(BPT) - It happens every year — the days get shorter, the air gets colder, and before you know it you’re in hibernation mode. Since humans can’t spend winter sleeping in a cave, people crave a quick fix for that feeling of lethargy, usually through comfort foods. It's all too easy to pick up sweets or carbs in the hope of getting a boost, only to find that the energy surge doesn't last very long, and just leaves you craving more.
Paige Lopez shares surprising tips she learned creating Awaken180° Weightloss, a premium weight loss service with personalized, science-based nutrition plans and ongoing one-on-one coaching.
1. Eat more fat
You heard it right. The truth is, not all fats are created equal, and our bodies need fat to store energy, build cell membranes and absorb vitamins, among other things. Eating healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil helps prevent cravings for the carbs and sugary foods you can do without, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Unsaturated fats can also be found by snacking on nuts or avocados, and you can also get that "good" kind of fat from grass fed meats, pasture raised eggs, and wild salmon or tuna.
2. Turn up the spice
If you crave a burst of flavor, herbs and spices can give you that flavor boost. Clear out old spice jars in your cupboard (they do lose flavor over time), and start exploring one flavor profile at a time. Enjoying cuisine from different cultures can give you a variety of tastes to satisfy any palate. Crave Mexican food? Instead of processed chips or takeout, cook using chili powder, cumin, garlic, peppers and onions. Want flavor-packed food like Indian dishes? Reach for curry, garam masala, and turmeric. Satisfying your palate with vibrant flavors will help cure the winter blahs — and keep you away from less healthy options.
3. Sip some tea (or other hot liquids)
Hot liquids are satiating and can taste so good! Treat yourself with a variety of teas, adding some stevia or even cream, if you would like, for extra flavor. There are a huge variety of teas available these days, both with and without caffeine, with flavors ranging from fruity or nutty to spicy or minty. A cup of tea after dinner is the perfect way to quiet your cravings for an after dinner snack. You can also boost the flavor of many teas with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Experiment to find your favorites!
4. Find alternative energy sources
Spend a few minutes in the sun — even if it's chilly — and take a short walk. Or try meditation — just a few minutes to shut your eyes and breathe deeply can leave you feeling relaxed and energized. Or if you have time, try taking a short nap. Even 20 minutes of rest can help you feel more refreshed and ready for whatever's next. Some people get a boost of energy from listening to upbeat music and dancing around the kitchen if they feel like it. When you're feeling fatigued or stressed, one of these techniques can help you feel better than you would after eating an unhealthy snack.
5. Skip the soda
It's tempting to reach for a caffeinated soda when you hit the 3 p.m. wall, but it's best to avoid even the sugar-free options. Sugar-free sodas still contain additives and chemicals that can spike hunger and cravings, which makes it more difficult to lose weight. Sparkling water with a lemon slice can be even more refreshing, without the added sugar or chemicals. If you’re still craving soda, try Zevia. This stevia sweetened soda has all the flavor, with none of the chemicals or artificial sweeteners.
6. Stay hydrated
Drink a glass of water before reaching for the sugary snack you crave, and you may find you need less of it — or that you didn’t need the snack after all. Your body has a hard time discerning between the signals for hunger and thirst. Keep a reusable bottle of ice water with you when you're on-the-go to help keep you hydrated all day long.
7. Minimize carbs
Try swapping out pasta, breads and potatoes for lower carb choices like cauliflower and zucchini. Eating lower carb foods helps prevent the addictive response your body experiences after eating high carb foods — which leads you to crave more.
To help you stay on track this winter, Awaken180° Weightloss provides customized food plans, nutritional and private lifestyle coaching and food products to support your weight loss goals. Visit Awaken180Weightloss.com to find a location near you in the Greater Boston/Eastern MA area, or to sign up for virtual coaching.