Craving Comfort?

Bread, pasta and potatoes, Oh My!  When the weather gets cold, I tend to go out of my way to incorporate these little nuggets of comfort into my daily eating habits, and my waistline tends to pay the price.

I was beginning to wonder if my body was trying to prepare for some type of up-coming hibernation that I was unaware of but while at the salon the other day I was reading an article and learned that I’m not alone, and I’m not to blame! It’s the weather. It’s the shorter days and the lack of sunlight responsible for this need for all things comfort.

The article explained that when the temperatures drop our body wants to warm up, and that shivering triggers a self preservation mode that tells our body to warm up…. fast. (Mine happens to throw in suggestions of warming up with Mac and Cheese and Loaded Potato soup, just me?) What you are craving is heat and any food can provide that for you, you just have to resist the urge to splurge and replace that hot apple pie with some fruits or vegetables.

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder this time of year and that plays a huge part in these “Constant Cravings.” While the specific cause of SAD is still unknown, many Doctors believe that there are several factors in play, lack of sunlight being one of them.

Serotonin is a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) when at normal levels creates a sense of well being and contentment. It is also called a “feel good hormone.” But the lack of serotonin can alter your mood, cause you to be cranky, depressed, overwhelmed and yes, even hungry.

This lack of serotonin can be caused by stress, and poor diet. Our eating habits can cause a lack of serotonin that in turn causes us to crave those not so good for you foods, a seemingly endless cycle.

So how do we help ourselves? How do we ease the winter cravings and boost our serotonin levels without Zoloft and Prozac?

Get outside more. We’re fortunate that Alabama weather is all over the map and we actually get some good mild weather days here or there… But it may be difficult during the longer stretches of cold weather and of course the shorter days, but just a few minutes can make a world of difference.

While you’re outside, do a little exercise. A lack of activity can have a direct influence on how much we eat.

Eat high protein, high fiber snacks. They will speed up your metabolism and stick with you longer, cutting down on those cravings for sweets and starchy foods.

Catch some zzzzz’s… Some good ones. Quality over quantity is key. Cutting caffeine will help as well as getting yourself into a routine and a regular bedtime.

Release your “cuddle hormone.”  Oxytocin is released when we feel love, trust and comfort. Because you are reading an article on a Mommy Site I’m assuming that you have some tiny humans in your life that will be more than happy to snuggle up with you.

What are your tips or tricks for fighting off the comfort cravings and winter blues?

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