Eating More This Winter? You’re Not Alone!

By Lisa Claudia Briggs
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9ae466af5fb77059943591de468202f3Are you eating more this winter?

This year I have heard concerns from many of you who feel that you are eating more this winter and struggling with overeating and weight gain maybe more than other years.

This winter is seriously cold, and from what I’ve heard it’s been that way for most of the country! And it doesn’t motivate most of us to get outside or to be active or to seek out light fresh foods.

And truly, that’s not what winter’s about anyway.

When I hear about people making green juice for breakfast and loading up on smoothies, or trying to eat more “raw,” I cringe a little. It seems a little off to me when it’s cold outside. Not satisfying.

Winter is about hibernating

We are programmed deep in our biology to want to hunker down during these shorter, colder days. To be attracted to heavier and heartier foods that warm and comfort us. Even to add a bit of weight to help us stay warm. It’s nature’s way.

Fighting what’s natural, fighting your evolved tendencies… can be a bit uphill. There are seasons for everything, and typically, winter isn’t the friendliest season for weight loss. If you look at nature as a role model, winter is a time of dormancy… of storing up energy in order to burst forth into activity and growth and beauty in a couple of months.

What if you went with nature?

Try to get out of the struggle, because struggling doesn’t help in any season. As I see it there are two ways to get through the rest of winter feeling good.

Way #1: Stop fighting, stay in the present and find a way to fall in love with winter instead of pushing it away.

  • Craving heavier comfort foods? Find the best recipes you can for the crockpot – hearty stews, chili and delicious roasted vegetables that are ultra-satisfying this time of year.
  • Feeling tired and restless? Find as many ways to be cozy as you can. Put comfortable blankets on the backs of every chair, invest in some really good warm socks. Make sure you have nice flannel sheets.
  • Find a winter activity that disappears when the ice and snow do. Ice skating on a local pond, snow-shoeing (the Green Mountain women are definitely out clomping around this winter and come back so rosy-cheeked and energized and happy afterwards), maybe even downhill skiing.

Way #2: If you just can’t deal with anymore of winter this year, there is another way. Start creating little bits of spring.

  • Try “forcing” branches. Gather branches from outdoor trees that typically flower and put them in tepid water in big vases to allow them to bloom indoors (you might want to Google instructions on this).
  • Create a tabletop of spring. I used to do this every February. Go to your local nursery and buy a bunch of small houseplants and pot them in pretty containers. Include some that have blossoms for color. Just getting your hands in the dirt when you pot them will wake up your senses, ground you and may do the trick.
  • Add some color to your plate. I love pesto… just made a batch of lemon/parsley /basil/almond/garlic and put it on beautiful roasted carrots… so good.
  • Try a mani/pedi with summer colored polishes. Whatever gives you a little lift, do it.

The very best part of winter for many of us is… spring!

It’s mid-February and one way or another it will soon be over. Going from the feeling of heaviness and the cocoon into the lighter energies of springtime is probably sweetest for us that live with colder winters. I always wonder if I would love spring with the same passion if not for winter.

But for now, remind yourself that each season has it’s own unique beauty and opportunities for us to care for ourselves. Immersing yourself in ways that make you feel nourished and well and that help you make peace with what is. And of course I want that for you.

Tricks for moving through long cold winters with more ease? Please (oh please) share with us in the comments section below!

Photo courtesy of myboomerplace.com.

8 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Harriet Krivit says:

    Hi Lisa….Me? REGARDLESS OF SEASON…”The Beat Goes On”

  • Marsha Hudnall says:

    Such great insight, Lisa! Thank you for sharing it…and reminding us spring is really just around the corner! Although I love the snow right now, too.

  • Hi Marsha! I am loving my winter recipes right now, and my husband is about to get me a pair of snow-shoes so I can join him in his favorite new winter sport, which I know you have been loving as well. Around here, making peace with winter is essential, and it has its own beauty for sure. More snow coming tomorrow (pretend I am smiling as I say that!)

  • Hi Harriet! Now I have Sonny and Cher stuck in my head…Having lived in New England forever the seasons are a favorite part of life for me, although every winter seems a bit long this time of year. Glad you are staying upbeat!

  • Cindy says:

    Great post, Lisa. You made me feel all toasty and warm (on the inside!) on this very cold (albeit sunny), Vermont Monday. Love the blooming twig idea. Didn’t know you could do that. Can’t wait for the flowers…especially the daffodils and iris.

  • Cindy that post was just in time for …more snow! Forcing branches is very cool.. we can do some here in the offices if there are any flowering trees nearby. I love the early spring flowers too, crocus and grape hyacinth especially.

  • beverlydame says:

    Did I need that! And remember that there is a thing called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Not enough sun makes some of us depressed or worsens depression. Figuring out how to get the endorphins going is tough since most winter sports seem to involve the risk of fracture or dismemberment. Time for a treadmill?

  • Hi Beverly- yes! SAD is well known in northern climes and is very common…getting more light especially early in the day, in addition to finding ways to move earlier in the day both can help greatly. Even sitting by sunny windows makes a difference. I have always recommended the sunshine simulating lights which I’ve personally found helpful for years, I use one by Verilux called Happy Light.. about 30 minutes in the morning does it. Winter sports aren’t for everyone, there are many way to be active indoors and now there are even big selections of yoga and other fitness classes online that you can get for low monthly subscription fees (like $10/month). Thanks for commenting!

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