Does Hibernation Hunger have a Hold On You?
Its almost the end of January, spring is just around the corner, but with the nights still long and dark and the days still cold its hard to image. During these long dark winter months there is a primal urge inside us that says wrap up warm, stay inside, eat!!!
How many of us are prone to putting on a few extra seasonal pounds over winter?
It's not uncommon for people to resign themselves to this urge, as they feel overwhelmed by the dark cold nights. Their hibernation response is kicking in big time. Recent studies have found similarities between SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) and mammals hibernation reflex.
Some individuals will need to seek medial help and support for the severity of their SAD symptoms but for others you can support your system during this period to help alleviate SAD symptoms, which in turn helps to alleviate Hibernation Hunger.
Healthy Habit One - Let's Go Outside
Really although it goes against all logical thought we need get out and expose as much flesh as possible to the daylight (let's not freeze though!) for about 15 minutes as this boosts our Vitamin D level (an important nutrient produced through exposure to sunshine). Even better if you can exercise outdoors for a real endorphin boost. The day is at it warmest between 11.00am and 2.00pm so get into the daily habit of taking a walk during your lunch break, your waistline and your mood with be lightened.
Healthy Habit Two - Early to Bed, Early to Rise
It is also useful to observe a strict routine in terms of what time you go to bed and awaken in the morning. Keeping to a routine is important to help balance your circadian rhythms, even if in the early days you feel very tired upon waking this can improve over time. You will find that over time both your mood and you appetite levels will begin to balance.
Healthy Habit Three - Eat to Beat Hibernation Hunger
Generally the hibernation hunger urge is focused on eating food rich in carbohydrates and sugars... or to put it another way Stodge!
The food we choose to eat during the winter months can play a very important part in relieving the symptoms of SAD. Serotonin is derived from Tryptophan and we should be able to boost our levels of Serotonin by enriching our everyday diet with Tryptophan - rich foods.
Foods rich in Tryptophan
Lean organic meat -turkey, chicken, beef, lamb, pork,
Fish - salmon, cod,
Organic Dairy - plain yoghurt, milk, eggs, cheddar, cottage cheese, parmesan.
Nuts - almonds, pistachios, pecan, hazelnuts, peanuts/soy nuts.
Seeds - poppy, pumpkin, sesame seeds.
Pulses - lentils, chick peas (hummus).
Legumes - kidney, lima beans, soya.
Vegetables - spinach, watercress, cabbage.
Fruits - bananas, pineapple, plums, dates, figs, prunes.
Implementing these Three Healthy Habits can help you to knock Hibernation Hunger on the head for good and see you emerging from winter into spring feeling and looking wonderful.