Please Pass the Mashed Potatoes

Photo by Mohammad Fahim on Unsplash

I find it especially difficult to watch my weight during the winter months. From October to February, I consume more calories each month than I do the rest of the months. For some, a winter and summer wardrobe are essential for the change in weather. For me, it’s essential due to my fluctuation in weight.

A couple years ago, I became aware of this behavior. I fought it hard. I bought salad bags that sat in the fridge untouched. I bought healthy snacks that ended up in the garbage. Now, I know better. I know I eat more in the winter months.

Once I accepted this, I started doing some research.

Why do we eat more in the winter? Is it normal? Do humans hibernate?

Unfortunately, we don’t hibernate. There goes that excuse!

But we also can’t regulate body temperature because we don’t hibernate.

During hibernation, an animal’s body temperature, heart rate, breathing and other metabolic activities slow down significantly to conserve energy.

Because animals can conserve energy during hibernation, they don’t need to consume extra calories during the colder months.

We humans, on the other hand, need to maintain a body temperature of 98.6 Farenheit. When you’re cold, you burn more calories. When you burn calories, your body wants to replenish them. As a result, you eat more.

I’m not telling you to stuff your face all winter long. I’m saying that you should cut yourself some slack in the winter months. Opt for healthy hearty foods.

We tend to stick to a meat, a carb and a vegetable during dinner. Summertime dinners are often grilled meat, white rice and a side of broccoli or green beans. In the winter, our meals change. We eat more stews, soups and potatoes. We still stick with a meat, carb and veggie but prepare it differently. The grilled chicken gets subbed for slow cooked pork. The white rice gets subbed for mashed potatoes. And the broccoli gets subbed for brussels sprouts.

After years of feeling guilty for my winter weight gain, I finally realized I’m still healthy. Our bodies just need to consume more during the colder months. The extra couple pounds fall right off once spring comes. So this year, I made a promise to myself. Instead of focusing on what I’m eating, I’m going to focus on what I’m doing.

I’m going to start woodworking.

I often say I have no skills. A couple weeks ago, we went to a small art gallery in a town nearby. The artist made serve ware out of olive wood. I was in awe. The contrast of the dark grain with the light colored wood was beautiful.

I couldn’t help but pick up a couple items. On the way home, I got to thinking that I could create pieces like these. How difficult could it be?

I purchased some olive wood and watched some You Tube videos. My first project is to make olive wood coasters with black epoxy resin.

I’m going to declutter and organize.

This is not my forte. Since we’ve been home so much, I’ve been making my way through drawers and cleaning them out. I’m throwing out junk. I’ve purchased organizers for drawer space and redid our small foyer to keep things organized.

Cluttered space, cluttered mind. By removing clutter, I am freeing my mind.

I’m going to continue to exercise at least 3 days a week.

My usual exercise routine is between 3–5 days a week. I’m focused on consistency rather than long grueling workouts so I keep it simple. One 30 minute workout at least 3 days a week. It’s helped me stay consistent, look forward to my workout but also allows me to enjoy other activities during the day.

I’m going to write. A lot.

I’ve written every day for the past month. I forgot how much I enjoy it. I don’t publish everything I write. I begin stories and keep them in my drafts. I’m going to continue writing because it brings me happiness.

By accepting my normal behavior during winter months, I am freeing up my focus. This year, I am opting to focus on other things. The amount of focus I’ve spent in previous years on weight gain and diet has drained me. I am a healthy, happy, 39 year old woman. I’ve had two C-sections and certainly don’t have a six pack. I’m in good shape and ready to focus on something other my weight. This year I’m going to focus on my mind.

So pass the mashed potatoes and give me some extra. I’ll use it as fuel for my workout. The workout will fuel my mind. And my mind will fuel the activities I want to focus on.

Written by

Indian American. Mama. Wife. VP of Product. I write about personal growth, life lessons, parenting and love.

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