Come New Years Day, most people kick into high gear, choose a new diet plan, pay for a gym membership, and do their best to transform their body. And most people, despite their best intentions, will struggle through the winter to lose the weight and keep it off.
What they don’t know is that winter weight loss requires a very different set of foods and behaviors than dieting in warmer months.
The best kept secret about proper winter weight loss?
You can cleanse your organs, boost your energy, and drop the weight in a holistic, natural way that reconnects you to your best guide: your body.
Most cleanses, diets, and detox plans focus on freshly pressed vegetable juices, fruits, salads, and raw foods that are actually too cooling for the body in cold winter months.
The human body has evolved with the seasons to eat heavily in the fall harvest season and keep weight on the winter to protect from the cold and lack of food. If you’ve tried a juice cleanse in the winter before, you’ll know what I mean.
We naturally crave warming soups, cooked foods, and the fats to protect our organs and skin from biting winds, freezing temperature, and less sunlight. A well-planned winter weight loss cleanse will help you feel strong and warm, and help you drop the extra pounds without leaving your frail and cold.
Here are my tops tips for cleansing in winter:
1. Eat for warmth.
When you’re physically cold, what sounds better: a chilled salad or a bowl of soup? See, you actually know your body better than you may think. Focus on the seasonal, local foods that grow near your home. For most of us, that means eating more naturally sweet, dense root vegetables, hearty winter greens, and quality animal products. Warming spices and herbs may also be used to ground and sustain your energy. Try my Warming Winter Cleanse Broth recipe below.
2. Focus on fats that trim.
Did you know your body needs the right kind of fats to help absorb important nutrients from food as well as lose weight? True story. Healthy fats help your body soak up vitamins A, D and E, and are necessary for a healthy nervous system. That also means when you eat the right fats, your mood is better.
Stock up on a variety of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and the right saturated fats this winter, but avoid hydrogenated and trans fats that lurk in processed foods. Try olives, olive oil, almonds, avocados, salmon, walnuts, anchovies, flax seeds, hemp seeds, grass-fed butter, organic clarified butter, and unrefined coconut oil.
In fact, studies show that eating two tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil, rich in medium-chain-fatty-acids, with meals can boost body temperature and metabolism, helping to avoid the metabolic slow-down associated with winter dieting.
3. Savor sweets that slim.
Refined sugars and carbohydrates cause most obesity and heart disease, not fat. But we still crave sweet! This winter, eat a variety of naturally sweet, high-nutrient, seasonal vegetables to give you the sweet taste, satisfaction, and grounded, cozy energy you desire. Roast beets, bake sweet potatoes, and steam winter pumpkins and squash for their vitamins and mild natural sweetness, and it will be much easier to mute sugar’s siren call.
When the weather is cold, and the day is short, human bodies return to the natural, evolved state of slow metabolism and more sleep. Get more sleep during the early, dark evening hours, and wake up earlier to catch every ray of sunlight possible. When you wake up early and get more morning sunlight, it has a positive effect on your sleep cycle. More sleep before midnight, especially in winter, helps your mood stay stable, stops you from midnight snacking, and improves the quality of your sleep.
5. Enjoy a Warming Winter Cleansing Broth (Recipe)
Here is one of my best, mineral- and nutrient-rich, warming broths that you’ll love this winter.
- 2 small or medium yellow onions, halved
- 5 stalks of celery, with leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
- One large leek, roughly chopped
- One large bunch of kale or bok choy, roughly chopped
- 2 parsnips, roughly chopped
- 2 large pieces of kombu or kelp sea vegetables
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, cleaned
- 2 inches fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1. Combine all in a large pot and cover with enough cold, filtered water to cover.
2. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer with the lid on for one hour.
3. Turn off the heat, give your broth time to cool to a point where you can comfortably handle it, then strain through a fine meshed strainer. You can use a large spoon or spatula to squeeze liquid and nutrients out of soft veggies.
4. Be sure not to transfer hot broth to a glass container, but this broth can be refrigerated for a week in sealed glass jars.