After Christmas and approaching New Year’s us humans are feeling the pressures of the few pounds we put on over the last month or so. The additional weight we added to our bodies are in the form of fat and it certainly feels a bit uncomfortable as our clothing is fitting much tighter than it did just a short time ago.
Unfortunately, this uncomfortable feeling we have is simply a natural phenomenon and has been this way throughout our history. As we enter the colder months of the year our appetites increase, we eat more and start saving body fat to get us through the winter months. It really is all a matter of survival. I don’t believe that there has been a winter in my own history where I haven’t gained 10+ pounds. Our bodies metabolism slows down and we want to sleep more than usual. I believe this whole phenomena is driven by the need to stay warm and also in the decrease of natural sunlight we experience during the winter months.
Our industries too are no strangers to the fact that we may be feeling a bit uncomfortable with the added weight we have put on. It seems like from Christmas day all the way into the month of March we see an increase in commercials all geared around exercise and weight loss products from gym memberships to exercise equipment to diet programs and more. This certainly does not help in taking away from the stress we feel and they know that many will give in to purchasing those items that we believe will help us lose that added weight simply out of the feeling of guilt and inadequacy.
My personal belief is that losing the additional weight at this time of year can be harmful to our health. There is certainly nothing wrong with getting a little daily exercise each day and I do encourage it, but by doing it to an extent to where we start burning that stored fat is not in balance with our natural winter cycle. What we find is that as we do start losing weight our hunger increases as our body pushes to return to that level of stored fat that it needs to manage our survival during the winter. I know that we no longer live in a world where there is not an abundance of food and although we believe that we no longer need to store fat over the winter to survive, our bodies simply do not understand that. By fighting this natural cycle we also put ourselves at risk of illness as we become more susceptible to losing the ability to fight off certain viruses because of the weakening of the immune system.
The key to getting through the winter months really has less to do with the additional weight we have put on and more to do with the emotions we experience and beliefs that we have associated around gaining weight. It is only through excepting the fact that we are naturally storing fat and it is OK. We want to stay the course of eating as healthy as possible and getting the minimum exercise we need to get through our winter days. As humans there are foods we naturally desire at this time of year due to our natural eating patterns throughout history. We hunted and continue to hunt in the winter and meat has become somewhat of a staple for most of us during this time of year. Meat also gives way to soups and stews which provided nutrition for many generations before these modern times we live in. We have the desire to eat more fat and that too is OK. I am certainly no expert in nutrition, but if someone hasn’t created a cookbook for human foods and the winter months it may be a good idea for someone to do so.
My advise to anyone who is stressing out about their body weight at this time of year can be summed up with the word RELAX. Enjoy the winter for what it is. A time to gather with friends and family, snuggle up with a good book and simply go with the flow of nature. Come spring you will notice more energy, less of an appetite and the process of slowly shedding those winter pounds will begin.