When Autumn arrives, swiftly followed by Winter, we often revert to our animalistic nature of our hibernating like our woodland friends. Stock up on comfort foods, hide away in our warm homes with friends and family, only coming out when duty calls. Although initially outweighed by the massively satisfying sense of well being that hygge provides, the fear of putting on the pounds is often met with a tinge of guilt and regret as Christmas comes and goes and the new year begins. So how can we have the best of both worlds?
In this blog, we share how we are going to live a hygge lifestyle without seeing the scales creep up!
- Start the day right with porridge. It’s warm, filling and slow burning, so you’ll start your day with a big dose of hygge that will keep away hunger until lunchtime.
- Eat lots of soups and stews made with lean meats. Rabbit and venison are seasonal and leaner than beef and pork. If neither of those tickles your taste buds, try chicken without the skin. Turkey is lean too but I’m not sure that breast is suitable for slow cooking and I wouldn’t fit a whole bird in my stew pot! Buy a slow cooker and come home to a gorgeous hearty aroma filling the house. Smugness guaranteed, especially if you ease off the bread for dunking, but don’t feel like you have to. You can also make your porridge in the slow cooker the night before.
- Use a food box scheme. You’ll get great quality veg, meat, fish and dairy and often support small businesses throughout the season too. It’s great having it delivered to your door and it means that you are less tempted to sneak supermarket junk food into your trolley! We get ours from the Cornish Food Box Company available in Cornwall, but other farm shops operate similar schemes nationwide.
- Chocolate; We don’t want to banish it from the house. Dark chocolate is our favourite, which is great news as dark chocolate has less sugar than it’s milk or white chocolate cousin and is apparently better for weight loss.
- Pick a board game for family time that’s active. We’re thinking Twister (yoga?!) or even a Wii fit. There’s always a lot of laughter in our house if you’re sat behind a wii fit hula hooper or bird flapper!
- If cosying up to your significant other with candles is your thing, keep on doing it. This can often lead to other types of exercise! Even if it doesn’t, the endorphins released when hugging alone induces sleep, reduces stress and is invigorating in itself. What’s not to love?!
- Keep walking! Easier if you have a dog as you have to go out, but even if you don’t, grab a friend, wrap up warm and go out for half an hour. Just make sure that you can be seen and are safe. Half an hour will give you approximately 3,000 steps depending on your speed and your stride if you are counting them (see below) and you’ll have earned that hot chocolate you’ll have ready when you get home. If you’re extra dedicated, buy a lower fat version!
- Count the steps; If you’re concerned that you really aren’t moving that much at all, get a pedometer so you can keep it in check. These are little gadgets that count your steps and are generally a device on it’s own or (our preference) an app on your phone. The daily recommended total is 10,000 which we find is pretty hard to achieved if you have a desk job in the Summer, and even harder in the Winter, so set yourself a lesser target and then up it as you meet it.
- Keep up or join a sports club; Helen Russell cites sports clubs as one of the things that the Danes do to keep themselves happy in her book “A Year of Living Danishly”. Netball, hockey and football clubs play all through the Winter. If you haven’t played since school, England Netball operates a “Back to Netball Scheme” where you’ll meet loads of women at the same level.
- And if all else fails… don’t worry! As I was reminded this morning. Beauty begins on the inside, not in the mirror! And there’s always the spring to sort it out! Let’s face it, can you think of a fat Danish person? Despite all those pastries?!