As The Weather Gets Colder, Does Your Appetite Heat Up?

[Note: This post contains talk about specific foods. Just a note in case you find that triggering!]

Today was the chilliest day we’ve had here in New York so far this fall—and aside from making me want to dig out my winter jackets from the back of the closet, cooler weather also kind of makes me want to eat.

When the wind gets crisp like this, I want to get cozy, and chop, and cook, and bake, and then sit down and have something warm and comforting to eat. It’s very natural and normal—but, with a history of disordered eating, sometimes I’m not completely sure what part of me is thinking about the food. The healthy part of me that simply wants comforting nourishment and pleasurable food? Or the old emotional eater part of me who wants an excuse to eat?

So, today, when I found myself thinking I wanted to get cozy in the kitchen, and my thoughts turned to chocolate-chip pumpkin bread, I decided to give myself a break from sugar and look for a healthy dinner recipe to try instead. (Might as well be safe than sorry—why set myself up to overeat if I’m not sure where these cravings are coming from? If I’m still craving pumpkin bread next weekend, and it seems normal, I can make it then and take the leftovers to work!)

I made this beef and bean chili from Real Simple—and I scratched my baking itch too, by whipping up these corn muffins with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (not my favorite, I wouldn’t make this particular recipe again, although John loved them).

Are any of you having colder-weather cozy-food cravings? If so, does it scare you or feel like a normal part of your appetite ups and downs? xo…Sunny

9 Responses to As The Weather Gets Colder, Does Your Appetite Heat Up?

  1. Andrea Owen says:

    Great noticing, Sunny! It’s funny, as soon as I started reading, I thought, “Ooohhh, cold weather makes me want to make and eat chocolate chip pumpkin bread.” and then I saw you like that too!

    For me, I notice, let myself have it and that’s it. Not 5 loaves Iike I’ve done in the past. :)

  2. Jessie says:

    Oooh, so funny because last week I made pumpkin, chocolate-chip bread. It was amazing, but a horrible idea. I ate it all in about 24 hours, and I felt completely out of control. I’m pretty sure that I triggered a week long baking/eating binge :( I wish I could make it without feeling completely crazy! But the cold weather definitely makes me want to bake and sit on the couch and EAT. And not exercise…which is just all a vicious cycle! (I also ended up making and eating an entire loaf of chocolate chip/banana/peanut butter bread…hmm maybe I need to stop keeping chocolate chips in the house…)

    • Sunny says:

      The times when I’ve successfully baked, I’ve had a plan in place–like, one piece of whatever after dinner every night for two or three nights, then the rest goes to work to give away. But when I’m feeling emotionally vulnerable, or don’t have a plan, baking something sweet just isn’t a good idea. xo…Sunny

      • Jessie says:

        Great tip!!! It’s probably better just to not have it, but maybe if I give myself permission to have it for dessert one or two nights before I whisk away to work, I won’t feel like I have to inhale it all at once. Thank you!

  3. Jenelle says:

    Once the weather turns (and thank goodness for that.. 90 degree days in September are not supposed to happen!), I tend to switch up my daily meals. Cold cereal in the morning is now hot oatmeal. I’ve recently swapped my routine crunchy cold salads for brown rice topped with spicy and warm pre-portioned Indian foods. Healthy substitutions are my defense against hearty cold-weather cravings. I also LOVE the beginning of soup season because it’s such an easy way to eat all those great autumn farmers’ market finds.

    Once it starts getting colder, I think I’ll get the baking bug. I love pumpkin ANYTHING. I just acquired some housemates, however, and I think that having them around to help bake (and eat!) said treats will keep me from eating more than I need.

    • Katie says:

      Mmm, sooooouuuuuup. Maybe for those of you craving pumpkin bread, pick up some butternut squash soup? It’s not the same but it still says “cozy” to me.

  4. LovesCatsinCA says:

    I feel more like warm, comforting foods when the weather turns. It’s rainy today (yes it rains in Southern California!) and I want things like noodles and soup… As for the pumpkin thing, I love pumpkin–and it’s actually a healthy substitute for oil and egg in most cake mixes…

    I’ve been ordering my Starbucks with two pumps of pumpkin syrup in it–Don’t like to use real sweeteners for the most part but if I don’t I feel deprived… and I do regular coffee with pumpkin and a little milk instead of lattes…

    It is hard sometimes figuring out what part of us is “normal” and what isn’t. I find myself doing disordered things at times… I just remind myself of the difference between now and 20 years ago when I did have a full on eating disorder and look at the progress in my behavior rather than the negatives…

  5. LovesCatsinCA says:

    Oops–didn’t mean to say I feel deprived if I don’t use real sugar/sweeteners… it’s forgoing all the pumpkin spice coffee drinks that would make me feel that way. Hence my adaptation with just a little syrup…

    and if you want a healthier way to do pumpkin and chocolate baking, Tina at Carrots N Cake had a good recipe for some decently healthy muffins (portion control if you are able to stick to one…)

    http://carrotsncake.com/2009/01/pumpkin-oatmeal-muffins.html

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.