With Halloween just around the corner and Thanksgiving and Christmas not far behind, it’s time to make yourself a pre-New Year’s resolution – not to put the holiday pounds on int the first place.
That’s easier to keep than you think.
Here’s what happens this time of year
Now that the first day of autumn is past and the days are already feel so much shorter, you’re already in the red zone to put on that first ten pounds.
We (homo sapiens) have a vestigal hibernation cycle that makes us crave fat and carbs during the winter.
Early in the fall, we change our diets, often without realizing it, and start to put on weight to get ready to hibernate, even here in Greater Jacksonville.
In extreme cases, this cycle of hibernation is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Less sunlight and colder temperatures change your brain chemistry so that you feel lethargic and depressed.
Your reactions are slower, and you begin to load up on sweets and chips and heavier foods that help stimulate the hippocampus moderate your mood.
About ten pounds later, you feel better – until you realize that your favorite jeans won’t zip.
Two ways to fight SAD
- Get as much sunlight as possible during the fall and winter to help stimulate production of vitamin D in your skin.
- Eat the same way you should eat during spring and summer.
Have a high protein salad for lunch instead of a cheeseburger and fries.
For dinner, try Italian seafood with a tomato-based sauce.
Drink some damn orange juice. There’s plenty of it.
It’s just like Dr. Oz® told you
Metabolism – the speed at which our bodies run – varies with the seasons.
Eating leaner, denser proteins, low-fat dairy products, fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens) and good carbs from whole grains like quinoa and flax and legumes helps speed up the metabolism so that we have more energy.
If effect, we can duplicate the good effects of long summer days by synthesizing sunshine inside our bodies.
We in GreaterJax™ are lucky.
The long Florida growing season means that our winter diet can be much more varied than many other places in the country and that we have access to almost all of the foods we eat during spring and fall.
Sometimes called the “Mediterranean” diet, a varied, lighter diet helps the body use food energy much more efficiently and keep electrolytes, bio-chemicals that help regulate brain activity and heart function, balanced.
Blood sugar stays lower.
Blood pressure stays lower.
We crave fats, sweets and caffeine far less.
Celebrate the holidays responsibly
Load up on your favorites on Thanksgiving and Christmas, then go back to making your own sunshine with lighter, denser proteins like seafood and fresh vegetables.
You’ll miss the worst of your winter blues and save yourself the price of bigger blue jeans.