Finally the long, cold winter has started to abate after several months of way below normal temperatures. For those of us in the frozen Northeast, the change is very welcome and people are ready to be take off the heavy coats and catch some sunshine. There is one thing though that happens silently as the season changes and that is that as the temperatures climb, our bodies don't need to burn as many calories to keep us warm. This means your basic metabolism will slow down with the change to spring temperatures. The calories you burn just to stay warm and be alive is called your Basal Metabolic Rate - which is your daily caloric needs if you just rested all day. The rate is higher for bigger people ( or those with more muscle) and is lower for smaller people. But, everybody is going to need more calories in the winter than in the summer because your body needs the extra energy to keep it warm in a cold environment. Most of us make up for the extra calorie needs of wintertime by consuming foods that are a little richer - more fat in the sauces, more hot chocolates, etc. We also tend to be less active in the winter so we hold on to more of the calories we take in. However, as the season changes, we need to be mindful to reduce our caloric intake to compensate for the rise in temperature and our slower metabolisms. Especially in the beginning of spring when, in just a few days of warmer weather, we can put on quite a few pounds if we just keep eating the way we are used to. Have you noticed yourself feeling fuller after your meals? I believe the body talks to us all the time and if we listen, it will tell us to eat a little less, forgo that dessert or that extra drink. Your body wants to stay in balance with its metabolism and weight, and if you listen it will help you to make a healthy transition to the new season. Consciously serve smaller portions and substitute out comfort foods like lasagna or breaded pork chops with baked chicken or fish and steamed or sautéed vegetables. Also be aware of flavored drinks, coffee or teas (hot or cold) that can contain extra calories you don't need. Just go back to water. Eventually, you will naturally change over to cooking and eating lighter fare and you'll be more out and about so you'll burn a few more calories that way too, but the sooner you do, the better you'll be able to keep control of your weight and feel a healthy balance.
MFA, Certified Pilates Instructor and ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, Dancer/Choreographer, Triathlete, Veteran Yoga Practitioner. Also educated in economics and environmental science