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Planning ahead for winter blues

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Old 06-01-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
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Default Planning ahead for winter blues

I think the term is S.A.D., Seasonal Affective Disorder, or Winter Blues. Whatever it's called, my mood begins to slip around end of August & can get pretty lo by Dec. (I live near San Francisco,CA, 38 latitude). I had a rough time last year and my usual go-to is carbs. I gained 12 lbs last holiday season!

I'm wondering if anyone else deals with SAD and how it affects your weight loss/maintenance journey. Also curious if anyone has tried light therapy--I'm thinking of investing in a good one. Thanks & enjoy the summer daylight!

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Old 06-03-2014, 09:26 AM   #2
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I live in Florida, my problem is too MUCH sun. However, we have family & friends who live in Portland, Oregon, and most of them have had a problem with SAD (particularly those who are transplants from Florida to Oregon!).

Most of them have good things to say about the light therapy -- they have special lamps and light boxes in their homes and swear by them. So if I were you I'd definitely take a look at those!
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:14 AM   #3
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I got hit really hard with seasonal depression last year, way worse than ever before, and it definitely affected my weight. I too thought about getting a sunlight lamp or sunlight bulb, but the information out there was all so confusing about what to actually buy (some of the bulbs apparently say they are "daylight" but may not actually help with S.A.D.?).

I'm glad you posted this...I think it's really smart to be thinking ahead, and maybe I'll take the time to look into it again. I think this year I'll have to hold myself accountable to getting to the gym 3 times a week. Last year I just gave up. I sat on the couch. I ate. And I know that only made how I felt worse. For me it usually starts around September and lingers through until January.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:44 PM   #4
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Thanks Mrs. Snark & nonameslob [Love love love your monikers]! Mrs. S what does too much light do? My friend here uses black out curtains to help her sleep. Interesting about Oregon & adapting from Florida. I used to think I would retire to Alaska, but no way now! Oregon appeals to me but the light issue looms large. I think getting outdoors helps a lot, and also being careful not to overcommit to work, social stuff, etc. Easier said than done. The dilemma for me is if I let myself off the leash with holiday food, I don't want to try to get the pounds off until April, when it's lighter. January is the worst time to reboot a diet, imo!

One reason to plan ahead is that I think prices might go up when SAD season hits.

Sunbox website has great background on SAD and they are also very helpful on the phone. I used their desk lamp 2 yrs ago and it made a real difference. It's a bit large & clunky, and there was a soft electrical buzzing sound so I returned it and they gave me a full refund. I should have kept it, and this is the one I'm thinking of re-buying.

A friend who has bi-polar disorder told me about the smaller, cheaper one on amazon. It works for her and has good reviews. It did nothing for me.


Sunbox desk lamp 190.00 plus tax/ free shipping
http://sunbox.com/product/sunbox-desk-light-white/

Lightphoria on amazon, 69.67 + tax/ free shipping (last fall was only 45.00!)
http://www.amazon.com/Lightphoria-00...ords=sad+light
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:17 PM   #5
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I've been trying to plan ahead for SAD (I have it in the warmer weather) but I have never been prepared for it, so I don't have much advice. Right now sucks for me, but I'm curious about input from others.

I do want to say that in the winter I'm able to make so many low carb and low calorie meals that are hearty: I stick to really hearty soups, chilis, and stews and end up in a very low calorie range.
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mars735 View Post
Mrs. S what does too much light do?
Too much sun makes it hard for me to properly protect my skin. I live on the water and am outside alot (walking, biking, kayaking, boating). I literally grew up on the beaches of Florida -- I was a tan, tan, nut-brown little kid and teenager. And I have had malignant melanoma, the scariest form of skin cancer.

Now as an adult, I spend alot of time (most of the time, actually) in hats and long sleeves and coated with sunscreen just to do ordinary things like dog walking and weeding the flower beds.
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:42 PM   #7
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I defintely have SAD. My HUGE weight gain was mostly over this winter as I had it way, way bad this year. In March I finally bought an SAD light (a good one - those little things on the corner of your desk are useless). I am supposed to sit under it for 30 minutes every day, preferably in the morning from September to/thru April. AS WELL as on rainy days or continually cloudy days as even then I notice my mood take a dip south.

So, I have no idea if it works or not as my mood was lifting as there was starting to be more light but at least THIS FALL I will have a light and be prepared. What always happens is that mid February I'm so depressed that I can't do anything to help myself. When I finally bought it, my husband said, "Why did you wait so long to get one?" Of course my comeback was, "Why did you never think to get me one as how will I 'think about it' while I'm depressed?" men!

So... the plan is to use it. If it doesn't work and I see myself slipping, I will get on an antidepressant as I cannot keep having these awful winters - NO WAY.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:00 AM   #8
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Too much sun makes it hard for me to properly protect my skin. I live on the water and am outside alot (walking, biking, kayaking, boating). I literally grew up on the beaches of Florida -- I was a tan, tan, nut-brown little kid and teenager. And I have had malignant melanoma, the scariest form of skin cancer.

Now as an adult, I spend alot of time (most of the time, actually) in hats and long sleeves and coated with sunscreen just to do ordinary things like dog walking and weeding the flower beds.
Wow I see you mean by too much sun, for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchy View Post
I've been trying to plan ahead for SAD (I have it in the warmer weather) but I have never been prepared for it, so I don't have much advice. Right now sucks for me, but I'm curious about input from others.

I do want to say that in the winter I'm able to make so many low carb and low calorie meals that are hearty: I stick to really hearty soups, chilis, and stews and end up in a very low calorie range.
I've of warm weather SAD and sorry you're having it now. Is it due to too much light? Thanks for the great idea re hearty low carb--that's perfect for me. I really start getting a sense of dread after summer solstice, just knowing the days are going to shorten. I'll be glad to look forward to cooking hearty recipes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
I defintely have SAD. My HUGE weight gain was mostly over this winter as I had it way, way bad this year. In March I finally bought an SAD light (a good one - those little things on the corner of your desk are useless). I am supposed to sit under it for 30 minutes every day, preferably in the morning from September to/thru April. AS WELL as on rainy days or continually cloudy days as even then I notice my mood take a dip south.

So, I have no idea if it works or not as my mood was lifting as there was starting to be more light but at least THIS FALL I will have a light and be prepared. What always happens is that mid February I'm so depressed that I can't do anything to help myself. When I finally bought it, my husband said, "Why did you wait so long to get one?" Of course my comeback was, "Why did you never think to get me one as how will I 'think about it' while I'm depressed?" men!

So... the plan is to use it. If it doesn't work and I see myself slipping, I will get on an antidepressant as I cannot keep having these awful winters - NO WAY.
What brand/type of light do you have? Thanks!

Last edited by mars735 : 06-05-2014 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:36 AM   #9
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I've of warm weather SAD and sorry you're having it now. Is it due to too much light? Thanks for the great idea re hearty low carb--that's perfect for me. I really start getting a sense of dread after summer solstice, just knowing the days are going to shorten. I'll be glad to look forward to cooking hearty recipes!
I think it's more related to heat/body image/and just feeling so damn uncomfortable! I think I've had one summer since I was seven years old begin where I didn't freak out because it was coming up. I try to offset it by buying all of these great summer clothes every year, but I just end up with more and more in my closet that I don't wear.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchy View Post
I've been trying to plan ahead for SAD (I have it in the warmer weather) but I have never been prepared for it, so I don't have much advice. Right now sucks for me, but I'm curious about input from others.

I do want to say that in the winter I'm able to make so many low carb and low calorie meals that are hearty: I stick to really hearty soups, chilis, and stews and end up in a very low calorie range.
I definitely look forward to seeing some of these recipes...last fall I went off the rails, my depression combined with my food cravings. Ugh!

RE: Your summer seasonal depression, I wish I had input but the causes of yours vs. mine seem entirely different. For me it's truly related to the decrease of sunlight and the sun being lower in the sky, near as I can tell, which makes my brain all wonky. I hope you're able to get through this summer with self-confidence!
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Old 06-10-2014, 01:30 PM   #11
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I've already been trying to plan how I will handle winter, so I was thrilled to see a thread on here!

I have depression and take antidepressants for it, but it gets even WORSE in the winter, and I have never been able to sustain any weight loss over the winter. A few times in my life I have had significant weight loss and was doing very well until November hit...then everything unraveled and fell apart, and I gained all the weight back and then some.

If I'm going to work hard all summer, I really don't want this to end up like every other time.

I've been making a list of things I can do, including joining some fitness challenges, finding an online support group, do a HUGE amount of pre-meal planning, and possibly look into getting counseling over the winter.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:53 AM   #12
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Hi Mars,

Good for you for planning ahead! Have you read Dorothy Hamill's book? I think it's called A Skating Life. She has SAD too and it's quite an interesting read. I don't have SAD, I have Bipolar but I empathize with what you go through. I find winter to be tough too.

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Old 06-15-2014, 09:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassyinkpen View Post
I've already been trying to plan how I will handle winter, so I was thrilled to see a thread on here!

I have depression and take antidepressants for it, but it gets even WORSE in the winter, and I have never been able to sustain any weight loss over the winter. A few times in my life I have had significant weight loss and was doing very well until November hit...then everything unraveled and fell apart, and I gained all the weight back and then some.

If I'm going to work hard all summer, I really don't want this to end up like every other time.

I've been making a list of things I can do, including joining some fitness challenges, finding an online support group, do a HUGE amount of pre-meal planning, and possibly look into getting counseling over the winter.
Sassyinkpen, I suggest considering a SAD light as part of your arsenal. You have some good weapons already, though. Counseling, especially cognitive-based I think, can be a great help to reinforce what you are doing & add some new things, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seabiscuit View Post
Hi Mars,

Good for you for planning ahead! Have you read Dorothy Hamill's book? I think it's called A Skating Life. She has SAD too and it's quite an interesting read. I don't have SAD, I have Bipolar but I empathize with what you go through. I find winter to be tough too.

Thank-you, seabiscuit--your words & book rec. are so appreciated! I have a friend with bipolar & know it is no picnic. I will definitely read this book.


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Old 06-15-2014, 09:39 AM   #14
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I am on Wellbutrin (which pretty much saved my life) but I can still tell a marked difference in my moods on grey days. I keep a diary and always note the weather so it's easy to trace. I first have to remind myself that it is the weather, and not that my life has suddenly become meaningless. But I think I will talk to my doctor and get a SAD light and also try to find a large piece of artwork that is blue sky and ocean that I can look at, as I think it will help.
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:50 AM   #15
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I'm also like that on gray days, seagirl, even though I like them. Love your idea about the artwork.

This is gonna sound nutty, but I've noticed that I enjoy orange & yellow veggies, in particular, navel oranges and butternut squash, esp. during wintertime. It's as if i'm trying to ingest some sunshine

The lights work best if you begin them early, not when you are already experiencing SAD. Though, if you are using it for gray days year round, maybe this won't be an issue.
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