The Danish concept of Hygge – often translated into English as cosiness – has taken the world by storm. As Winter nights draw in nothing is more appealing than the idea of tapping into a Scandinavian lifestyle that promotes hunkering down at home and enjoying simple pleasures.

And now it’s been revealed that as well as helping us to become more zen, Hygge could actually be the key to losing weight. Yes, it seems that there really is no problem that Danes can’t solve!

Here’s how:

Embrace the great outdoors

lose weight

In his book How To Hygge Signe Johansen reveals that the Nordic people’s love of the great outdoors could hold the key to staying in shape.

“The outdoors is preferable to the gym every time,” he writes.

And it seems that there is some science to support this idea. A research team from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry analysed 11 trials – including more than 800 adults – and found that outdoor exercise was associated with increased energy and revitalisation!

Food for thought

We all know that eating mindfully can help us become of conscious what we are eating. And Hygge totally embraces this concept, encouraging us to savour each and every morsel of our favourite foods and drinks.

“Hygge happens when we commit to the pleasure of the present moment in its simplicity,” says Louisa Thomsen Brits, author of The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well.

And how does she put this into practice? Well the simple answer to that is whenever possible, as she goes on to explain:

“I hygger [yes, it’s a verb as well] when I make risotto… make tea or read in bed.”

Eating slowly, chewing our food and honing in on flavour, texture and the pleasure we receive from eating are all practical ways to incorporate Hygge into mealtimes.

Turn eating into an occasion

Rather than eating our evening meal in front of a boxset, or grabbing lunch on-the-go, Hygge prompts us to create an inviting atmosphere in which to enjoy dining.

After living in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen for a year Alex Hely-Hutchinson – owner of café 26 Grains and book of the same name (Square Peg, £20) – reveals how she hit upon the perfect Hygge formula.

“Beyond the taste of the food, it’s the sounds of your friends and family in the next room, good music playing, and the bowl you’ve chosen to eat from, all give you a sense of contentment. That, along with the cooking and the time I’ve taken to prepare, is hygge to me,” she says.

Treat yourself

woman-eating-chocolates

Rather than depriving ourselves of our favourite bar of chocolate or hunk of flavoursome cheese, Hygge is all about indulging in a little of what you fancy. In fact the ScandiKitchen’s Guide to Hygge tells us that snacking and Hygge often go hand in hand.

“FACT: The presence of food, sweets, cakes and crisps is the easiest way to speed up the feeling of ‘hygge,” they write on their blog.

So a treat now in front of a roaring fire, could prevent you tearing into that jumbo bag of crisps later!

So are you ready to embrace Hygge? Join the conversation on our Facebook page – @womanmagazine.

Glorious soup have come up with a handy 2-day plan to add a bit of hygge into your life and give your weight loss plan a kick start…

THE GLORIOUS SOUP HYGGE PLAN

 

Morning

Afternoon

Evening

Day 1

Breakfast: A warming bowl of porridge made with oats and milk, topped with sliced banana, a little drizzle of honey, sprinkle of flaked almonds & a dash of ginger and cinnamon

 

Nichola says: “Start your day how you mean to carry on with this delicious and healthy bowl of porridge which provides slow releasing carbohydrate, healthy fats, protein as well as soluble fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer. The cinnamon & ginger provide a wonder sugar-free flavour addition for that ultimate hygge feeling!”

Lunch: GLORIOIS! Greens Ltd Edition soup

 

Nichola says: “This Glorious limited edition soup is perfect for a mini ‘detox’ as it provides at least one of your five portions of fruit and vegetables which provide vitamins, minerals and fibre. You can heat the soups easily and quickly in a microwave which means that you can have a hygge experience at work too! Make sure to eat your lunch AWAY from your desk though for that ultimate hygge mindful eating experience.”

Dinner: Salmon fillet topped with Greek yoghurt & crushed rye crackers (oven baked), served with tender stem broccoli and oven roasted sweet potato wedges

 

Nichola says: “Oily fish such as salmon is needed for a healthy heart and mind, and provides essential fatty acids as well as vitamins for healthy hair, skin and nails. Our immune systems will also be kept healthy thanks to the sweet potato which provides vitamin A, and the broccoli which provides vitamin C. This delicious hot dinner can be whipped up in 30 minutes; giving you more time to snuggle on the sofa hygge style!

Hygge activity: Swimming

Kayleigh says: “Why not head to your local pool nice and early for a leisurely swim before the crowds arrive? Swimming is a great form of exercise, as it’s a whole-body workout and gentle on joints. The fantastic thing about swimming is that you can do it at a pace that suits you, so you can take a bit of morning me-time to gather your thoughts in the water.”

Hygge activity: Walking

Kayleigh says: “Get outside into the fresh air for an invigorating walk. You can hygge outside too, so take advantage of the sunshine and take yourself somewhere beautiful. It could be a countryside ramble, a seaside stroll or even just a wander around the local park; just be mindful of your surroundings and take in the nature around you. Being in tune with nature is an important part of the Danish culture.”

Hygge activity: Film night

Kayleigh says: “Invite your best friends over for a cosy film night. Now is the time to dig out all your old favourites, create a nest of blankets and cushions and crack open a bottle of wine to share with all your favourite people. Laughter is good for you, so why not go for a comedy or two? Light lots of candles or flick on the fairy lights, and enjoy the company of your friends.”

 

Day 2

Breakfast: Pancakes made with two eggs and 1 mashed banana; topped with raspberries & Greek yoghurt

 

Nichola says: “This super simple breakfast combines slow release carbohydrate from the banana with healthy fats and protein from the egg to leave you feeling energised and hygge all morning! You can top your pancakes with your favourite yoghurt and berries for a nutrient boost and enjoy it with a large mug of green tea for an antioxidant boost! Green tea contains has less caffeine than black tea and coffee, making it ideal to drink on a ‘detox’.

Lunch: GLORIOIS! Greens Ltd Edition soup

 

Nichola says: “You can jazz up your healthy hygge soup by adding crackers or oat cakes; they not only add a lovely texture but provide extra fibre and energy too. And if you’re peckish mid-afternoon then why not extend your hygge moment by having another half pot of your soup; it’s low in calories (and high in nutrients!) in comparison to snacks such as chocolate bars and crisps.”

Dinner: Healthy tortilla pizza made using a wholegrain wrap, passata, roasted vegetables and mozzarella cheese (baked). Served with a green salad dressed with olive oil.

 

Nichola says: “If you’re craving pizza but still want to be ‘healthy’ then this tortilla pizza is for you. Having a ‘fake-away’ gives such a hygge feeling as it not only tastes delicious but it’s actually good for you too! Make a habit of adding something green to your evening meal to boost your nutrient intake before bed”.

Hygge activity: Yoga

Kayleigh says: “Ease into the day with some soothing yoga to help you mentally prepare for the day ahead. Gentle stretching can help ease aches and pains, and can help you improve your frame of mind in stressful times. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated – there are plenty of videos available online to help you perfect your poses. Focus on your breathing, improve your posture and enjoy a serene start to the day.”

Hygge activity: New hobby

Kayleigh says: “Why not spend the afternoon getting to grips with a new skill? Whether you’d like to learn to play the guitar or work on your very own vegetable patch, give yourself the time and space to expand your skill set and find yourself a new hobby. Setting yourself goals is a great motivator, and mastering a craft can boost your mood over time as your skill level improves.”

Hygge activity: Bath time

Kayleigh says: “Indulge in a bit of you-time with a long, lazy bath! Use those luxurious bath products you don’t usually touch, put on some relaxing music and light a few scented candles to create an at-home spa experience. Bring a book if you’re a keen reader, or just lie back and enjoy the quiet time. Bath oils can help nourish the skin, and make sure you have some nice moisturiser to slather on afterwards to complete your bedtime routine.

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