First, let's start desensitizing the word "FAT"... end the stigma here and now!! We all have fat compounds in our bodies. Some have small fat cells, and some have larger fat cells.
When someone "loses weight," the fat cells shrink, they don't go away, and weight is a sign or symptom of underlying root causes-- it's not a CONDITION or AILMENT! Remember, these fat cells don't determine our worth like society makes us believe it does. So no matter if you gain weight this past winter, this post isn't to shame but to educate and be informative.
So let's dive into what happens with our bodies during the winter months.....
As fall closed, most people were squeezing in as much shopping for the holiday season to avoid the last-minute rushes at their local stores. Winter is also the start of the holiday season, which means lots of calorie-laden foods, like egg nog, turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cookies.
For many, this could mean weight gain, fatigue, lack of energy, and so much more.
Many people also start going into hibernation mode come dropping temps. We tend to eat heavier foods, an innate primitive survival instinct to get through the winter months when food was scarce back in the day. It was necessary to gain (more) weight before and during certain parts of the winter months. Most would cozy up and hunker down, which we still do today.
Due to numerous holiday parties from Thanksgiving to Christmas-work parties, family parties, drinks with your girlfriends, neighborhood potlucks, Yankee swaps. The list goes on. And when you think it will slow down, Christmas arrives, leading you into New Year’s Eve and topping it off with Valentine's Day-- coming up in a couple of days!!
Holy moly, we may gain weight! Continuous months of indulging and mindless eating and drinking could allow this to happen. Please note there is nothing wrong with these indulges, but at some point, we want to move back to more mindful ways of eating and drinking without judgment.
So, how are you going to handle winter ending?
Fear not. Winter can be an excellent time to reemerge while leading into the lightness of spring. With winter coming to an end, it doesn't hurt to start looking at a few things.
Did you forget to get your vitamin D this winter? When the days get their shortest come winter, it's best to ensure you consume enough vitamin D-rich foods. These foods include but are not limited to dairy products (milk, cheese), vegetables (mushrooms), and fish (salmon, cod). Another source of vitamin D is sunlight, so get out there, even in the cold, and get your sunshine, if only for 10 minutes per day. This will help with depression and anxiety and will help with fatigue or lack of energy so that you can get moving.
Moving your booty and continuing exercising regularly is another essential component to winter health that seems to become "forgotten" when it's cold outside. It can be as simple as walking out in the snowy terrain.
Whether to include movement daily in the winter months, and sometimes you may not feel like it due to the cold weather, but hydrate, hydrate. Water is still vital in the winter colds to keep your various organs like breathing and digestion going, plus water regulates the body's temperature.
Lastly, there is no reason why you shouldn't enjoy winter foods. Move toward warming winter foods and emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings, including ginger and peppercorns.
Here is a list of the seasonal foods of winter:
Avocado, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Endive, Escarole, Fennel, Grapefruit, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichoke, Kale, Kiwi, Kohlrabi, Kumquats, Leeks, Lemons, Mandarin Oranges, Onions, Oranges, Parsnips, Pears, Persimmons, Potatoes, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Satsumas, Shallots, Sweet Potatoes, Tangerines, Turnips, Winter Squash*
(*These were found using the following link, where you can learn more about seasonal produce: http://localfoods.about.com/od/whatsinseason/a/WinterFruitVeg.htm)
Enjoy them all. Try new things. Remember, don’t let the couch lure you into curling up all winter long- find balance with the couch and other winter activities like skiing, sledding, walking, and plain old playing in the snow if you live in an area that snows.
Sharing this winter recipe from the "Monthly Recipe Club" that would be an excellent addition for the cold months-
Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup (yummy on cold nights with added grilled cheese sandwiches)
1 hour 13 Ingredients
7 Tomato (sliced into quarters)
2 Sweet Onion (coarsely chopped)
4 Garlic (cloves, peeled)
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups Vegetable Broth
1 tbsp Thyme
1 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Basil Leaves (chopped)
1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup Baby Spinach (chopped)
Preheat the oven to 410ºF (210ºC). Toss your tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves in olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Place on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
In the meantime, add your vegetable broth, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, basil leaves, and apple cider vinegar to a large stockpot. When your veggies are roasting, add them to your stock pot. Stir in almond milk.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend in batches until pureed. Ensure you leave a place for the steam to escape to avoid the lid bursting off during blending.
Transfer pureed soup back to stock pot and warm through over low heat. Serve topped with chopped spinach and a slice of bread for dipping.
Leftovers- Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to four days. Freeze for up to three months.