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Old 01-10-2011, 02:54 AM   #1  
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Default Solstices, Equinoctes and Weight, Oh my.....

Hi, please may a non-Pagan ask a question?

For about as long as I can remember, I've suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which has only got worse over the years. I'm not talking Winter Blues, I'm talking "I am about to cease to exist, I'm in a black hole of utter despair".

Last year, I happened to read an article that said the human body is programmed to want/need more carbs during the winter months. I decided to stop fighting something natural, upped my carbs, get a daily walk in the light and - wonder of wonders, barely a flake of depression since I first felt its nasty little fingers in around October.

I've just been posting on another thread about what my WoE is and why, and found myself deciding to stay with the higher carb until the Spring Equinox, then lower the carbs again until the Autumn Equinox.

So my question is: Is there research on Eating/Dieting and the rhythms of the earth? Or did you read it here first ?? Probably not. If anyone knows of anything I could read on this, I'd love to know.

And ps, what's the difference between a solstice and an equinox?
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:19 AM   #2  
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And ps, what's the difference between a solstice and an equinox?

A solstice is when it's the longest day of the year - around June 20th (aka mid-summer's day) or the longest night - late December (there's a reason many religious holidays fall around this time).

The equinox are when the day and night are equal length (easy to remember with equi and equal having the same Latin root)- one in the spring and one in the fall.

Officially the seasons change on these dates - Winter becomes Spring at the Spring equinox, Spring becomes Summer at the summer solstice, etc.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:12 AM   #3  
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Another way to put it is that if you are north of the Equator, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. If you're south of the Equator, the winter solstice on Dec. 21ish is actually the longest day of the year, and the summer solstice on June 21ish is the shortest day of the year... And if you're lucky enough to live on the equator, every day has the same length year round. Although if you're used to having twilight hit at 9pm or later on warm summer evenings, you may find the earlier dark at the equator a little disappointing.

The solstices and equinoxes are determined by the position of the sun in the sky; because of the tilt of the Earth's axis the sun's position in the sky changes from 23.5 degrees south of the Celestial Equator (the projection of the Earth's equator out into the sky... so basically 0 degrees of "sky latitude") on December 21 to 23.5 degrees north of the Celestial Equator on June 21. So if you live in the Northern Hemisphere like I'm guessing a lot of people on this board, you will have longer days / summer when the sun is north of the Celestial Equator. But if you were in Australia or something you would have shorter days, and therefore winter type weather. When the sun is directly sitting on the Celestial Equator, it would be directly overhead at noon if you were standing at the Earth's equator, and everybody on the planet gets a day with an equal amount of night-time and daylight (the equinoxes).

So if there is a relation to season and caloric requirements, it's gonna depend where you are on the planet anyway... from the technical point of few anyway. But from a strictly sciencey point of view it would seem to make sense as there are many examples in nature of natural seasonal activity modification in a variety of animal species.
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