| 11.5°C Dublin

the autumn blues cure

Each year the advent of colder weather sees us waving goodbye to our healthier summer habits. With the leaves blowing off the trees and the temperatures dropping, you might feel tempted to hide under layers of clothes and eat away through those autumn blues. But, it doesn't have to be that way -- here's our guide to beating your seasonal health slip-ups ...

You Lose Motivation

With summer well and truly over, and Christmas too far away to get excited about, autumn can be something of a 'nothing' season making it hard to feel motivated or have goals to aim for.

Beat It: Kick-start your get up and go by creating a new personal goal. Start with a short-term goal, such as doing three walks this week or reading one inspirational book this month. Make a list of beneficial reasons to commit to your goal, which you can look at for regular motivational top-ups.

You Hibernate Indoors

Besides putting a dampener on your mood, lack of daylight can also affect your waistline. People who are overweight tend to have lower levels of vitamin D which can influence the functioning of a hormone called leptin, making you more likely to overeat.

Beat It: You don't have to wait for clear blue skies to grab just a small dose of vitamin D. Commit to getting outside and enjoying some fresh air every single day. Try to set aside even 10 minutes in every lunch hour for a brisk walk. Then at weekends, make the most of the gorgeous autumnal display of colours by visiting your local park or forest.

You Comfort Eat

Now that the bikini is safely packed away for another year you find yourself tucking into stodgy dinners and reaching for the chocolate. One of the reasons we comfort eat at this time of year is that shorter days and lack of sunshine reduce our body's production of serotonin -- AKA, 'the happy hormone'. Our bodies' natural reaction to this is to crave more of the carbohydrates that raise serotonin levels, such as potatoes, pasta and chocolate.

Beat It: When it's cold out, you may not feel like eating salads or fruit, but you can still have healthy warming foods which are just as comforting. Soups, stews and baked fruit are a great way to fill up and stay warm. If you make use of all the gorgeous colourful produce in season at this time of year then there'll be no need to turn to the unhealthy stuff.