Packing On The Pounds This Winter Making You ‘SAD’?

by Becky Miller on December 6, 2012

Screen shot 2013 03 03 at 2.23.06 PM 150x150 Packing On The Pounds This Winter Making You SAD?

PCOS Weight Loss

Information you need to know to achieve and maintain PCOS weight loss. Do you dread the colder months? Maybe it’s because of extra dry skin or just because you can’t hit the beach when you want to. Me, on the other hand, I used to dread the winter weather because it meant the draining of all of my energy, extra moody mood swings and to top it with a cherry, I was gaining weight like it was my job! Maybe this sounds a bit familiar to you. Maybe you experience some of these symptoms or maybe just a few. If you have PCOS, chances are that you probably feel some, if not all, of the effects. If you do, there’s a possible explanation and more importantly there’s a solution!

Are You SAD?

Sure, sure maybe there are some circumstances that leave us melancholoy, but we really shouldn’t be feeling THIS bad about life, right? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) might be a plausible explanation for this particular set of symptoms. SAD is the onset of a set of symptoms that appears seasonally, most often, beginning during the fall and winter months. It is hypothesized that these symptoms appear because of the disappearance of the longer, sunnier days of summer and spring. Sunlight plays a larg role in PCOS, particularly because of Vitamin D. The nature of discussing depression and anxiety is a topic that requires collaboration with a qualified physician. Remember, this is not going to be the case for everybody and I encourage you to actively involve your regular physician in this process. I’m presenting this as an option that I’ve seen play out in my practice. Nevertheless, pay attention to the symptoms that are described and how to cope with them.

SAD Symptoms:

  • Mild depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Increase of negative moods
  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Craving high carbohydrate foods
  • Weight gain

So, What Now?

Whether or not you’re interested in figuring out if this is the reason for your blues or tight fitting clothing, let’s focus on our options!

  • Vitamin D is a little wonder that can do big things! It is present in every receptor of our DNA and is responsible for many functions. For the purposes of this post, we’re looking at Vitamin D for it’s fatigue fighting capabilities. With the disappearance of the long, sunny days of summer and spring, we lose the abundance of vitamin D that comes from the sun. Supplementing Vitamin D into our daily diets will give energy a boost and kick the need for that mid-afternoon nap out the door.
  • 5-HTP is an amino acid precursor that is responsible for the conversion of melatonin to serotonin, both hormones found in our brains. Melatonin has become popular recently for it’s ability to get you to sleep quicker and deeper. Serotonin, the ‘feel good hormone,’ is a hormone responsible for the regulation of sleep, mood and appetite. With SAD, and in many women with PCOS, the conversion from melatonin to serotonin isn’t so great. So, why is this important? If we’re not converting that sleep hormone (melatonin) into the feel good hormone (serotonin) properly, then we’re not functioning on all cylinders, therefore chronic fatigue. 5-HTP helps the body to convert melatonin to serotonin, which leaves us feeling more energetic and in better spirits! This is a supplement that should be discussed with your physician for suitability.
  • Light Therapy. Yep, I didn’t make a mistake in typing that. It only makes sense that if the sun, which is light, is a key player in helping to alleviate these symptoms, that we would use light as a frontline treatment. Light therapy uses a light box of no less than 10,000 LUX that emits light that is comparable to that of the sun. No, you can’t just go to the tanning bed. Light boxes use UV safe light to prevent risks from high exposure to unsafe light. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, light box therapy should be used 2-3 times a day for 30-45 minutes each.
  • ZZzzzzzs. Sleep is a key player in treating symptoms of SAD. We can best fight fatigue and mood swings by protecting our sleep hours. The simple concept of sleeping during the night hours and living life during the waking hours is important. Try to awake as close to dawn as possible. Your body works in diurnal rhthyms and will adjust to the sun/moon cycles. Try to follow the rising of the sun to begin your day and get to sleep in enough time to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Get outside and get moving! The more time you spend outside the more natural light exposure you receive with obvious benefits. Exercise plays a key role in mood any time of the year. It is key to regulating our hormones to proper levels and will aid in the balancing out of melatonin and serotonin. Yoga can play a key role with breathing techniques and poses that are very beneficial for symptoms of SAD. Check out my blog on yoga.

For more information on SAD and the coping with the symptoms described above, contact Becky Miller

Becky offers FREE ‘Getting To Know You’ session to discuss how CROWN can get you moving closer towards your PCOS goals and dreams. I’d love to speak with you!

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