As autumn gives way to winter, you may notice strange urges surfacing…
After a summer of healthy eating, lots of vegetables, and quality training you may find yourself feeling a little less motivated right now. Racing season is coming to a close, the weather is cooler, and this little voice starts piping up…
”I want more pasta!”
“I’ll be fine once I get some extra cheesy potatoes!”
“Give me the chocolate, son, and nobody gets hurt!”
This, coupled with a desire to stay in bed longer, watch more movies and skimp out of workouts bring many women into a panic. The threat of completely losing all one has worked for seems imminent.
Relax, Sister! It’s all seasonal.
The shortened daylight hours and cooler temperatures create very real physiological changes in our bodies. Sunlight directly influences the brain’s production of serotonin, and in lieu of that source, the infinite wisdom of our body guides us to the next most reliable source – carbohydrates. Here are some ways to work with the season, rather than have the season work against you:
Allow yourself to have more healthy carbohydrates to compensate for lack of summer sun – whole grains, potatoes with skins, yams, parsnips, carrots and other starchy vegetables are nourishing and conveniently come into season right about now. (fancy that!) Roasted root vegetables are a fantastic seasonal food that can quell the desire to dive into a kiddie pool of fettuccine alfredo.
If you live in northern climes, consider a full-spectrum bulb and/or daylight simulating alarm clock. Many of my clients reports boosts in energy and reduction in cravings from just this change alone.
Consider living with the seasons: as soon as I came to understand that my homo sapien body required a period of semi-dormancy, I stopped demanding a full-throttle schedule in the winter months. I pull back on my training for 2-3 months and enter a maintenance phase, reduce my extracurricular activities to ones which are most nourishing (more time with loved ones, less time at networking events) and say ‘no’ to a fair amount of holiday celebrations that could potentially consume every weekend until January. I also give myself more opportunities to sleep in and go to bed early. Now those nightmares of being an unstoppable force at the all-you-can-eat pasta buffet are a thing of the past and my overall lifestyle is far more balanced by taking the natural cycles of Earth and my own body into consideration.
What are some of your cravings popping up? How are you creatively managing them? I would love to hear both your challenges and your successes in working around holiday and winter cravings!