We all want to lose some of the pounds we pack on during the winter, especially since bathing suits are hitting the racks at the stores already. One source of weight gain that is not commonly recognized is connected to light deprivation – not getting enough of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. Twenty years ago, I would see workshop participants that were light deprived when I went to Chicago or upstate New York or Canada and in the northern parts of Europe; now I see it everywhere, even in sunny California and Las Vegas! These days, everyone heads outside fully clothed, slathered in sun block and covered up with a hat. And chances are they’re driving around in the car instead of walking.
If you feel depressed, and we all know that unhappy people eat more, there is a really good chance that you are light deprived. We need enough Vitamin D to produce the serotonin that puts us in a “sunny” mood. This is why you feel so good when you go to the beach or take a vacation in the summer that keeps you outside in the sunshine a good part of the time.
Recent studies indicate that deficiencies in Vitamin D may cause weight gain and even stunt growth in growing girls; women who didn't get enough D were shorter and heavier.
I know you’re probably asking, “But what about skin cancer?” You don’t want to damage your skin, but you do want to get some sun. We actually need 20 minutes, preferably in the early morning or late afternoon, on as much exposed bare skin as possible (without getting arrested) . . . every day.
Nowadays we’re hearing how vital Vitamin D is for our health overall. When we are low on Vitamin D, A walk in the sun may be better than popping a vitamin C tablet for boosting your chances of preventing the common cold or flu. A new study shows that people with the highest vitamin D levels report having significantly fewer cases of cold and flu than those with lower levels.
If your lifestyle or the part of the country that you live in prevent you from getting out in the sun, think about getting a light box. You can get one at your local pharmacy or on the internet. Use it while you are reading a book or working at your desk. Chances are, you’ll feel a lot happier and you will start to lose weight. You can also buy full spectrum light bulbs, which are relatively inexpensive and environmentally sensitive. Please avoid tanning beds, which don’t do the same thing for you, and can be harmful.
You will also want to take supplemental Vitamin D3 – ask your health practitioner how much is right for you.
And there’s always grandma’s recipe—a teaspoon of cod liver oil a couple of times a week is a great source of Vitamin D! And now, you can get cod liver oil in capsules too.
Just think, you could do something as simple as getting 20 minutes a day outside in the sunshine, treat yourself to an extra hour of sleep every night (http://www.opposingviews.com/i/lose-weight-while-you’re-sleeping), and you’ll lose weight! And you won’t believe what it will do for your mood, your ability to handle problems, reduce your anxiety, and increase your whole happiness level. Sun (and sleep) are true miracle products!