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!
Embrace the great outdoors
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.
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!
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