As the dark nights creep in and the days become shorter many of us struggle to look and feel our best as winter kicks in. Staying happy and healthy into the winter months is all about adapting your diet and lifestyle to better suit the cooler and darker nights. Whether we like it or not, summer is over and there’s nothing anyone can do about that – apart from emigrate! So, here’s our advice for how to stay happy and healthy right up until springtime 🌱
⛔ Avoid Seasonal Dieting ⛔
Many of us choose to yoyo between extreme summer diets and letting ourselves go in the winter months, those big-knit jumpers and fleecy onesies can hide a multitude of sins after all! But just because your body isn’t on show as much during winter doesn’t mean you should pile on the pounds at the cost of your health. I repeat, winter bulking is NOT a thing!
Instead, it’s much better to look after yourself and follow a (mostly) healthy lifestyle year-round. What’s more, staying fit and optimally nourished throughout winter means you won’t feel you have any body woes to sort out come summer. This will help you to be the most comfortable and confident version of yourself whatever the weather! Read more about the many amazing benefits of ditching the diet mentality here.
💡Make the Most of Daylight 💡
One of the trickiest things for many of us come winter is the lack of natural daylight. Daylight has been shown to lift our mood, give us motivation and also keep us healthy through the provision of Vitamin D. So, as the sunset comes sooner in autumn it can be hard to adjust. In fact, some people suffer with something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD to you and me), a type of depression most prominent during winter. SAD can cause a lack of energy, low mood and even cause weight gain through increased carb cravings.
To minimise the impact of lower daylight levels on your mood and health, make the most of what daytime there is. Try adapting your commute to involve more time outdoors, getting out and about on breaks at work and including some time outdoors at weekends. Those who struggle most can also invest in a UV lamp to simulate sunlight indoors or, better yet, book a holiday for some winter sun and a bargain break!
🏃♀️ Adapt your Exercise Routine 🏃♀️
Whether you’re a gym bunny, fitness class addict or keen runner – rethinking your exercise regime can help to keep you both happy and healthy in the winter months. It can be all too easy to hibernate and stay indoors with the mostly bad weather, but this can stop you from keeping motivated and getting the movement you need each day. Let’s face it, when it’s cold, dark and raining – the duvet has a greater magnetic pull than the dumbbells!
There are some plus points to getting outdoors in the autumn and winter months though. For one, the cooler weather makes it easier for you to workout, increasing your stamina and helping you to go further for longer. Also, if it is raining (this could well be the case, right) this is Mother Nature’s way of keeping you cool and even hydrated, as you don’t lose as much fluid in lower temperatures. Plus, what’s more invigorating and rewarding than a long run or cycle in the rain followed by a hot bath and fluffy pyjamas?!
Don’t let the inevitable bad weather interrupt your healthy lifestyle, either embrace the great outdoors or find an indoor alternative to your usual routine. Remember, most gyms will offer a month-by-month or 3-month membership, so you can keep up the pace and keep indoors throughout winter if that’s more your thing!
🍴Comfort Food Doesn’t Have to be Unhealthy 🍴
The nights cut in and before you know it it’s Baileys hot chocolate and deep-fried camembert all-round! There’s no time of year that screams feast more so than winter! After a hard day’s work and a commute home in the dark it’s all too easy to convince yourself that nothing else will do other than comfort food.
We aren’t here to tell you to stick to the salads and avoid temptation. After all, we all deserve a treat whatever the time of year. Instead, we recommend trying to create your own comfort food that is as good for you as it tastes. There’s a whole spectrum of tasty and healthy winter foods, we’re looking at you tummy warming soups and slow-cooker feasts! Not only will these keep you satisfied but they’re also packed with immune-boosting nutrients to help fight off winter illness.
Remember, you can also make your own tasty treats and beautiful bakes to treat yourself without the guilt. Using natural sugar replacements such as our award winning Erythritol means you can enjoy all the taste and sweetness with none of the sugar or calories, keeping your recipes tasting their best without the guilt! Check out some amazing sugar-free recipes here!
🎉 Don’t Out-Party Yourself! 🎉
Party season will shortly be upon us with Halloween, Bonfire night and, of course, Christmas all just around the calendar corner. There’s nothing better than catching up with old friends, letting down your hair and taking some well-deserved downtime – but it’s easy to get carried away in the festivities!
Whether it’s staying up late, too much booze or fuelling yourself on party food, the winter social season can leave us feeling lethargic, bloated and carrying a few extra pounds! Nobody likes a scrooge, but it is possible to enjoy the partying whilst maintaining your health (and dignity!)
Here’s a few ideas to protect yourself from the spiralling effects of too much partying!
🌟 Make sure you get your rest and that it’s not all just work hard play hard
🌟 Offer to be the designated driver once or twice; enjoy a few mocktails, give your liver a rest and receive absolute adoration from your friends!
🌟 Don’t over commit to catching up with absolutely everyone you’ve ever known; life is busy enough as it is!
🌟 Suggest a night-in over a night-out – save some money, stay warm and comfortable and show off your cooking or baking skills!
The autumn and winter months can be a slippery slope of over-indulgence, hibernation and partying hard! Following these five healthy habits can ensure you enjoy yourself as much as possible whilst staying happy and healthy too. We hope they will help you to beat the winter blues and have the best few months! ☺️
Author: Stephanie Masterman @NutriNoggin
- Carbohydrate Craving. Relationship between carbohydrate intake and disorders of mood: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2197075
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview and Update: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004726/
- 10 Ideas to Make the Most of you Summer Evening: https://www.nkdliving.com/blogs/blog/tagged/10-ideas-to-make-the-most-of-your-summer-evening
- 4 Keto Friendly Summer Cocktail Recipes: https://www.nkdliving.com/blogs/blog/4-keto-friendly-summer-cocktail-recipes-you-need-in-your-life