Updated: Aug 29, 2019
When it’s freezing and miserable outside most of us think of cuddling up inside with warm comforting foods. We’re thinking of soups, hot biscuits and “stick to your ribs” food to stay warm. We think of board games, books and movies as our entertainment since playing outside can be done but is often short lived depending on the temperature. It’s hibernation season after all and we are generally less active and not inclined to move much. When you’re trying to lose weight or improve your health there is no question that wintertime can work against you on those goals.
It can be challenging to be motivated to work out during the winter. It’s cold, daylight is short and we’re more than likely seeing an increase in our appetites. Our bodies are burning energy to stay warm and calling out for foods to fill that need for warmth even when we may not be actually hungry. Winter is the hardest season to start a diet and workout regime yet many of us set a New Year’s Resolution regarding our health. It’s now February, have you been successful upholding your health resolution?
We have access year round to fresh vegetables and fruits yet many of us gravitate towards foods that are more seasonal. We eat more salads in the spring and summer and more root vegetables like potatoes, onions and carrots in the winter. It’s not much fun or satisfying to eat a salad in February when you can have a hot bowl of chili for instance. Lettuce just somehow looks less appetizing in the winter.
We’re eating heartier, richer foods and bigger meals during the winter months. Our bodies are naturally programmed to reach for foods that are aligned to the seasons. It’s not that we don’t crave vegetables but our cravings and tastes change with every season. Our bodies are telling us they need different things at different times of year to burn energy and stay healthy.
There is however an increase in digestive complaints like heartburn, indigestion and such during the winter because we’re eating heavy foods and not moving to burn those off as quickly as we would if it were warmer outside. Our digestive systems are more susceptible to things like heartburn because we incline or lay down more often when food hasn’t digested completely. Long term these concerns can become chronic and result in more severe conditions. It is also one of the reasons we feel more bloated and tired during the winter.
It’s important to find options in the winter that will satisfy our body’s need to feel full and warm while still including healthy foods. A couple tricks I’ve learned that seem to work include:
Purchasing frozen vegetables like brussel sprouts, green beans and broccoli, that are unseasoned and applying essential oils like Rosemary, Clove, Basil and Wild Orange to introduce flavor and make the vegetables more appealing. Mixing these vegetables after they are cooked with a good olive oil and the essential oils is divine. The selection of frozen vegetables is robust and relatively inexpensive too so they are easy to obtain. Serving warm vegetables like this gives an enticing aroma and can support us getting the appropriate vegetables without sacrificing.
Kale and Cabbage are great alternatives to lettuce in the winter. Both of these leafy greens are available naturally in the winter months. Use these to make slaws and chopped salads mixed with shredded carrots, brussel sprouts, beets, and other seasonal vegetables. Dressings can be easily made with olive oil and essential oils like Thyme, Lemon and Cilantro.
Fruits in the winter can also be made into things we are attracted to and want to eat more of. Apples, mandarin oranges, starfruit, persimmons and pomegranates give us the vitamins we need while fulfilling sweet tooth cravings. Cutting up these fruits and applying a drop or two of doTERRA OnGuard give these seasonal fruits the sought after warm flavoring that is fun while providing additional immunity support.
We find our metabolism slows, body temperatures stay lower and we generally move slower in the winter. With the shorter day light hours many of us even sleep more and are less motivated to go outside. We can feel restless, cooped up and our moods can be darker, gloomier as a result. While our bodies need rest this can work against us when we are trying to increase our activity level to lose weight or be more healthy.
I believe we should honor the messages from our body and use the times we feel like this to rest and heal. This will make us best positioned to become more active when the season begins to change. I dedicated the entire month of January to the topic of self-love and tuning into these messages our body is sending us for what it needs most. You can scroll through those posts in our January 2019 archive located here:
While it’s healthy to increase our rest and honor our need to slow down we want to create a balance between that need and encouraging our body to be more active. This doesn’t have to be dramatic or intense but we want to let our body know we will give it rest and we need it to move a little in return.
Exercising in the winter can be as simple as taking a walk through the neighborhood to see the lights from the houses and enjoy the quiet moments around you. It can be intense as running on a treadmill. The point is to find something enjoyable and while your body is saying “rest” you are giving it just enough push to also be moderately active. A 20-30 minute walk outside in the evening or in the day can be really relaxing as well as rewarding for your physical health.
When we exercise in the colder temperatures we can be more likely to feel soreness or pull muscles. It takes longer for our muscles and joints to warm up to the movements we are doing and they can be sore afterwards. This can increase our probability of having inflammation and pain throughout our joints and muscles. Taking a doTERRA Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex before exercise and using Deep Blue rub afterwards can reduce the inflammation and soreness in these situations.
One of the great things about walking outside for your exercise in winter, is you will pick up your pace and walk faster knowing there’s warmth and good food waiting for you back at home.
Interested in more?
We do not have to give up the idea of eating healthy and exercising in winter. There are options available that honor both our desire to hibernate and be warm with our need to move and be active. We can also eat seasonally while still capturing the benefits of leafy green vegetables, other vegetables and fruits. Our bodies crave these foods if we listen and we can enhance the flavor and benefit of eating them with essential oils.
If you have questions about the products described in this post, please reach out. I’m happy to help you get accurate information so you can make decisions that are right for you.
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