Seasonal appetite: how to eat during the cold season and not gain weight by the spring?
Increased appetite against the background of the autumn-winter season is seen as yet another necessary evil in addition to weather trouble. Cold and hunger are not just two words looking bad together, they also depict a physiological and psychological interdependence. Why it exists and what is the price you can pay to cope with it without gaining extra pounds during the winter?
Chemical changes, caused by lack of sunlight and cold climate, make us experience increased hunger and seek refuge in endless snack and more fatty, hearty food…
The temperature falls, and the appetite increases. Why?
Irresistible desire to chew something on a background of the falling stem of the thermometer is not a myth. In fact, poor self-discipline may have nothing to do with it. In the scientific literature, the phenomenon that causes, including increased appetite, is described under the name of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or simply fall-winter depression.
Morning dawns late, it gets dark early in the evening, and gloomy dank days between these two points drag with constant hunger and the feeling that your stomach is empty.
In the northern states of the USA, this disorder affects about 20% of the population (in 2% SAD takes a severe form that requires professional care). In the opposite side of the ocean, such statistics are not kept, but it is easy to assume that people feel the same all over the world in such period.
On both sides of the ocean, people react the same – lack of heat and reduction of serotonin levels is compensated by frequent consultations with doctor Fridge, which treats increased appetite with proven tools.
Studies have shown:
- brain simulates the feeling of happiness, when you consume high-calorie, fatty foods.
However, hunger is weakened only for a moment, but the consequences of the “happiness” are deposited for a long time.
In autumn and winter such desires become even more apparent, because your body responds to the decrease in outside temperatures and semiconsciously applies to food that is rapidly absorbed. Such food promises to quickly warm you up – sweets, carbohydrates, and fats make you forget that the stomach is empty.
A US nutrition expert, Dr. Riley McAllister, the author of “Healthy Lunch: How can a working mom maintain her health and health of her children”, draws attention to a serious danger:
- the use of sweet, starchy and fatty foods pushes us into a trap, and starts the cycle, during which the blood sugar content grows in leaps, increased appetite is not satisfied, and the body asks for more and more “fast” food.
What should we do? Understand what is happening and help your body cope with childhood memories of warm winter in the arms of grandmother’s pies, and teach it to work effectively on food that is not overloaded with calories and is full of valuable nutrients.
Cold and hunger – what should we eat, if the stomach is constantly “empty”?
According to dietitians, it is the most important meal of the day. By skipping breakfast, we break the metabolic processes (result – dissatisfaction, irritability, weakness, lethargy) and inevitably doom ourselves to snacking and more abundant, than necessary, compensating already increased appetite during lunch.
In cold weather, a serving of oatmeal with nuts and dried fruits will provide a proper right start to the day (alternative – granola with warm or room temperature milk), and will help you muffle the feeling of seasonal hunger for a few hours.
Soup is a perfect meal in terms of diet in any season. Warm liquid not only warms and preserves vitamins and minerals of boiled vegetables, but also fills your empty stomach. A variety of soups and budget availability allow you to introduce this dish in your diet on a regular basis.
Psychologically, a plate of soup is more convincing than a small sandwich, although their caloric value can be approximately equal.
High content of omega acids in soft and delicious sea fish is particularly helpful during the cold season. By providing your nervous system and brain with valuable resources, fish helps fight fall-and-winter depression. In addition, easily digestible fats retain your beauty and save your skin from drying up under the influence of cold winds and central heating.
Seasonal root crops.
Beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radish not only allow storing them for a long time, but also retain their useful properties for several months after harvesting.
- The fiber that roots contain is a reliable means to fill your empty stomach and satisfy your hunger.
For your winter diet plan, choose preferably boiled or steamed vegetables. Due to a proper serving temperature (and in proper cooking – it is important to treat the root vegetables minimum time to keep vitamins), they provide optimal warming and energy effect.
Ginger root, cinnamon, cloves, different types of hot peppers – these spices have a strong warming and invigorating effect and can help you make your dishes more flavorful and tasty, thus helping you enjoy them.
- Ginger, among other things, is also a powerful immune stimulant.
You can get the best of this effect, if you use fresh grated root (steam it and drink as tea, which also helps control the increase of appetite).
Nuts and whole grains.
In any season, it is important to monitor the degree of industrially processing of products and minimize the consumption of:
- white flour,
- polished rice,
- refined sugar,
In cold weather, this rule gets as relevant as ever.
- processed, refined foods contain the most calories and the least valuable nutrients.
Products from whole and minimally processed grains are a storehouse of vitamins and dietary fiber. Besides, they are digested longer and to a fuller extent, and, therefore, constant feeling of hunger weakens. Vitamins that cereals and nuts contain, are essential for maintaining the elasticity of your internal organs and the skin.
It might sound paradoxically, yet cold leads to dehydration. Warm air indoors dries your skin and because of the abundance of clothes we sweat a lot more than we observe.
If you are doing outdoor activities, the risk is further increased. A complete weight loss diet for winter requires you drinking no less than you drink in warmer months, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Drink one – one and a half liters of pure water per day – and let it be at room temperature or warm. Water makes sure that an empty stomach does not disturb you.
Carefully, it’s getting colder! Shopping list revision
- We remove from the bridge: semi-finished products, pies, sauces and mayonnaise salads, sausages, fatty cheeses, confectionery desserts and puddings, and sweet drinks.
- We put into the fridge: sea fish, boiled meat, lettuce, celery, seasonal root vegetables, frozen vegetables, yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese.
Instead of chips, rolls, biscuits, and sweets, eat:
- apple chips,
- nuts (almonds, pine nuts),
- dried fruit,
crispbreads and whole wheat bread.
As a side dish: minus for the potatoes and white rice – plus for steamed vegetables, buckwheat, durum wheat or wholegrain pasta, quinoa, unpolished, wild or black rice.
HOW TO CONTROL APPETITE INCREASE IN AUTUMN AND WINTER?
Keep the track of your liquid consumptions – warm (unsweetened and non-carbonated) liquid eliminates the annoying feeling of hunger.
Practice healthy snacks that are high in protein and fiber, but small in volume.
- For example, cheese and whole grain bread, muesli-bar, crackers with frayed paste of sesame seeds, flax and nuts quickly and reliably satisfy hunger. Protein and fiber “warm up” your body and the comfortable it feels, the less attracted it becomes to simple carbohydrates and fast fats.
Get outside as often as possible, when it’s sunny there.
- The human body synthesizes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. More sun means less gloomy thoughts, and, therefore, your increased appetite takes a back seat.
Eat healthy fats – they are necessary for the absorption of a number of important fat-soluble vitamins (A, K, D, E). Avoiding fats in the cold season, is dangerous, yet you should control their sources. In addition to the already mentioned sea fish and nuts, foods that provide you with beneficial fats, include olives, avocado, tofu, which allow you forget about your empty stomach.
THE FEELING OF HUNGER IN THE COLD: MAJOR MISTAKES
Unlimited tea- and coffee-breaks. Indeed, freshly prepared hot drink dilates blood vessels, and makes your body feel the blissful warmth, and your empty stomach – not less blissful feeling of fullness.
However, where there’s tea and coffee, there is sugar and other simple carbohydrates in form of cakes and sweets – small but insidious. And, while the contents of a hot cup cools, you can safely take care of half a cake…
What to do?
Drink tea, coffee without sugar and track your consumption of milk and cream. Minimize the “appetizers” for tea and coffee breaks. Remember that warm drinks are dietetically more useful than piping hot, because they allow controlling appetite increase. Try switching to high-quality herbal or Chinese teas instead of coffee and black tea that remove water from your body.
By the way, even in office-simplified form, tea ceremony with pu-erh or oolong allows having an excellent short break and gives your hands something to do a lot better than cookies and candies. It also distracts you from hunger.
Junk food. Came running in from the cold, and quickly eat something satisfying! Junk food doesn’t only include deservedly demonized “art” of fast food chains, but, alas,
- the traditional pies and potatoes salads that many families cook for future use and eat in portions that are far from normal;
- hot-dogs, pasta with cheese and sauce.
Filling your empty stomach with empty calories in the cold season, all these products govern a real ball, worm their way into our confidence with their accessibility and giving rapid saturation, and no less rapid weight gain.
What to do? The answer is single:
- Do not buy and do not have the above products at hand, whatever your increased appetite whispers.
In response to this whisper, imagine how each piece of pie is deposited into your waist.
- lettuce salad with a handful of nuts, virgin oil and strips of cheese cooks faster than a sandwich,
- boiled lean beef with horseradish will successfully compete any hot dog,
steamed or boiled vegetables will be on the table faster than pasta,
- rich in fiber seasonal salad will wait for you in the fridge not worse than the potato-mayonnaise masterpiece .
If the desire to enjoy a quick meal and satisfy the insatiable hunger is irresistible, the lesser evil would be Chinese food. But remember: no batter and sauces!
Unbridled gastronomic leisure. Evening type of coffee breaks – meeting at a bar with friends. When the wind howls like a wolf outside, where else would you meet each other after a hard working day, if nnot over a glass of beer or a cocktail?
Caloric content of alcohol is something known. Now, let’s add up to it increased appetite as an additional effect. Even if you bypass the evening bars, very little manage to save themselves from the succession of winter holidays and cold season weekends.
Since all celebrations in autumn and winter, again, usually go indoors, your activity is reduced, and the food often turns from a meeting accompaniment into the main entertainment of guests.
What to do?
Try to change the format of leisure during the cold season. At home, it is also dangerous to sit in front of the TV. When you are on the couch watching something, you put yourself at high risk of a breaking and hitting in chips.
Dancing, exhibitions and social games are just as good in autumn and winter as in warm seasons.
As for holiday feasts, try to operate by a simple rule:
- one visit – one signature dish, which you must carefully try and understand its flavor till the bottom.
It is better to gain the character of an eccentric person, than later suffer from the fact that hunger forced you to go on about it.
SMALL PLEASURES THAT WILL HELP YOU SURVIVE THE COLD WITHOUT SPOILING YOUR WAIST
Strict prohibition of pleasant sweet things, of course, can only exacerbate the fall and winter sadness.
For example, the author of “The Diet of good mood”, nutritionist Susan Kleiner, recommends:
- at bedtime, indulge yourself with a cup of hot chocolate (if hot chocolate doesn’t cause vigor attacks) or milk with honey (if you are not allergic to honey).
DEMI-SEASON WEIGHT: PERMISSIBLE ERROR
Many nutritionists believe: human nature is such that adding a couple of kilos during the cold season is a physiological thing.
“Autumn-winter” weight in most of us decreases also seasonally, with the arrival of spring and its love crushes, everyday activity and elation.
Of course, this does not mean that, counting for the miraculous effect of April rays, you should make fridge your best friend.
Yet, you shouldn’t exacerbate your seasonal depression with worries about a couple of extra pounds that you somehow gained despite all the attention to your lifestyle and eating patterns.