January is a new start, a fresh year, and many people set themselves up with new year's resolutions about how they are going to completely transform themselves - they're going to go on a diet and lose that excess poundage, go to the gym every day, cut out the booze...and it lasts how long? A couple of weeks maybe with gritted teeth?? Dr Khush Mark Phd calls them DIEts and she's right... a crash diet will do you much more harm than good.
January IS a fresh start, but it is also slap bang in the middle of the darkest and the coldest part of the year. To me, January is a time of retreating, taking stock, reading good books in the warmth of my bed, and sleep - more on this below. Talking of which, have you read "Wintering" (pictured) by Katherine May? It's a treatise on all of this and more, and I fully recommend.
So if you do want to make some changes, where should you start? Well not with a super-restrictive diet. ANY diet that leaves you with cravings is not going to work in the long-term. If you eat breakfast, then 2 hours later find yourself dreaming about that cereal bar, a chocolate biscuit with another coffee...then something has gone wrong. You should start with balancing your blood sugar - for instance, have you tried eating a protein breakfast and seeing what happens to your mid-morning cravings? Book in for a nutrition session for a personalised blood-sugar balancing plan that works for you and your life, likes, dislikes and routine.
I also like to take full advantage of all those lovely earthy winter vegetables around at the
moment. Butternut squash, other types of squash, beetroot, parsnips, Savoy cabbage. One of my favourite things to do is to make a bone broth and use it as a base for a soup. Bone broth is one of the most healing things you can eat (unless you have histamine issues...more on this in another post). It's full of glycosaminoglycans, a fancy word for special molecules that keep our joints healthy and things connected. Brilliant for anyone also looking to heal their gut.
Oh and sleep, sleep, glorious sleep. Are you getting your 8 hours' worth? Sleep is when we heal, when the "dustbin men" of your body come along and clear out all the rubbish in a process called autophagy, when we assimilate and restore. Your circadian rhythm is tuned in to the seasons and is why we want to sleep more in the winter. That's not to say you can have a 4 hour lie-in every day - you want to keep your bedtime and getting up time as regular as possible. But remember the healing power of sleep.
Have a question or a comment? Add it below. Happy January everyone!