Winter Metabolism - Get It Up and Keep It Up
"Nothing burns like the cold”
- George R.R. Martin
Winter is creeping up, is anyone else feeling it? A research paper out a while ago showed that more women go through the menopause in the winter than in the summer, which would make sense from an evolutionary perspective.
The summer is a time of abundant sunlight, warmth and calorie dense food which keeps metabolism high to allow for high activity. The menopause is a time when our bodies are switching from using sugar as energy to using fat, and this would be the natural state of being in the winter, when the amount of sugar from fruits and vegetables is low.
If we consider that the menopause is an energetic issue rather than a hormonal issue then it makes sense that women who experience menopause in winter have the lowest number of symptoms, whereas summertime brings an increase in the number of hot flushes.
How to keep your metabolism revved up in the winter:
1. Maintain a nutrient dense diet that is low in carbohydrates, high in fat and moderate in protein. Keeping sugar levels low will get your body to burn the rocket fuel that is stored as your fat, keeping your energy flowing and reducing menopausal symptoms.
2. Stay slightly cold. In the summer, bright sunlight keeps your metabolism high. In the winter, cool temperatures take over, particularly during sleep. Very few of us now sleep in the cold, and studies have shown an association between weight gain and average room temperature. So turn down the temperature on your radiators, don’t bundle up when you’re out - keep slightly cool, and don’t use that extra duvet at night. Melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep, acts to lower the core body temperature, and a decrease in core body temperature is associated with both going to sleep and staying asleep. In contrast, reduced sleep leads to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, increased appetite and reduced energy use.
3. Get as much sunlight as you can, especially in the morning. Light is the starting point for regulating the whole metabolism, and getting at least 30 minutes of sunlight in the early morning will fire up and regulate the entire metabolic system. So avoid wearing sunglasses in the morning when you’re out and about, or get a SAD lamp that emits at least 10,000 Lux in 20 minutes. Light coming through closed glass windows doesn’t count.
I hope you find this article useful, I will be updating it as new information comes to light.
PS. Don’t forget: this article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should never not be relied upon for specific medical advice. Every woman experiences the menopause differently and if you would like specific advice, I recommend that you get in touch and join the Modern Menopause Program which will be personalised to your specific symptoms: a thorough assessment of your health will provide vital insights and allow me to create the perfect health plan for you.