Each year the advent of colder weather sees us waving goodbye to our healthier summer habits. With the leaves blowing off the trees and the temperatures dropping, you might feel tempted to hide under layers of clothes and eat away those autumn blues. But, it doesn’t have to be that way – here’s our guide to beating your seasonal health slip-ups…
You Lose Motivation
With summer well and truly over, and Christmas too far away to get excited about, autumn can be something of a ‘nothing’ season making it hard to feel motivated or have goals to aim for.
Beat It: Kick start your get up and go by creating a new personal goal. Start with a short-term goal, such as doing 3 walks this week or reading one inspirational book this month. Make a list of beneficial reasons to commit to your goal, which you can look at for regular motivational top ups.
You Hibernate Indoors
Besides putting a dampener on your mood, lack of daylight can also affect your waistline. People who are overweight tend to have lower levels of vitamin D which can influence the functioning of a hormone called leptin, making you more likely to overeat.
Beat It: You don’t have to wait for clear blue skies to grab just a small dose of vitamin D. Commit to getting outside and enjoying some fresh air every single day. Try to set aside even 10 minutes in every lunch hour for a brisk walk. Then at weekends, make the most of the gorgeous autumnal display of colours by visiting your local park or forest.
You Comfort Eat
Now that the bikini is safely packed away for another year you find yourself tucking into stodgy dinners and reaching for the chocolate. One of the reasons we comfort eat at this time of year is that shorter days and lack of sunshine reduce our body’s production of serotonin – A.K.A. ‘the happy hormone’. Our bodies natural reaction to this is to crave more of the carbohydrates that raise serotonin levels, such as potatoes, pasta and chocolate.
Beat It: When it’s cold out, you may not feel like eating salads or fruit but you can still have healthy warming foods which are just as comforting. Soups, stews and baked fruit are a great way to fill up and stay warm. If you make use of all the gorgeous colourful produce in season at this time of year then there’ll be no need to turn to the unhealthy stuff.
What’s In Season?
Sweet Potato, Carrots & Pumpkins – These bright orange vegetables are all great sources of beta-carotene which helps our skin glow. They’re also high in vitamin C which will build immunity coming into the winter. Try them roasted, boiled, mashed or in soups and stews.
Pears & Apples – Both fruits are high in fibre and contain cholesterol lowering compounds. Eat fresh or try them stewed with a little cinnamon for a simple and guilt free dessert. The autumnal aroma of apple and cinnamon wafting through the house will warm the heart and feed the soul – See recipe below:
Honey & Cinnamon Stewed Apple
1 Tbsp of honey or agave syrup
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence – optional
1 large mug of boiling water
Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks
Add the apples to a large pot and dust with the cinnamon.
Pour over hot water to cover apples, add honey and vanilla, stir to combine.
Pop the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat until apples are cooked.
Mash the cooked apples with a fork and voila!
Serve warm over natural yogurt.