Spring is around the corner, but for now the days still seem short and it’s important to take note of how this affects your health and state of mind. Here are some tips I recommend to my patients to combat the dreariness of the winter season.
Transition physical activity from season to season, don’t abandon it!
- Use inside equipment or a DVD; I like to recommend Leslie Sansone walking DVDs.
- Find a friend or social component to physical activity.
- Move more throughout your day – 10% (6 minutes/hour).
- Invest in clothes to make it comfortable.
Develop a repertoire of healthy, ‘hearty’ foods for the season.
- Soups, stews, stir fries and roasted vegetables (check out my blog from earlier on roasted vegetables)
- Choose heavier food, literally water based, not calorie dense food.
- Choose/mix heartier, starchy vegetables (Yes, I said starchy vegetables) with lower calorie ones to satisfy your need for carbs.
- If this is not your habit, practice it weekly.
Get adequate rest and sleep.
- Try to go to bed about the same time every evening.
- Carry a water bottle with you to sip on throughout the day.
- You don’t need to get all your water from drinks; you can also get it from water-rich foods.
- Opt for steamed dishes, soups and herbal teas to keep you warm, because often cooler temps will decrease your natural tendency to drink.
Find the Light.
- Develop an awareness of how you may be affected by shorter, darker days.
- Keeping your home or work place well lit with natural, window light and artificial light can help some people feel more energy.
- Some invest in light therapy.
Begin a conscious management of your food environment.
- Try eating 6 times per day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack
- Plate the food at the stove or in the kitchen
- Use the #plategoals (1/4 protein, ¼ carbohydrate, ½ non-starchy vegetables) to plate your food
- Eat a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables/fruits per day
- Say not your ‘trigger foods’ (you know what they are!!)
- Stop clipping coupons – they are mostly for highly refined snack products or high fat restaurant meals
Don’t let these short days defeat your goals and decrease energy levels; try to remind yourself daily what you are trying to accomplish. Remember, spring is just around the corner!