Don’t use winter as an excuse to eat all the wrong foods…
Winter can be a tricky time to navigate on a weight loss plan, tricky but definitely not impossible. In fact, with a few simple tweaks you can actually lose weight during winter. One of the keys to getting through winter without weight gain is to manage the winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While it’s not as prevalent here in Australia as it is in European countries, it can still affect your mood and wreak havoc on the scales if you resort to comfort eating.
Here are 10 simple tips to help you manage the winter blues without comfort eating:
- Get outside: Make an effort to spend time outdoors during daylight hours. Even if it’s overcast, natural light can still be beneficial. Take walks, go for a hike, or maybe play a game of tennis or golf to boost your mood.
- Stay active: Regular exercise has been shown to combat depressive symptoms. Find indoor activities you enjoy, such as yoga, dancing, or indoor sports. If possible, try to incorporate some outdoor exercise as well.
- Eat a balanced diet: Focus on consuming nutritious foods that support your mental well-being without adding unnecessary calories and fats to your day. Don’t skip breakfast, there are 21 sweet and savoury winter breakfast ideas HERE. Make a nutritious pot of soup for your winter lunches and serve with a slice of grainy bread. Choose from 24 healthy homemade soups in my cookbooks. Make dinners from my 9 cookbooks, check the difficulty rating and cooking time so you choose meals that are easy to make in the time you have available. Grab a copy of my Winter Warmer eBook if you want a 14-Day winter menu plan to follow.
- Establish a daily routine and stick to it: Having a structured schedule can help you stay motivated and focused. If your danger time for comfort eating is in the evening, keep a small snack to eat after dinner and then clean your teeth to discourage you from eating more. My Wicked Chocolate Shake is a perfect guilt free way to enjoy hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night.
- Connect with loved ones, friends, or support groups: Engage in activities together, whether it’s a cozy movie night or a winter-themed gathering. Social interaction can uplift your mood and combat feelings of isolation.
- Practice self-care: Prioritise self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Engage in activities like reading, taking warm baths, listening to music, or practicing mindfulness and meditation.
- Take up a hobby: If you’re tempted to reach for foods that will derail your weight loss efforts, do something to keep your hands busy. When I was losing my weight I used to sew, these days I love to crochet or do jigsaw puzzles. There are so many healthy ways to keep your mind occupied that don’t involve food, maybe it’s time to learn a new skill, I’m thinking about learning to play the piano.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine: While alcohol and caffeine may provide temporary relief, they can worsen symptoms of depression and disrupt your sleep. Choose healthier alternatives like herbal tea or warm water with slices of lemon.
- Seek professional help if needed: There’s no shame in reaching out to a mental health professional. They can provide you with appropriate guidance, therapy, or medication if necessary. You might also like to visit the Beyond Blue website for help.
- Practice gratitude: Cultivating a mindset of gratitude can help shift your focus towards positive aspects of life. Take time each day to reflect on things you are grateful for, no matter how small they may seem.
Remember, everyone’s experience with the winter blues is unique. It’s essential to listen to your body, be patient with yourself, and seek the support you need to navigate this challenging time.
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