The day after Halloween is the first day of Fat Season.
It is here!
Fat season is the perfect storm for weight gain. Multiple factors all come together at once that encourage making more fat, not losing it.
We have seasonal goodies.
Seasonal goodies aren’t available all year long and that’s what makes them so delicious. They become part of the reason we look forward to the season. We feel like we miss out if we don’t indulge. There really isn’t anything wrong with a few indulgences, but often, and especially if we have been exceedinly rigid in our food choices approach, the indulgence triggers a lapse.
The lapse gets blown out of proportion by overwhelming feelings of guilt, self-recrimination, and unjustified beliefs in the outcome. In other words, we feel guilty, we beat ourselves up, and we think we have blown our successful weight loss effort because we are too weak to resist temptations.
We think about getting back on track, but instead of identifying an effective way to regain control we seem to only find additional barriers.
Exercise is a favorite way to use up excess calories and start feeling powerful again. Exercise would be great except it’s cold and it gets dark early and stays dark late in the morning. Late fall and winter are not great for outdoor exercise unless you are a skier. Even skiers are challenged though, because just because it’s cold it’s not a guarantee that snow will fall to make for good conditions. Getting exercise is just too hard.
Some people also are especially senstitve to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The lack of daylight makes some people feel a lot of undesirable things such as depressed, lethargic, achy, and lacking in energy and focus. Although exercise can help alievate the symptoms, the disorder makes physical activity seem counter intuitive.
Rather than get moving, SAD can make you want to self-medicate with foods primarily consisting of highly refined carbs, including a lot of added sugars, and added fats. How fortunate that there happens to be an abundance of these kinds of foods this time of year making it a perfect fat storm. The instinct is sit inside where it’s warm, not moving much, and trying to keep depression and boredom away with a lot of food that provides a lot of calories but few beneficial nutrients.
How to Battle Fat Season
- Refuse to feel guilty for indulgences. Eat happens! No beating yourself up or trying to compensate for overeating. Just get back on track with the next meal.
- Eat lots of plant-based, whole foods. Whole grains, fruit and vegetables and herbs for extra flavor.
- Get moving in a variety of enjoyable ways. If you like to be around people, enjoy upbeat music and dancing, Zumba is a great mood lifter. Yoga is good for people who like company or being by themselves. There are also multiple other ways to have fun moving from dancing lessons, to horseback riding (indoor arenas and some are even heated) to bowling to dog training to shopping.
- If you’re really having a hard time staying motivated consider joining a weight loss program that reinforces healthy eating and activity with group support such as Weight Watchers.
- When you encounter challenges, and there will be some, maybe a lot, and they seem too big to overcome, reframe them. They’re not challenges, they’re opportunities to get stronger and learn new strategies to get to goal and stay there. They’re exercise for your brain, the more you do it, the easier it becomes!
- Hide the stretch pants.