Mikkipedia is an exploration in all things health, well being, fitness, food and nutrition. I sit down with scientists, doctors, professors, practitioners and people who have a wealth of experience and have a conversation that takes a deep dive into their area of expertise. I love translating science into a language that people understand, so while some of the conversations will be pretty in-depth, you will come away with some practical tips that can be instigated into your everyday life. I hope you enjoy the show!
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Hey everyone, it's Mikki here. You're listening to Mini Mikkipedia on a Monday. And today let's talk about seasonal change and specifically winter weight gain and what to do about it. First of all, it is not your imagination if you are a couple of kilos heavier than what you were going into the winter season. And as you know, I do like a bit of data. Some people...
might think this is cherry picking, but literally if you go and plug in seasonal variation in weight to PubMed, you'll come across a number of studies that show that when we compare the different seasons, people generally weigh more going into spring than they do at other times of the year. And you know, that makes sense, right? During summer, we are out a lot more.
potentially being more active. If you're in a hot environment, you don't tend to be as hungry, so you might eat a little less as well. And in fact, there is research to show that people are more insulin sensitive over the summer months as well. So it has an evolutionary basis too, because evolutionarily speaking, we had access to more fruits across those summer months, and so therefore the body did like a really good job of
utilizing that energy. However, in the winter months, we didn't have access to that food, and therefore our bodies sort of downregulated to some degree the ability to metabolize carbohydrates. So there is that seasonal variation as well. Research shows that people who generally gain weight, because of course there will be people whose weight remains pretty stable across the course of a year, but those people who do gain weight tend to gain the most weight.
coming out of winter into spring, and also during more obvious times, I suppose, or as obvious times, which would be Christmas time and Easter time. Another interesting thing actually that one of those studies picked up, the Australian study, is how weight fluctuates across a week. What we tend to find is that we weigh more on a Monday and a Tuesday compared to other days of the week.
type of eating or the eating that was done across the weekend. And for anyone that, you know, has ever really thought about this before, we're in a very good routine. A lot of us in that Monday to Friday weekend, or sorry, weekdays. And therefore there's a lot of structure around our meal times to take the thinking out of it. We generally have sort of set meals that we might rotate in our repertoire week to week.
Lunches are generally very similar because we know what's easy to put together or if we're buying out We generally go to the same places and what's available and then people are in a habit with breakfast or not But of course come weekend, we might sleep in a little bit later The first meal might be a bit later. Some people will skip lunch and just have a couple of snacks because of that first meal timing However, the types of foods and stuff that we might have
more energy dense or calorie dense, another way of putting that. So you do end up consuming, or potentially you can end up consuming a few more calories there. So come Monday, if you jump on the scales, as they did in this study, it reveals that your body weight is heavier than what it would be going into the weekend. Thursday and Friday tends to have your lightest weights. Now,
Anyone that's done work with me before and we talk about the scales and in fact, I've done a whole mini-macropedia on what impacts on the scales. Obviously with that storage of additional carbohydrate, you might be eating through snacks or potentially meals. If you eat more meals out in the weekend, then you're going, these will contain probably more sodium. So that is going to impact on scale weight. That shift in sleeping pattern. So you might.
go on Saturday and Sunday to sleep a little longer to then have to get up early again on a Monday. That can change what's impacted on the scale through water regulation. All of this is about water regulation. But ultimately, what some of the data would suggest, it's also food choice as well. Now, this isn't an issue. Your weight will change day to day. It's quite labile, or it can be. Whereas what you really are interested in is what is the trend in your weight?
So for example, if you were someone who did weigh yourself daily, had terrible weekend habits compared to your weekday, you might find that your calorie budget across the week is set at such a point that the variation in your weight on the weekend or after the weekend doesn't really make it too much of a difference in terms of your overall trend of weight gain or weight loss. So you can stay pretty stable.
Other people though who might not be as in tune as this can blow out and then over the course of say a month or three, that sort of higher weight on a Monday can start to creep up and this is what they find particularly in the winter months. Now one or two kilos is neither here nor there, over Christmas, Easter, over winter, but it's the cumulated weight gain over time and I can't tell you the number of people, I'm sure I've said this before, who…
come to me almost unaware of the weight that they've gained over the last five years. Because it's very, when it is as slow as what it can be, you can stay pretty unaware of these things until you see a photograph or you jump on the scales or you're not fitting into your jeans and then you actually do a bit of an oh gosh what's going on. So these are things that can happen. Which is why spring is
one of the most popular times of the year to lose weight and to actually start paying more attention to diet and exercise. And look, you guys know I'm all about this, so I'm certainly I imagine I'm not going to be ruffling any feathers here. It's not about aesthetics actually. Although of course, if it is about aesthetics for you, that's fine too. It is okay to want to look your best self. But I think from a health perspective,
We are in the prevention game. You might be 35, weighing a couple of extra kilos, that might not be a big deal. But if you fast forward 10 years and you're 45, weighing an extra 10, 12 kilos, that can be a big deal. And I've spoken about this before and written about this before, that though people who carry excess body fat at a younger age appear to be as healthy as other people who aren't carrying excess body fat,
It's that trajectory over time that matters because over time, their health indicators start going downhill compared to people who are of a healthy weight for them. So if you're in this position where you have gained a little bit of weight and you're just wanting some guidance as to where to next, I've got some suggestions, unsurprisingly. So the first thing to do is do a nutrition audit. What are you doing? When are you doing it? And actually,
get yourself up to date with your own habits and behaviors around food. Not just around food though, I would do an overall audit of your food, what your sleep is like, what the number of steps that you're doing, and the number of gym sessions that you're doing as well, or runs or whatever it is. Because this can pretty much
give you insight into where you need to make changes. And I spoke about this in my fat loss 101 course last week, is that until you know what is going wrong, you can't then put into place strategies to help resolve the issue. And a lot of us think we know what's going wrong. Like we think, oh, I just need to eat healthy because I haven't eaten that well. And despite the fact that eating healthy and not eating well, these are very sort of vague terms that are hard to sort of pinpoint what they actually mean. Ultimately,
Maybe one of the reasons why you're not eating well is because you Unde-eat on certain days of the week that then means you overdo it on other days of the week You know that these are the kind of things that you want to know in order to see where you make change With the activity and the steps. I think this is really important not of course just because It's critical. It's essential for overall health But also of course for your fat loss goals, but sometimes we have it in our head that we do certain things
we actually don't. I know a lot of people, a lot of clients, they report that they go to the gym four to five times a week. Yet, when we look back on their previous four weeks since they saw me last, it averaged to be two or three times a week. And more times two than three. Because of the number of times that they stayed up late with work or with Netflix to just push the snooze button and think they're going to go in the afternoon but they never get around to it.
So we can be way more awesome in our heads and on paper than what we actually are. Not that I'm saying you're not awesome, but it's easy for these things to sort of slip in without us really realizing it. And with the steps, this is key too. Over winter we are just less active because of the obvious thing, the weather, darkness at both ends of the day means it's harder particularly.
for people who only have time in the early morning, like it's harder both from a motivation perspective but from a safety aspect, get out. Then on the weekends, if the weather isn't so great, we do tend to obviously stay indoors rather than get outside and get those steps in. So what I would do is I would do that nutrition audit across seven days in addition to your sleep audit, your...
number of steps and your activity. Because all of these things matter when it comes to fat loss. And take a daily weight as well. Because you don't want to be listening to this going, oh I wonder if that's me, I wonder if I've gained weight, then weigh yourself once. Because as I said, weight is really labile. You want to get an average trend over the course of seven days and see what actually is going on and how that sits with where you think you are, or where your ideal weight is. Notwithstanding
all of the limitations when you only think about weight. And you guys know that I don't think weight is the most important measure, but it's a measure. Now, you guys know I'm all about protein, and I'm less about fasting now than what I was, you know, 10 years ago. And in fact, I came across a paper this week that showed that women who fast across the morning are not able to preserve muscle mass to the same extent as women who eat
In addition to that, fasting across the morning meant that their blood sugar control at that next meal was worse than had they eaten breakfast, and particularly a higher protein breakfast. Spring resets are all about detox, reset, getting rid of the old and bringing in the new. You will always make progress. No.
You will always lose weight when you choose strategies and tactics that allow for rapid weight loss. Like I'm thinking juice cleanse, that's quite popular this time of year. Or do a shake diet, have isogenics twice a day, that kind of thing. Not to pick on any one brand, that just was the thing that came into my mind. Yet, and you will lose weight, but you're not doing anything for your long-term health. Now, I'm a big fan of thinking about weight loss as sort of a step.
in your path to overall becoming a healthier, stronger, more capable version of the person you are today. And a juice cleanse and a quick fix keto diet is not going to get you there. Particularly in light of that research which I just shared, and I'll share the paper with you in the show notes as well for those people who are interested. It is not the best approach for you long term.
Long term, what you want to be doing is trying to put into place strategies and tactics that you can see yourself doing for the rest of time. And to be fair, the number of people who fast through the morning to then just feel so delighted, particularly when they start Mondays Matter, to then see that they've got three meals a day every day of the week, like that in itself is worth rethinking things if you like. So you do a nutrition audit and then
you figure out what you need to change for your sort of individual patterns and behaviors, be it food prep, be it meal planning, is it that you need to start having breakfast so you're not under eating and then caving later in the day, all of these things are issues which are quite common that I see. Another one which I will just very briefly touch on is try to avoid snacking.
You can take on board so many more calories when you snack, and so many people I know have morning and afternoon tea, yet have desk jobs where they sit for their 8 hour day. I encourage you, even if you didn't do the nutrition audit but you know you snack, I encourage you to just stop snacking. And maybe that's a thing you do this week after listening to this episode. Just make a deal with yourself, draw a line in the sand and say, I am not going to snack. Now,
I know I've talked about this before, but your body goes through changes hormonally to prepare to eat when it's used to eating. Like a lot of what we do is habitual, and it's not just that psychological habit, it's a physiological habit as well. Your body is primed to snack at 10am if you've been doing it for several years. So you will feel hungry initially. That hunger will pass. So if you are getting up listening to this and then going, right, I'm not going to snack today.
Expect to feel hungry, have some sparkling water or some water or a cup of tea or something like that and then get through to lunch. Over the course of about 10 days that hunger will diminish, particularly if you take care of that meal beforehand. So it might mean that you end up putting more calories in your breakfast and lunch to offset the snacking that occurs in morning and afternoon tea. Now i'm not saying nobody should snack.
because snacking is really appropriate, particularly if you are very active and you have an intense training session. But if you're looking to lose weight and you feel like you do a lot of things right and you still snack, I would say get rid of the snack. And I imagine that over the course of the next six to eight weeks, you'll see an appreciable change in the scales, but also what you see in the mirror. And I've seen that time and again, it is one of the best things.
If you do end up adding more to your meals and you might need to, then look for that protein. So add protein powder to your yogurt if you have fruit and yogurt for breakfast, or add it to oats. I've also been having oats with egg whites added to them after you cook them to give that a bit more protein. And then I've been putting the protein powder in water. It makes a little bit of a paste and then you sort of stir that through and that's quite delicious, just FYI. But when you do that,
you're getting yourself an extra 30 grams of protein in a meal that might not otherwise have had it. Other suggestions would be to add meat alongside your smoothie. Anyone that follows me on social media will see that I do that. And don't be afraid to eat more at that meal because we are changing what you're doing in that morning tea time and potentially that afternoon tea time. Finally, my other little tip. So the first one is don't skip breakfast. The second thing is don't snack. The third thing, never eat standing up.
Just make that a rule for yourself because a lot of what goes in our mouths we're not even conscious of because we've almost, it's not a decision that we make using our sort of logical brain. Things that just end up in our mouths before we even know it. So if you make a decision to never eat standing up, that means you have to be deliberate about what you eat and not eat. So you have to really sort of have your game on when you are clearing the kids lunch boxes or the plates off the table.
or the leftovers for tomorrow that you're not putting some of them in your mouth as well. And I'm not saying don't eat if you're not legitimately hungry, but if you are hungry, then what you need to do is actually get a plate, put some food on a plate, go to a table, sit down and eat it then. And all of these steps might then sort of make you wonder whether or not you are truly hungry or is this just something that's out of habit.
I do have to say, and I will completely own this, I'm rubbish at that last one. I just cannot do it. I almost always automatically eat when I cook and when I am preparing food. That is always a constant work on for me. So it might be a constant work on for you as well. But I think one of the most important things that you can do if you have come out of the winter,
period and it's fresh into spring and you're thinking, oh, I would like to lose a couple of kilos, is to actually figure out where some of your pain points are and what you might need to change. And finally, of course, well, Monday's Matter Registration kicks off today. And if you in your head do not have the bandwidth to figure this out yourself, come join us. A lot of these principles and practices I talk about daily are integral parts of the Monday's Matter September edition plan.
And as you know, Darren has got some awesome workouts for beginner, for at home, for at the gym. He's got some mobility and movement stuff as well. You will be well sorted for the next eight weeks. So there's a little plug for Monday's matter. And I tell you what, it is worth it. The number of people who see success. And remember, anything you do, just try to do it in a way that sets you up so you're doing it.
the rest of your life actually. Whatever you do just avoid those quick fixes that might lead to rapid weight loss but then leaves you in a worse position than when you started. That's not what you want so well I assume that's not what you want so uh yeah anyway for further advice check me out on Instagram threads and Twitter @MikkiWilliden. Haven't been that active on threads keep forgetting about it actually. This every time I
say threads on this mini-mikkipedia. It does remind me I need to go and actually do something there. Anyway, I will. Facebook @mikkiwillidennutrition or head to my website mikkiwilliden.com sign up to Mondays matter. We kick off next Monday, Monday the 25th of September and I cannot wait to help the hundreds of people through the start of their forever approach and diet to feeling more
capable and confident around food. All right guys, you have a great week.