No Need for YOU to Store Up Fat This Winter

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Diet & Detox

For millennia, survival depended upon storing up extra fat for the winter. With all of our biology geared up for weight gain, how do you get through the holidays without packing on an additional five to ten pounds? It’s not as hard as you think. And won’t it feel great to start the New Year free of the usual girth that so many people resolve to get rid of in January?

First, be prepared. You can’t eat healthy foods if you don’t have any. Stock your home with delicious, low glycemic choices. They’ll be on hand when you crave something in the late afternoon. And you can easily prepare something healthy if guests arrive. Likewise, put them in a place that is easily visible. If you see an orange when you open the fridge, you’re less likely to eat the leftover pie.

Second, eat everything with enjoyment and mindfulness—slowly, sensually, and sitting down. It takes 15-20 minutes for your stomach to get the “I’m full” signal, so eating slowly keeps you from eating too much. Sometimes you just have to eat a chocolate brownie, and that’s OK! Eat it with gusto and in plain sight, savoring each bite.

What you eat in the morning sets your blood sugar for the next 12 hours. Start your day with some protein, healthy fat, and low glycemic carbohydrates. For great breakfasts and other meal choices, see Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.

Before you give into those cravings, set a timer for 15 minutes. Distract yourself by decluttering a little area of your house or taking a bath. You can hold off for 15 minutes, I promise. And it feels great when you do. But, if after that you still desire the snack, have it! It will calm that hungry, tired, little child inside you.

Don’t eat after 8:00 p.m. Studies have shown that when you consume most of your caloric intake earlier in the day, you will feel more satisfied and less likely to binge at night. The same amount of calories consumed late at night will put on weight. Consumed earlier, they will not.

Weigh yourself every day. The minute the scale moves up two pounds, cut back for a day or two until you are back to your regular weight. Quite frankly, regular monitoring of your weight—and adjustment of your diet if you start to gain—is the most practical advice I can give you. When you record your daily weights, you’re less tempted to over-indulge. And you will never again say, “I don’t know where that extra 10 pounds came from.”

Finally, remember—discipline simply means remembering what you REALLY want. Write that on a Post-it note and put it on the fridge.

p.s. My favorite low glycemic snacks are: 1) gluten free crackers and hummus or baba ganoush (roasted eggplant dip). I love the brand “Mary’s Gone Crackers,” 2) apples, cut up and dipped in peanut butter or almond butter, 3) guacamole with organic chips or carrot or celery sticks. Try “Wholly Guacamole,” a widely-available frozen delight.

Last Updated: December 1, 2011

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. Higor
    11 years ago

    I just came across your site and LOVE IT!! So much to be Grateful for, thank you for keeping it fresh in my mind.Look forward to learning from you and make Gratitude one of the main points of my days. When you can really add it into your life, your whole life changes.

  2. Eileen
    13 years ago

    @Kara – Wheat may be the culprit – see the book “Wheat Belly”, by Dr. Davis. Wheat affects the opiate sensors in our brain, so it is actually addictive, and it also is high-glycemic – even the whole-grain-sprouted stuff. I’ve cut out modern wheat entire

  3. Anna
    13 years ago

    I experienced the same thing as Pat, and was super hungry in the afternoon. I eat healthy meals; lots of veggies and fruits, som protein and little fat. Then I read that the problem can be eating too little fat. So I’ve added more protein, one egg most mornings, fat, like avocado (I spread it on toast), nuts, olive & flax seed oil, even butter. I feel much better. I eat more salmon and now take fish oil. It seems to do the trick. Don’t be afraid of fat. Well, the right kind.

  4. Karen
    13 years ago

    In response to Kara’s question about the 4 p.m. “slump”, a wonderful nutritionist I work with recommends a protein drink mid afternoon. Whey powder in fruit juice or soy or almond milk. An apple with peanut butter is also a wonderful afternoon snack and gives me energy to walk home from work and then make dinner without feeling exhausted.

  5. Sarah
    13 years ago

    Thank you…kindly reminders about where our thinking should be is helpful. I have recently started meditation. As it was described to me at a retreat at the Shambala center in Montreal, en Francais, is slow the speed down a little. Sometimes our minds are like a hamster in the rolling cage. Meditation can be a gift to yourself to slow the process down and pay attention to yourself. The theme was on self love before other loves. It was encouraging, nurturing and affirming.

  6. Pat
    13 years ago

    I do what you say, eat a low glycemic breakfast and exercise in the morning. I eat a good lunch with lots of raw spinach and either egg or chicken. Regardless, every day at 4 pm my energy level goes down to 0, and I feel like I should eat some fast sugar to feel better. What should I do to change this? What is the best snack to eat at 3 pm to avoid the low energy?

  7. Kara
    13 years ago

    Fabulous advice! Thank you!!

  8. Justus
    13 years ago

    Ppl like you get all the brains. I just get to say thanks for he asewnr.

  9. alanad darling
    13 years ago

    great tips. thanks for sharing.

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