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The Impact Of More Darkness

Although the temperatures have been remaining in the summer-like ranges, we have all noticed that there is much less daylight now than in the late spring/earlier summer.  I am writing this entry on the first day of Autumn and slowly but surely, the early morning darkness is progressing and the early evening sunsets are earlier.

Does the progressive darkness produce an impact on weight control?  For those outdoor exercisers, it is much less palatable to go out for the early morning run or walk when it is dark outside.  It seems much more inviting to stay in bed and get that extra rest time.  Similarly, in the evenings when the early summer strolls post-dinner were welcomed, now, the post-dinner darkness points us toward the couch to watch our favorite shows.

If energy expenditure is less due to less caloric burn-off, this out more onus on the dietary part of the equation?  Clearly the answer is “yes”.  However, the ever-increasing darkness also creates some challenges there as well.  For those people that enjoy taking advantage of the early summer extended light periods, grilling out provided lots of opportunity to prepare additional protein that can be used for other meals during the week.  

There also seems to be a predilection for eating “comfort foods” when it turns colder and darker outside.  Grilled cheese sandwiches seem more appropriate for the seasonal changes than the summer salad.

There are many challenges that are thrown in the path of a successful weight control journey.  Some of these challenges are unavoidable, such as seasonal changes and duration of daylight.  Take a step back and think about how the daylight changes may be impacting your efforts and then take the necessary steps to compensate for the restricted daylight.  The good news:  Starting December 21, the days will start increasing in daylight.  The bad news:  We still have 3 more months of decreasing daylight.  Do not let any of this hinder your goals to become healthier and happier via successful weight control.

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