when it comes to your health.
Whole Body Beautiful NEWS!!
November is men’s health month and I am pledging a dollar/ mile for every mile I run to the Movember foundation.
The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising $650 million and funding over 1,000 programs focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
Wont you join me and get active this month, grow your #Movember mustache, and/ or donate to the cause.
Take a look at my donation page to learn more.
Thank you for your support.
Coeur Sport Ambassador 2016
As an endurance runner it is always a great honor and pleasure to be supported by a great team, good spirit and awesome apparel. This coming year I will be representing Coeur Sports. Their mission is to make the highest performance, most comfortable, and most stylish women’s triathlon clothing, cycling shorts, jerseys, run gear, swim, and lifestyle clothing in the market.
Their motto, “Heart and Courage” something I try to live by.
Check out their website at http://www.coeursports.com
Saying goodbye to the Real Food and Beyond Podcast
I have decided to let my partner BJ Tucker take over our Podcast Real Food and Beyond and focus on my book, clients and other projects. But I am not finished for good, as I will one day soon return to the airwaves.
I Will keep you posted.
Good luck BJ