How Colder Weather Affects Your Eating Habits
As we slowly shift into the colder months of the year, our eating habits may shift as well. Normally, winter brings a number of changes that can cause an increase in stress-related eating. This year, however, the stress that comes with the changing seasons could be amplified by the additional stress of the pandemic.
Our appetites naturally increase
Is there anything better than eating a hearty, warm bowl of soup on a frigid day? Our desire for comfort food during the winter season doesn’t need too much explaining. Our desire for calorie-rich food comes from a time long ago when our more primitive ancestors needed to stockpile calories to survive through the winter.
There are a number of food-focused holidays during the winter. During the holidays we tend to indulge a little more than usual with sweets, carbs, and alcohol. This can cause us to feel more sluggish and tired.
SAD (seasonal affective disorder)
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends around the same time every year, with symptoms beginning in the fall and ending in the summer. SAD is more than just a case of the “winter blues”. Symptoms include feeling lonely and depressed almost everyday, losing interest in activities you love, low energy, and a notable change in appetite and weight. A 2004 study in Basel, Switzerland showed that patients (particularly young women) with SAD showed higher values for “emotional” eating. Patients were shown to selectively eat more carbohydrates and starch-rich foods during their depression in the winter.
So, now that we know why our habits change, what can we do about it? Here’s what we found:
Stay on top of hydration
It may be hard to believe, but we sweat as much in the winter as we do in the summer. Between the heat from radiators and additional layers of warmer clothing, it is much easier to become dehydrated which can lead to over eating. When a sudden craving hits, ask yourself if you’ve had enough water today.
Eat more soups
Soups are perfect for winter! They are an amazing way to make sure you are getting all your macro nutrients. Soups that contain lentils or peas will help you feel full and satiated thanks to their high amounts of dietary fiber.
Do not deprive your body of food! Being overly restricting or consuming too few calories can lead to binging on high calorie foods and over eating. Long term research shows that highly restrictive diets are ineffective for long term weight loss and can have negative impacts on your mental health.
Have a high fiber snack 30 minutes before meals
Consuming one of our BellyCrush cookies 30 mins prior to a holiday feast can help curb over-eating. The yellow pea fiber in the cookies has been shown to help the body produce ketone bodies such as acetoacetate, 2-hydoxybutyrate, and 3-hydroxybutyrate which help to suppress appetite.