Hmmm so Winter is already here, I didn’t even get to say “Winter is coming” I’m not actually sure what it means anyway as I’ve only read half of the first Game of Thrones books.
But I do know that earlier this week it was the coldest May morning in a number of years. Cold weather, for me, signals comfort food and the chance to rug up in cosy layers. For many of us it’s also a welcome break from the beach body messages of the looooong Australian summer.
Sadly a few weeks ago I got an email announcing it was skinny jeans season, sheesh I’d just simmered down from all the bikini body/beach body nonsense and now a reminder that the body bashing doesn’t take a break.
Our genetics, behaviours, the environment and a not small amount of luck influence our health. It certainly is not determined by our weight, in fact we can’t tell anything about a person by their weight.
Increasingly research is showing that rates of illness and death are actually lowest in the overweight and obese BMI categories, and other research tells us that fitness is a more important predictor of our health than fatness.
One large study looked at the effect of the combination of 4 health behaviours on mortality rates in adults.
- Not smoking
- 5 or more serves of fruit/vegetables a day
- A non sedentary job or at least 30 minutes of activity a day if in a sedentary job
- Moderate alcohol consumption (one or more but less than 14 standard drinks a week)
Having all four of these behaviours equated to being 14 years younger when compared to having none of these behaviours. The effect held across all weight categories and eliminated the influence of BMI on health. So do your best to resist the messages that summer bodies are made in winter and that your body is not good enough as it is right now.
It’s normal to enjoy richer, heavier “comfort” foods in colder weather. These foods have an unfair reputation as fattening or unhealthy. It’s important to remember that no foods are inherently unhealthy.
Casseroles, slow cooker dishes, soups, and curries are all popular dishes in cooler weather. The dishes are perfect for including more vegetables and legumes and can be accompanied with plain vegetables, as there is so much flavour in the dish itself. And since we know that vegetables are one of the healthy habits that increase longevity lets embrace making them taste fantastic! And since staying active in a leisurely way is so good for us too Winter can be a time to get more active especially if you’re like me and don’t love getting super hot. Winter is my favourite time of the year to run. Check out our article on staying active through Winter.
Susan Williams is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Health Counsellor. She is commited to supporting a healthy active life for our community. Wiothout the guilt.