How to avoid gaining winter weight

Written by Kajsa IngelssonNovember 14, 2018

Let’s face it, summer is way over and it’s starting to get real dark and cold. It makes me want to build a nest in my pantry, forever snacking on every and anything, only leaving to go to the bathroom and pop some more baked goods in the oven.

Are you feeling me on this one? I think yes, because there’s a biological explanation you see!

Each fall, our ancestors would greatly increase their fruit, grain, nut and seed intake. This intake of excess calories would accomplish winter insulation and energy storage—as the famine of winter was just around the corner.

It makes total sense if you are living in the forest without any heat. Most of us don’t need to gear up for a winter famine with extra insulation anymore though… So how do we adapt and hack our bodies desire to get juicy?

As I am a fan of making things easy I broke it down into 7 steps;

1. Fasting.

When being fed every two to three hours, your body is not encouraged to burn any of its stored fat for energy. That’s why I fast from 8pm to 12pm the next day. I also avoid snacking throughout the day. Why? Well, there’s this little guy, let’s call him Benny, who lives in your stomach. He cleans it between meals, sort of like a streetsweeper. Everytime you chew Benny immediatly stops what he’s doing and goes back into the breakroom. If you are always eating, you never give him enough time to sweep you clean. Not very nice to him or to yourself.

2. Sleep.

Reconnect with the natural light/dark cycles. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, our bodies are designed to produce more melatonin and sleep more. Melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland during the dark cycles, not only puts us to sleep, but it can also support healthy weight loss. Reduce your exposure to artificial light (screens) at night and allow yourself to tuck in early.

3. Drink enough!

I feel like it’s easy to forget to drink as the temperatures drop. I’m just not as thirsty when i’m not sweating hot. The thing is, our brain’s have a hard time distinguishing between thirst and hunger, so it’s easy to mistake the first for the latter leading to overeating. Make sure to always have your water bottle with you, and drink plenty of tea throughout the day.

4. Incorporate fall foods.

It’s better for both our climate and for you to buy produce in season. Sure, the holiday season is full of calorie-rich foods to consume, but there are also detox and weight-loss foods being harvested.

Cleansing roots such as dandelion, burdock, turmeric and ginger are really good as teas and they help to flush your liver from toxins. Make nice curries and stews on root- veggies with lentils and beans to keep you warm and full throughout the day.

5. Exercise outside and get more sun.

I make sure to get outside and walk Mr. Tiny first thing in the morning. The first morning sunlight instantly blocks any lingering melatonin production during the day, making room for more calorie-burning energy and a better night’s sleep.

The less melatonin you make during the day, the more you make at night. Nighttime melatonin helps you lose weight, and daytime melatonin production helps you gain it.

6. Get your vitamin D in!

Optimal levels of vitamin D have been shown to support healthy weight loss. This vitamin is also known as the sun vitamin. You need approx 30 min of sun exposure with 80% of your body being uncovered each day to get enough of this vital nutrient from the sun. Needless to say, this is not happening during the winter. Add a good vitamin D supplement to your diet to make sure that you keep your levels where they should be (between 50-80 ng/mL).

7. Have a long term goal.

I found this step to be oh so important to beat the winter blues. It can be anything from a sexy boudoir shot, a winter vacay to somewhere warm, weekly steamy dates with someone special or just concrete dream body and health goals for next summer. Why not all of the above?

Make a vision board and put it up somewhere in your home or on your desktop and manifest it with words, thoughts and actions. A little note on this one; make sure that it’s really your dreams and goals and not something placed upon you by society. We are all one but not designed to look the same; my healthiest body might look very different from yours. Show yourself love and compassion instead of whipping yourself into a mold that don’t fit you to begin with.