Is Winter Making You Fat and Depressed

Posted by Sabrina Sarabella on Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I don’t know about you but I am over this extremely cold weather and winter here in the north east. One thing I always here people telling me is how they gain weight and become more depressed over the winter.  I definitely find myself hibernating more often and sometimes skipping my workouts because I don’t want to walk to the gym.  Winter can be a long few months if you are feeling like its got the best of you.  Here are a few tips to get you through the rest of this winter.  

Eat less sugars, processed foods and sweets and snacks.  I know that sometimes you feel like just cuddling on the couch with a glass of wine and chocolate may make you feel better about it being so cold and dark outside.  However, eating and drinking these things can cause a rebound making you feel more depressed and gain weight.  Eating processed foods can cause more mood swing and unbalanced blood sugar.  Blood sugar imbalances are one of the biggest factors in mood disorders.  Drinking can also make you feel happy in the moment but usually causes a next day depression and can deplete your body of important nutrients.  

Fill up on healthy fats.  Yes!  I said it, eat more fat this winter.  Now I mean health fats not just any sort of fat.  Foods filled with omega 3 fats are great for your mood and your body.  Our brains are in need of healthy fats like Omega 3s to function properly.  If our brains are deficient in Omega 3’s we can experience depression and anxiety.  Having the proper amounts of Omega 3’s in your diet can also help to burn fat and keep that winter weight off. Increase foods that are high in Omega 3s like salmon, walnuts and chia seeds.  You may also want to add in a high quality fish oil supplement.  

Get moving! I know its cold, I know you want to stay in bed or on the couch and drink hot chocolate and marshmallows but exercise is proven to release endorphins which help to boost your mood. Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can help to increase blood flow to your body helping to feel more energized and be in a better mood.

Get some sun- If you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark you see almost no sunlight during the day. Try and take a walk at lunch to go out and get some natural sunlight to help boost your mood. You may also want to start using a Vitamin D supplements.  If you haven’t gotten your blood tests done by your doctor recently you should check out your vitamin D levels. If you have a vitamin D deficiency you are more likely to have problems losing weight and being depressed.  If you are deficient in Vitamin D and you don’t get to see the sun often I would recommend 5,000 IU of a good quality Vitamin D supplement a day.

Spend time with people who make you happy. Make an effort to make plans with friends and family that you enjoy spending time with and that make you smile. You may want to sit in your house and isolate yourself when in a sad mood but the best thing to do is to go out and meet up with friends.  Schedule time with friends to do something healthy and active and you will be killing to birds with one stone.  Try and remove the energy suckers out of your life, you know those people who just drain your energy out of you when you are around them.  Spend time with people who build you up and make you smile and less time around people who don’t make you happy.  

Sleep more.  Its cold and dark and you just want to stay in bed all day!  I get it, I do too and if you body is asking for more sleep then give it more sleep.  Make an effort to go to bed earlier and your body will thank you.  For centuries our body has been going to bed and waking up with the sun and in winter we know the days and sun light get shorter so that makes our bodies want more time to sleep.  Your body needs sleep and rest in order to repair and burn fat so therefore it is extremely important to get enough sleep.  Make an effort this winter to be in bed by 10pm or earlier to keep your mood up and weight off.  

Get off social media.  Many people tell me that their Facebook news feed makes them depressed.  Everyone is always talking about how amazing their life is and you are sitting home and depressed because its winter.  Remember people only put their best stuff out there online and people aren’t showing pictures and status updates about them feeling unmotivated and sad.  Focus on you and what you are doing and move away from comparing yourself to what others are doing. 

I know winter can be long and depressing and but we are more then halfway through and I can see a bright sunny spring right in front of us!  

Let me know what you are doing to stay sane during this long winter.