Thursday, 6 December 2007

Day 145

Winter doesn't work for me. I love Autumn and Spring, but I HATE winter. It isn't just the cold that I hate, but the lack of light that I absolutely detest. In truth even though I love Autumn, from the moment the first chill in the air signals its arrival, I start to feel a creeping melancholy.

The British isles are cold, grey and damp and in the winter the days are super short. Sometimes you don't see the sun for weeks and if you do it is fleeting - a you'll miss it if you blink experience. For a long time I have suspected that the lack of sunlight affects my mood. Now I am sure of it.
According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association:
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of winter depression that affects an estimated half a million people every Winter between September and April, in particular during December, January and February.

It is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus due to the shortening of daylight hours and the lack of sunlight in winter.

For many people SAD is a seriously disabling illness, preventing them from functioning normally without continuous medical treatment. For others, it is a mild but debilitating condition causing discomfort but not severe suffering. We call this subsyndromal SAD or 'winter blues.'


Sleep problems: Usually desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake
but, in some cases, disturbed sleep and early morning
Lethargy: Feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine
Overeating: Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually
resulting in weight gain
Depression: Feelings of misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem,
sometimes hopelessness and despair, sometimes
apathy and loss of feelings
Social problems: Irritability and desire to avoid social contact
Anxiety: Tension and inability to tolerate stress
Loss of libido Decreased interest in sex and physical contact
Mood changes In some sufferers, extremes of mood and short periods
hypomania (overactivity) in spring and autumn.

I definitely have a number of these symptoms.


Light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 per cent of diagnosed cases. That is, exposure, for up to four hours per day (average 1-2 hours) to very bright light, at least ten times the intensity of ordinary domestic lighting.
Antidepressant Drugs like Prozac are effective in alleviating the depressive symptoms and combing well with light therapy.
, counselling or any complementary therapy which helps the sufferer to relax, accept their illness and cope with its limitations are extremely useful.
Vigorous exercise, especially outdoor activities.

Now, isn't that something. All roads lead back to exercise. I've been eating chocolate without realising that I was trying to raise my serotonin levels in order to alleviate feelings of melancholy created by SAD. Instead I should be exercising vigorously outdoor which will not only make me feel better but help me lose weight. Go figure!!! Well tennis and tango are done for the year but I do have my elliptical trainer which lives on my patio. My goal today is to get on it.

B - 350
250/8 oz yogurt- 245
1 banana - 105
16 oz/470ml H2O

L - 450
Cheese and vegetable quiche - 450
16 oz/470ml H2O

100g mackerel - 355

D - 450
Cheese and vegetable quiche - 450
16 oz/470ml H2O

Calories - 1605
Exercise - 1 hour on the elliptical trainer so far (Hooray!!!)
H2O - 48 oz


  1. In the last few years, I have grown to like winter less and less. The cold seems colder and the days seem shorter. I am not sure how Michigan compares to England sun-wise, but seem to have mostly overcast days in the summer.

    Even in the bitter cold and darkness, I have been running. An activity that I started last summer. I wonder if my mood will be any better with all the running. Also, I have been ice skating and I hope to do quite of bit of cross country skiing. These will at least get me outside to get the filtered rays of the sun and hopefully plenty of endorphins to fight off the winter blues I usually get.

    Don't let bad weather deter you from getting outside. Good luck.

  2. My father's family is still in England/Wales and several of them have SAD. Light box therapy seems to help a great deal. My stepson is also affected. He lived in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA most of his life and had actually settled into a bad psychosis requiring hospitalization on several occasions. After the last one, I suggested that he move his family here to Florida, where sunshine rules. They've been here amost 5 years now and he's nearly normal. They are talking about moving back to Seattle in the next couple of years and my husband and I have decided to buy them a light box if they do to help prevent the psychosis from returning.

    Exercise would greatly benefit him as well, but he is reluctant to get up off his expanding butt to do anything. It is rather frustrating, actually. We have given up much to help him, but he doesn't seem to want to help himself. I suppost that the best we can hope for for him is just staying sane.

    Sorry - tangent there. He is the worst case scenario of SAD plus a little schizoid affective disorder. It is not a good combination.

  3. I read about this condition six months ago and realised how true it is for me. I find it extremelly hard to stay ontrack foodwise in the winter and as soon as the spring sun pops it's head up it's like something clicks and I'm back into it again!

    Nice to know we're not crazy huh?

  4. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to see the sun for weeks on end, I can only imagine it would be pretty horrible.We dont get that here, which I am grateful for. If I lived over there I would be the size of a Sherman tank, as the tendancy to overeat in our own winter is a problem itself.

    Yes, your right about things coming back to the exercise, I wish though I could get off my fat Ar*e and just do it.

    Hope your feeling beter soon, and go throw that chocolate away, it's to tempting having it in the house.


What's it all about Alfie?