When the winter blues strike, they can hit hard. They may be seasonal, but it feels as though the winter never ends when depression is keeping you down. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is surprisingly common, but just because many people suffer from it, it doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to beat it.
Even better, when you take action to prevent and minimize your SAD symptoms, you can make it easier to lose weight. The reason is that when we’re feeling down, we’re more likely to overeat or fall back on sugary or fatty comfort foods. Treating SAD also helps to reduce stress hormone (cortisol) levels, which can also keep weight management under control.
The following are some of the great ways treating your SAD can also benefit your weight management and help you avoid gaining weight.
Eating healthy foods
By choosing nutrient dense foods, you’ll give your body an added advantage of health, smooth functioning and energy, which can be very helpful in reducing the risk of depression while controlling SAD. Choose lots of veggies and fruits as well as whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats. If you like a smoothie in the summer, it will do even more for your mental health in the winter.
When you’re battling the winter blues, it’s a good idea to make sure your blood sugar levels remain steady. Spikes and drops in blood sugar wreak havoc on the mood and energy levels. Instead of eating three large meals per day, consider eating smaller meals with healthy snacks in the middle to keep your metabolism and blood sugar more even. This will help you to keep your fat burning levels high and avoid strong feelings of hunger, while improving your concentration and keeping irritability and fatigue at bay.
Fitness, particularly outdoor exercise, is wonderful for the mood and vital for weight management. If you want to prevent both weight gain and SAD symptoms, exercise should play a central role in that effort. If you can head outside for a walk, even if the sun isn’t out, the fresh air and daylight can also be very helpful to your mood and can make your workout more enjoyable overall. Just be sure to bundle up!
Many of the efforts we take in order to try to keep a healthy body weight are exactly the same as the ones we need to maintain good mental health. Proper self care at any time of the year can make a significant difference to many levels of wellness.