• Struggling with the New Year Resolution Blues?

        Its six weeks since you made those cast iron New Year resolutions about eating better and getting healthier, and I would lay bets that most have been well and truly broken. To top it all, it’s cold and miserable out there; winter bugs are everywhere, and there’s little incentive to restrict food or get outside and exercise. So why is it such a battle?

        Winter is a time when food would have been scarce for our ancestors, and they would have therefore eaten more calorie-dense foods to fatten up and store energy to survive. Something we still tend to do! At the same time, sunlight is in less abundance meaning we produce less serotonin – our ‘feel good’ hormone,  it is therefore understandable that in winter we crave carbohydrates to give us both a quick fix mood boost and nutrient-dense nourishment. Post-Christmas we have also generally snacked and overindulged, and this is likely to have changed our eating habits – and those new bad habits need kicking into touch!

        Comfort carbohydrates tend to be high is sugar, and sugar messes with the digestive and adrenal hormones; in particular insulin and cortisol. Together these can have a hugely negative impact on our digestive function, blood sugar, mood control, and healing mechanisms. Comfort eating (and drinking) may feel like a great short-term solution, but a diet lacking in essential nutrients puts the body under even more stress, leaving us struggling to digest, heal and repair, and a vicious cycle of poor sleep, low energy, digestive discomfort and then weight gain kick in – which can make us feel, well frankly, overwhelmed. Melancholy follows, the cravings start again and so the cycle is repeated.

        Working to balance these hormones is the first step to breaking out of this seemingly relentless cycle and creating some new healthy eating habits for the year ahead. Tweaking what we eat (and when) can really help balance with digestion, sleep and energy.

        To get you started, my two favourite go-to winter comfort eating suggestions would be:

        • One pot dishes. Experiment with meat-based or vegetable stews, fish pie, Chilli con Carne, Shepherd’s Pie, and roasted vegetable bakes. Fill them with greens, coloured vegetables and herbs to add tasty and filling nutrients in the form of healthy carbohydrates for an energy and good mood boost. Olive Magazine online has some good ideas to get you started.
        • Soups: quick, cheap, delicious and so easy to make. There are endless recipes online, but all you need to do is combine leftover vegetables with stock and herbs. Add lentils, or other pulses for additional protein and to make them more satisfying, blend and indulge! If you go for shop-bought options, just keep an eye on sugar content; and add your own vegetable leftovers or grains and pulses to mix them up a bit. Try BBC Good Food for inspiration.


        For both you can make more than you need and freeze leftovers for another rainy day.


        If your failed resolutions have left you feeling down in the dumps, and you need help getting back on track, contact me for a no-obligation chat.