They say, summer bodies are made in the winter. We scream and ask, how? Because everyone knows how winter can make us ditch the workouts for a snuggly time in the comfort of those warm quilts with a cup of hot chocolate to sip on for the added coziness. And given how this year, winter just refuses to relent a summer body is a far cry for most of us.
Not to mention, the unnecessary food cravings, especially for carbs and sugar, and a strangely increased appetite can totally mess up our calorie count. The result? Well, it might be hidden in the warm confines of your jacket for a few months, but eventually that extra flabs here and there will eventually show in those cute summer tops.
But why do you crave for more food during the winter?
Dr. N. Vijayashree, chief dietitian, MGM Healthcare, Chennai blames shorter days and longer nights in the winter for this. Now, the appetite-suppressing hormone serotonin happens to be in sync with sunlight. Since the sun sets earlier than usual in the winter, our body secretes a lesser amount of serotonin as opposed to summer. Hence, you might feel hungrier in the chilly winter days.
Moreover, the body needs more energy from food to maintain a suitable temperature and stay warm in the chilly weather
In fact, change of season could also lead to depression in many people and encourage them to indulge in emotional eating to combat the sadness and the mood swings. Additionally, drinking less water during the winter can make us take thirst for hunger too.
Don’t lose hope: You can emerge stronger
Avni Kaul, nutritionist, wellness coach, and founder of NutriActivania suggests the following to help you beat winter cravings:
Eat full meals: When you skip meals, you are more likely to overeat at meals you eat afterwards and are more likely to eat mindlessly.
Don’t cut down your dietary fat intake: Cutting fat out of your diet may seem like an obvious step towards weight loss. However, this can backfire, especially during the winter as your body needs fat more than ever to beat the chill. Hence, include foods rich in healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in foods such as nuts, olive oil, flaxseeds etc.
Light up your house well: Lack of light during winter time can lead to sadness in many people, which in turn can lead to emotional eating. So, make sure your house is well-lit, especially during evening time.
Don’t give up on exercise: You can allow yourself an extra rest day, but don’t give up on your workout completely just because the weather encourages laziness. After all, exercising is a proven way of controlling food cravings.
Find suitable substitutes to satisfy your cravings: How about making your hot chocolate with skimmed or almond milk instead of full-cream one? Or using jaggery instead of sugar for your sweet cravings? Or having a bowl of hot soup to satisfy your hunger? Ladies, you know what? These small changes can actually take you a long way.