You’ve set your clocks back, please don’t set your progress back!
With the time change and the holiday season having started, we have moved into the most challenging time of the year where weight loss is concerned for many. Colder, shorter days and the season of many holiday occasions and special events; let’s focus today on the time change.
During the long, sunny days of summer we are more energized and think nothing of heading out for a walk after dinner or even late in the evening. We feel ‘light’ and positive and motivated by the beautiful weather to get outside, eat well and work hard towards our goals. We eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit and salads as they are seasonally in abundance. Perhaps we have a snack we plan for late in the evening but it’s relatively easy for us to control grazing and nibbling during the long days because we are so active and busy during the beautiful summer days.
With the clocks going back it can feel as if evening starts in the afternoon all of a sudden, and we often feel a hard shift in our mood. Our desire to be active can wane with the shorter days and for many, the couch and Netflix replace the nice long walk after dinner perhaps, the colder darker hours historically find us wanting to hunker down. Comfort food; hot steaming bowls of chili, stews, soups, homemade cookies, cakes and muffins, replace fresh fruit, salads and grilled fish & veggies. Cocktails by the fire become more appealing than your water bottle.
It’s time then to adapt and plan, perhaps altering the timing of some of your food you plan for your day, creating simple ways to ‘lighten up’ classic comfort food choices as well as finding ways to not to have your NEAT shut off at 5pm when the darkness sets in. Here are a few strategies to put into play:
Delay the timing of your first meal of the day giving you more food available for the later hours
Push back dinnertime by an hour
Round up the family, or head out on your own, for a bundled up evening walk in your neighborhood
Do the yoga or strength training you’ve been thinking about adding into your life in the evening hours
Experiment with new simple recipes/creations that become your new ‘comfort’ foods
Give yourself a cutoff time for activity; downtime is important always, the key is to keep yourself as active as you do in the summer months to keep your NEAT at a nice even level all year
We are creatures of habit and change is hard, but change we must if we want to evolve. Move through this darker season a little differently this year and perhaps feel a bit ‘lighter’ because of it.
I'm Paul Leonard, CEO & founder of PLT Nutrition. Our program is helping thousands of people worldwide to break bad food habits and create the life they always wanted.