Seasonal Body Changes


I am one of those fortunate people that never lost touch with being able to find out what foods my body wants. I feel part of this is great genetics; part of this was being raised by a Mom who used portion size and dish size to indicate what a normal amount of something was; and part of this was having a Dad who changed what he ate and the amount he ate when the activity changed. The last part was trusting my inner knowing to decide on foods and amounts that suited me in the moment.

This is evident in some patterns and habits I have that seem to be quite different from most of my friends and acquaintances. If I am hungry and can’t find anything in the refrigerator or cupboards that interests me, I drink a glass of water or have a cup of herb tea. I take this as a sign to fast for the moment. When all I want is one item for a meal, I go with that, even if it seems a bit odd – like a whole bunch of kale or a grapefruit or two. Since I sometimes only want a bite or two of something and at other times I want a lot, I figure it all balances out.

Seasons also bring changes in what foods I want and how much! In fact I will gain roughly 10 pounds by January. In cold climates in winter, I want root crops, stews, meat, and hearty soups. I love the tougher greens (collards, kale, and turnip greens) as well, fermented foods (sour kraut), and have more good fats as the weather gets colder and the ground freezes. My warmer clothes reflect these body changes and also allow for an extra layer under them when needed.

Ah, spring! As the weather warms, I start craving fresh greens, lighter fare, and also start shedding the winter weight. Summer brings mostly raw veggies and fruits, salads, more salt and much less fat. Off comes the weight, and my summer clothes are a size smaller than the winter ones. This hasĀ  been my pattern for as long as I can remember – except when I lived in Tucson, AZ. There is no deep chill building to a freezing winter in Tucson, and lo and behold, no weight gain either! After realizing that, I haven’t worried about ‘winter weight’ again.

Another trigger for changes in diet for me is the amount of physical activity I am doing that day. When I am getting up early to work as a landscaper/garden maintenance laborer for 8 hours outside, I have 2 eggs, 2 pieces of sausage or bacon, fruit, yogurt, coffee and even a piece of toast. Without the protein I am starving by 10am! Lunch is big as well however supper is quite small. When I am not doing hard physical labor, my breakfast is yogurt and fruit, and I usually only have two meals a day.

I believe we were all born knowing what we need, how much, and when; I also believe that many of us can re-invigorate this inner sense by being very conscious of what we put in our mouths and what our unique physique requires. We may have gotten the idea that we had to learn what was good for us, and why, so that we would eat the right things at the right time. I believe instead this ‘education’ has confused a normal, organic knowing each of us is born with. Inner dialogue with your body is a helpful tool to cultivate and it will give you a better personal idea of your own requirements for food, rest, and relaxation.

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