HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR S.A.D.
I think the most important thing outside of getting active (which I will talk about in next weeks blog) is making sure you stay healthy through eating the right foods. This is because if you are just too down on winter love to get out of the house, you can at least do yourself the favor of staying fifty percent healthier by eating the right food to fuel you correctly through winter.
When the winter hits, you immediately increase cravings for starchy and refined carbs and sugars usually followed by high fat foods for good measure. In my own opinion I think there are two reasons for this.
1. We take comfort in food at moments of stress and anxiety at the best of times, with our consumption sometimes increasing two fold. Add the dark mornings, cold days and dark nights, this can only be elevated and with the usual adage of work and life pressures it doesn’t bode well for eating clean.
2. In winter, our bodies almost prepare for the months ahead by using food as a bear would to sustain energy levels through calories and insulation, similarly to hibernation.
If bears sleep through the worst part of the year isn’t it obvious why we don’t deal well with winter? I’m not saying everyone is like this. On the contrary I know some people who love the winter. And I must admit, so do I but only to a certain extent. There is Christmas to look forward to and the build up to it, but in the January and February months I think it becomes more severe with temperatures dropping and most people trying to take holidays to get some winter sun in order to re-energise them through some good vitamin D amongst other things.
It’s so important to do your best to stay off the fatty and sugary foods because it is this slippery slope that will lead you to more sluggishness as the energy they release will only be short lived and actually make your symptoms worse through sugar crashes and weight gain!
Complex carbs should be eaten so for example that lovely warm bowl of porridge in the morning with some added flax seed oil to increase slow release of the good carbs and blueberries for anti oxidants to give that immune system a good dose of loving.
It’s vital to remember to also take all your fruit and vitamins before that first cup of tea or coffee in the morning as the uptake of caffeine directly affects the uptake and absorption of some vitamins, especially vitamin C!
Instead of getting stuck into tea and biscuits for that mid morning snack, go for instead, some good fats in nuts and seeds with one piece of fruit for that sugar rush you so badly want.
Lunch should contain some good quality protein with either vegetables and more slow release carbs but if you can handle a cold salad in winter the be my guest. Just so long as it’s homemade, and contains no full fat dressings.
For dinner I would always recommend something light as it is this time that we are at our least active, and if your not getting into the gym you don’t want excess stores of glycogen being unused and becoming excess to your requirements and adding extra calories leading to weight gain.
I for one am most definitely not a carb hater. We need them in our diet for energy and as I always say to clients, if Jesus really did feed the five thousand, how many asked for something else in their state of hunger to request something low carb or gluten free bread? As long as its controlled and adequately monitored through portion size you can have a slice of organic bread with what I would recommend to a main evening meal of a hearty wholesome, comforting and mood lifting bowl of homemade soup.
If you do get a little peckish later, then why not go for a warm glass of low fat milk before bed as (the great sports science researcher Yann Le Meur puts in his info graphic posters) it is shown to assist in sleep and should be part of a sleep hygiene system for any athlete. So why not for a non-athlete? Unless your lactose intolerant of course. In which case I’d say, some magnesium and zinc tablets before bed to aid recovery, boost the immune system and aid sleep.