Did you know you have a SEASONAL variation in body fat levels? Even if you are someone who holds a relatively stable* body weight, we know that in the colder months your body fat will increase, while in the warmer months body fat levels reduce. These changes would be mostly imperceptible to friends & family, but nonetheless, they exist.
In the cooler months we eat MORE – eating increases your metabolism, and generates body heat. With this extra food coming in, your body is able to create some fat stores….and in the winter months this might be a good thing for super-lean individuals who have very little insulation! A layer of fat doeshelp you to stay warm. Have you ever been for a casual swim in the ocean with a seriously lean triathlete? They can’t stay in the water for too long because they freeze! Further to eating MORE food, in the colder months, we also tend to go for stodgier foods that pack a punch on calories (think hearty casseroles & mashed potato)
In the summer months we eat LESS – we are trying to keep cool, and eating only increases body temperature, which your brain is not keen on experiencing. Consequently, body fat levels reduce as our bodies still need energy to survive. Rather than getting the energy from the food we (aren’t) eating, it has greater reliance on our stored body fat, and those winter stores are eaten away. Add to this that in summer we are looking to foods that are more cooling, like salads, watermelon & frozen grapes. There aren’t many weight gain plans that would make high use of these foods!
Not the weight stable person! No, you don’t care. Your body fat fluctuation over the year is of ZERO consequence; the appetite change you experience is normal and you don’t need to do a thing other than enjoy your hot curry!
However, the person aiming to strip body fat does care. It can be mighty frustrating when your attempts to “stick with a meal plan” are constantly met with messages from your brain to eat chocolate self-saucing pudding. So what do you do? Here are our top tips to keep your appetite in check this winter:
Jumpers, ugg-boots & mugs of tea work a treat
? Eat warming foods that don’t punch a bunch of calories
Porridge, warm felafel & salad wraps, broth-based soups, veggie stir-fries, and our Winter-warmer spiced milk. Recipe below
? Get quality sleep
It is well documented that your appetite increases when you don’t sleep well. This can be a challenging habit to implement, but if you can STOP using a laptop/tablet/smart phone in the 1hr before bed, you can guarantee your sleep quality improves.
? Plan your eating
You are more likely to stick with your meal plan when you have prepared and DECIDED on the food you INTELLECTUALLY know you need to eat AHEAD of time.
* a 2kg fluctuation in body weight is considered stable